Date: 
Friday, September 20, 2019 - 17:00
The Eden Project threw open its own doors for free today (Friday September 20) and went out to engage with thousands of young people in schools for a special event called Make the Change.
 
On a day when huge crowds around the world demanded climate action, the home of the famous Biomes in Cornwall offered itself as a place to convene, connect and collaborate on the escalating  environmental issues facing the planet.
 
The Core education centre was the hub for a range of impassioned campaigners and organisations to share their thoughts on how individuals and communities can take positive action and make real change.
 
Opening the day, Eden’s chief executive Gordon Seabright said: “I’ve been inspired today by listening to people all around the world doing their bit for the climate. This is us doing our bit.  Eden is a place that is all about rolling up your sleeves and proving that if you get your hands dirty you can make a difference.”
 
He added: “I’m inspired by our great friends in Extinction Rebellion and others who are doing such hard work to encourage everyone to do less bad.  What can we do to do more good?”
 
In her talk, environmental scientist Dr Rebecca Pearce of Extinction Rebellion said:  “Our house really is on fire.  Greta (Thunberg) says it.  Everyone says it. The pressure on nature is getting tougher. We need to introduce a more regenerative culture where people tread more lightly on the earth.”
 
Keynote speaker was philosopher Dr Glenn A. Albrecht, author of Earth Emotions: New Words for a New World, a book about the positive and negative emotions humans have with respect to the Earth.
 
He spoke of his concept of the Symbiocene – an invitation to all humans to create a future where positive Earth emotions will prevail over the negative.
 
Visitors to the event today were asked to help create up to 1,000 new oak trees by planting acorns on arrival at Eden.
 
Sacks full of acorns harvested from Cornish oaks (Quercus petraea), biodegradable pots and peat-free compost were set up outside the main entrance and a horticulturist was on hand with planting advice. The young trees will be grown on at Eden’s nursery before being planted out in Cornwall in about a year’s time.
 
Make the Change day featured workshops, talks, film screenings and exhibits. Visitors were able to calculate their carbon footprint and learn how to lower it with drop-in sessions run by mobile app makers Giki.  A team from Cool Food offered advice on how to navigate low-carbon eating and drinking.
 
There was a screening of the influential film A Plastic Ocean and the producer Jo Ruxton was on hand to answer plastic-related questions.
 
In the run-in to the day, Eden devised a special Climate Response lesson plan free for any school to download and use.
 
Today ten members of the education and science teams travelled to 18 Cornwall schools. They went car-free to meet and work with 1050 students and their teachers.
 
The Climate Response lesson aims to support young people in being able to respond confidently to the climate emergency in a way that makes sense to them – whether they see themselves as Doers, Shoppers, Learners, Shouters or all of these things. The plan is also available for any teacher to download and use from Eden’s website.
 
In addition, one member of the team who is also a teacher at Camborne Science and International Academy, added to the numbers by involving all 1750 students as tutors delivered the lesson during an extended tutor time. The team also visited Liskeard School and Community College.
 
The Eden event coincides with others across the world at the start of a week of actions to demand an end to the age of fossil fuels. The UN Climate Change summit takes place in New York on Monday September 23.
 
Eden has published a series of Make the Change pledges to offer people ways to combat climate change and biodiversity loss - https://www.edenproject.com/make-the-change/what-you-can-do/pledge.