This article was written by Varya Bedi, Year 13
My name is Varya Bedi, and I am the Head Girl and Sustainability Ambassador of Kent College Dubai. I recently had the extraordinary privilege of attending the Climate Fresk event in Abu Dhabi on Thursday, 9th November 2023, where we collectively broke two world records for the largest, most diverse climate change lesson with 1,100 students of 57 different nationalities.
For some context, this event took students from a range of schools in the UAE to host the biggest climate change awareness lesson in the world: we were put into groups with a facilitator to help carry out learning tasks, such as creating a cause/consequence map and then drawing connections between each point. What I took away from this was how much our daily actions (fast fashion, chemical surface runoff) could lead to some of the biggest tragedies we have today, such as war, famine and the displacement of homes and families.
As someone who considered themselves fairly knowledgeable in climate change, I was so surprised at the amount that was taught and what I didn’t know before; Climate Fresk is more than just an educational initiative: it is a testament to the UAE's commitment to climate action, especially in the lead-up to COP28. The event, supported by the government, the Ministry of Education and the Minister of Youth, along with corporate sponsors (EY, FAB, ADNOC) aimed to raise awareness and inspire action among us, which it most definitely has.
Image Credit: X
The event itself left a mark on me. Entering the building with my friend, Paige, feeling a bit nervous (but mostly excited) and looking all around us at the other 1,098 students was remarkable. Another memory was when Miss Mariam Almheiri announced that we had just broken both World Records: I clapped so hard my hands hurt, but I didn’t care, how could I? We had just become double world record holders, after all. As if that wasn’t enough, upon our leaving we were gifted packs from the Department of Energy, consisting of a solar-powered power bank, low-flow shower heads, energy-efficient light bulbs and more. This was an event that emphasised practical solutions for a greener lifestyle whilst engaging the youth in climate negotiations for COP28.
Climate Fresk, thank you for a transformative and empowering event, and I cannot wait to become a facilitator myself.