Jubilee competition encourages children to think about a greener future

The unveiling earlier this week of plans for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June included several headline-grabbing announcements — not least, for a nation seemingly addicted to TV programmes like The Great British Bake-Off, an initiative called Platinum Pudding, a nationwide baking competition that challenges entrants to create a brand-new pudding dedicated to the Queen. Another of the announcements includes an opportunity for primary and secondary school children to be involved in a giant pageant — “an awe-inspiring festival of creativity”, according to the official website. Children’s artwork, which will be incorporated into the pageant, will be expected to look to the future and have a green message.

The Platinum Jubilee Pageant will involve “artistic performers, dancers, musicians, military personnel, key workers and volunteers … … will combine pomp and ceremony, street arts, theatre, music, circus, costumes as well as cutting-edge visual technology.”

The ‘River of Hope’ section of the Platinum Pageant will be made up of 200 silk flags that organisers say will appear like a moving river. Primary and secondary school children are invited to create artwork representing their hopes and aspirations for the planet over the next 70 years (matching, of course, the length of the Queen’s reign to date). The focus is on climate change, incorporating the children’s messages for the future. A selection of artworks will be transferred onto silk flags, which will be carried by secondary school pupils in the pageant.

River of Hope is linked to Thames Festival, which was launched in 1997:

Our vision is of unique art, cultural events and active adventures in healthy river environments. Accessible to all, enjoyed by all.

from the Thames Festival website

The River of Hope webpage says:

The Queen has always shown a great love and respect for the natural environment. We hope that this project will encourage young people around the world to think about the importance of safeguarding the future of their own natural environment.

from the River of Hope webpage

As part of their work with pupils on the pageant project, schools are encouraged to teach about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular how they relate to rivers and river ecosystems. The River of Hope webpage includes two free-to-download education packs that relate to Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation and Goal 14: Life Below Water.

In a previous blog we highlighted the Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) campaign, a tree-planting initiative to mark the special royal landmark. Everyone across the UK is being invited to plant trees through to the end of the jubilee year in 2022. In the week that we uploaded the blog, an important new report had shown that at least 30% of the world’s wild tree species are threatened with extinction, posing a risk of wider ecosystem collapse. Almost 500 species are on the very edge of extinction, the report warned, each with fewer than 50 individual trees remaining.

We have also blogged regularly about the importance of engagement and participation, particularly as a way of dealing with eco-anxiety:

Children and young people need to be learning about the environmental challenges we face, but at the same time they also need to be encouraged and empowered to take practical action to make a difference and bring about change. It is a crucial step to making things better, an acknowledgement that solutions cannot just be left to distant and abstract actors on the world stage like sovereign governments and the United Nations. It is also a way to tackle mental health conditions like eco-anxiety that thrive on feelings of helplessness and disempowerment.

Getting involved with nature is a great way to deal with eco-anxiety

Official Jubilee Website

River of Hope Webpage

UN Sustainable Development Goals

The image at the head of this article comes from the Platinum Jubilee Pageant official Twitter feed.

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