Environment campaigner Anya gets Jack Petchey award

Dated: 27 November 2019

Today we are celebrating Anya, who is the first of our Jack Petchey Foundation award winners this term. She came to Woodhouse from the Compton School in 2018 and is studying Geography, Maths and Drama at Woodhouse.
She has been nominated for the award by Olivia Stanton (Assistant Principal, Student Progress and our former head of geography) for her very important work with our Environmental Action Group.
Olivia had this to say…
“Anya has shown real leadership qualities in running the Woodhouse Environmental Action Group. She's very organised, helps the group to achieve real actions and inspires other students. She is truly committed to raising awareness of the climate emergency and is giving students a forum to share knowledge and take action.”
We caught up with Anya this week to find out just what she has been up to over the past year. She told us…
“I’m leader of the Environmental Action Group at Woodhouse and I’ve been organising the meetings and getting people on board. I was part of the society last year when it was first set up by Ms Stanton and have taken it forward in my second year.
Our Environmental Action Group has two main aims. Firstly, to educate ourselves within the group about climate and environmental issues, and secondly, to then educate others around the college and encourage them to take action or do things that would make the college a more environmentally friendly community.”
So what has the group been doing…
“We are setting up a meeting with the college canteen because we feel that’s a manageable area to take on and one of the key places we see where things could be easily changed. Last year they were receptive to some of our ideas, for instance they have wooden cutlery now (not plastic) and have also increased the vegetarian and vegan food on offer. Packaging is our next step, hopefully getting rid of needless pizza boxes and stuff.
We’ve also done some advertising for the student climate strikes and brought people on board.
We’ve been through the college’s environmental policy and questioned whether some of the objectives are actually being implemented and offered ideas on things that could be improved and changed, and we are taking that forward. The principal and leadership team here are quite supportive and reading their environmental policy it’s clear that the college has thought about the environment a lot.”
So where does Anya’s drive for change stem from?
“My family is quite environmentally aware, we cycle everywhere and we don’t have a car. When I was younger I spent a lot of time outdoors and as I’ve grown up I’ve realised just how drastic things are becoming.
I’m not part of Extinction Rebellion, although I’ve visited some of their events, but I am a part the UK Student Climate Network.”
UKSCN is a student-led environmental organisation calling for peaceful strikes from school since February 2019, as part of the Youth Strike 4 Climate movement, with the ambition of getting the British Government to take action on the climate crisis by fulfilling their demands.
“Greta Thunberg started the strike movement and I have thought about her example of refusing education in order to protest, but I also appreciate that I am privileged to have an education and it’s better for me to get my education because then I can use those skills.
After Woodhouse I’m planning to study geography at university and I’d like to work in the charity sector or something involved with helping the community. I’m taking a gap year first but unlike a lot of my peers I don’t have a huge urge to travel. The London Wildlife Trust have a conservation internship so I’m thinking about applying to do that alongside some more campaigning.
I guess I would say to my fellow students… Climate breakdown is going to affect everyone and is already affecting people, so even if you can only do a small thing, do what you can. Try and take bigger action, but I understand that some people can’t, so just do what you can to look after the environment and remember that climate breakdown is not just going to happen in 2030 or 2050, it’s happening right now, and some people are already dying because of it.”
And finally, on being nominated for a Jack Petchey…
“I feel honoured and grateful for being nominated for the Jack Petchey Foundation Award, and grateful that the the work in our environmental group is being recognised and appreciated. I am not sure yet exactly what I might spend the £250 award on, but I will use it to help with making the college, students and staff more environmentally friendly and aware.”
We can only congratulate Anya again on being recognised for the important work she has dedicated herself to, and thank her - the planet needs lots more like her.
Anya with fellow JPF award winner Danilo and Principal John Rubinstein

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