Mark Carney calls on students to help tackle climate change

Students at South Hampstead School

Students at South Hampstead High School - Credit: South Hampstead High School

The former governor of the Bank of England joined South Hampstead High School for an online event to discuss environmental issues.

Mark Carney is the UN secretary-general’s special envoy on climate action and finance - and also a former school parent as his daughters were pupils before the family returned to Canada last year.

He spoke to the school community and partner schools as part of the school’s regular Speaker Series. 

He discussed the collective efforts required to reduce emissions and effect positive environmental change in a post-Covid world.

The next generation needs to help “finish the job", he said, while his wife Diana Fox Carney said: “What we need now is a massive acceleration of effort and pace from everyone."

Mark Carney, former governor of the Bank of England

Mark Carney, former governor of the Bank of England - Credit: PA/Jonathan Brady

The couple met while studying Economics at The University of Oxford. Diana Fox Carney has spent nearly two decades working in the climate and development space and Mark Carney was recently appointed as Boris Johnson’s finance advisor for the COP26 Climate Summit. His new book, Values: Building a Better World for All, is released this month.

South Hampstead’s 365 Club encourages pupils to commit to environmental resolutions for a year, recognising that even small, individual actions can create a ripple effect and have a powerful impact. Pupils have pledged to give up single use plastics and unsustainable palm oil products, while others have reduced their carbon footprint by making more eco-friendly lifestyle choices.

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Last year, headmistress Victoria Bingham managed an entire year without buying any new clothes, while this year she has set herself a target of running 1,000 miles in support of The Woodland Trust.

She said: “Hearing from Diana Fox Carney and Mark Carney at our latest Speaker Series event was such a compelling call to arms, galvanising us all to do our bit.

"Running 1,000 miles is quite an ambitious undertaking for me personally, given everything else going on this year, but I am passionate about supporting such a good cause and encouraging our pupils to be proactive - to embrace their own challenges and to feel empowered to make a positive, tangible difference.”

South Hampstead High School was named as the 2020 Independent School of the Year for Environmental Achievement. The school’s student-run Eco Committee is overseen by one of the few UN-accredited climate change teachers in London.