Feature

The next gen

G Magazine

They’re the inheritors of this planet, and when it comes to the state we’re leaving it to them, they have plenty to say about it…

The-next-gen-story

From top left to right; Sophie, Mia, Gabriel, Nick, Riku, Sayaka, Taiko and Ai.

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More than ever before, children are aware of the state of the world. With climate change one of the biggest challenges we are likely to face in our history, it is our children, and their children, that are likely to be faced with the larger scale of these challenges. Connecting kids across the globe so that they may be better equipped for world issues and globally aware, Panasonic have linked up Year 4 students from Kansai University Elementary School in Osaka, Japan with Cromer Public School in Sydney, Australia via high definition visual communications systems so that they can share weekly classes. We had a chat with some of the kids on either side of the equator and asked them to share their feelings on the topics of the environment and climate change.

Cromer Primary School:

Sophie

When I think of the word environment, the main thing that comes to my mind is saving the endangered species; all of those plants and animals that are endangered. We need to stop cutting down all the trees because trees are what gives us fresh air and if the world keeps getting more and more buildings and having to chop down more trees, we’re all going to be walking around when we’re 50 years old wearing oxygen masks. That’s not what I want to happen. Our school is really into nature and keeping it all, but I think we’ve all got to put effort in. Not just kids but not just adults. But that’s the thing – no one is trying. We’ve all got to keep working together if we want to keep the planet clean. I hope we can [turn things around] but for some reason I don’t think we will. I’ve got a massive bit of doubt and a massive bit of hope.

Mia

I think of the environment as biodiversity and of us looking after the planet and all the animals and plants. At the moment there’s a lot of pollution coming into the air with all the machines and factories, we need to cut down on that. So I think the carbon tax is good. We need everybody to work together. We should have more days where the whole world does stuff together, and people should just be doing it every day. Because I want generations to just keep on going, not ending. With all our littering too, it goes into the ocean and then animals die. There’s birds that swallow bottle caps and you see all these pictures of them dying and them cut open with matches and bottle tops [in their stomachs] because they think it’s food. And turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish. I feel so sorry for all the birds and animals that mistake these things and just die from it. I want to be a vet to help them.

Gabriel

I’ve got this book at home and it’s got some statistics in it, and it’s saying that 90 million tonnes of carbon dioxide is going up and it takes around 25 or more years to get it down. What is actually happening is that carbon dioxide is a natural gas except that we’re making it unnaturally high. So if we try to cut down it will be ok because the stuff we put up will eventually come down and the carbon cycle will continue like normal without the interruption of more, which is making all of global warming happening. I’m worried for our own future because our kids... what will their life be? Will it be black, will the sky be black? Will there be smoke everywhere? Will there be plants? And if in a million years, think about what it would be like then. Would people be able to go outside? We need to cut down on our CO2 pollution, probably by making petrol less, like without the oil or with natural resources. So no more fossil fuels.

Nick

The water levels are rising and there’s more and more people coming, so I think we need less [coal-powered] electricity and more solar panels. When we catch the bus or go home in a car or come to school in a car, when we live just around the corner and could walk, that’s just wasting our money and cutting down the future. The problem is, we don’t die from [all the things we’re doing] so our world is just getting smaller and smaller from the ocean rising except there’s more and more people coming [into the world]. If we keep this up we’ll just be walking around with oxygen masks, we’ll be coughing every second and disease will be everywhere. We can’t do everything like that and if we leave everything to the last minute – and once it gets to the last minute people will start helping – but it’ll be too late, we have to start now. Robots will probably take over the world once people invent them.

Kansai University School:

Riku

I was especially excited about the special class we had today because Professor Tim Flannery was speaking, and I have never thought about a kangaroo living in a tree so I was excited to hear that he’d discovered one. There are a group of islands called Ogasawara Islands and they have a wide biodiversity too – we have very unique animals there and so I wish I could talk about those animals to Professor Flannery to introduce that to him. I am most concerned about global warming because I heard that there are so many animals endangered like in the North Pole for example. So I’d like to do something to help them. I used to want to become a cook to make delicious food to make people happy, but after Professor Flannery’s speech about all of his adventures. I am interested in being an explorer. I want to have a lot of adventures when I grow up.

Sayaka

I had one friend in Australia [before we started the class] so I was very interested about the country, so I’m so happy to have this opportunity [through the virtual classes with Cromer] to learn more about Australia. I
was also so excited to learn that there are so many more new species on Earth but at the same time many of them are endangered so I’d like to do something to protect the environment for a more sustainable world. I love animals so it’s so sad that so many animals will end up being be killed all because of global warming, so I want to stop that. I used to want to be a teacher when I grow up but since we heard Professor Tim Flannery’s speech I am very interested in being a biologist too… so now I have two dreams.

Taiko

ow I don’t know about [what we need to do to care for the environment acrossthe whole of] Earth, but now in Japan I think it’s global warming we should worry about. I always wanted to stop people using cars but I can’t so it makes me a little stressed. Some people say that nature itself is just making global warming happen, and so first I want to know, if it’s the people that’s making it or nature that’s making it, and then I want to recycle and do things to help. I just want to be a traveller and travel all of the Earth, and see all the animals too. And I wanted to protect the animals. I like to talk about Australia and I like to speak in English, so it’s fun to speak
to the Australians and I can test myself.

Ai

I have never been overseas and I didn’t know anything about Australia before, but because of this class starting I have learned a lot about Australia and that is the thing I like most about it. I think in Japan we are facing a very critical situation since the great earthquake in Eastern Japan, especially with all the accidents in the nuclear power plant in Fukushima. So we have to be more aware of the environmental problem now. I am also most concerned about global warming and I am reading a lot of books about it because it worries me so much. I especially love animals and many animals are endangered because, for example, icebergs are being melted in the North Pole, so I want to do something to help them out from now on. I started to be interested in global warming since I was a second grader and I’d like to be a vet when I become older because I want to help out the hundreds of species of animals.