Peter, Inspiring Young People

In partnership with Total, Peter, Director of the Young People’s Trust for the Environment is passionate about helping young people understand the natural world and the need for sustainable development.  Through the Total Green School Awards initiative, he has managed to build extraordinary momentum across the UK. His enthusiasm has inspired hundreds of primary schools to take part in the Total Green School Awards.

Is it difficult working with children?

I've always worked with children, since I was 18. Whether it’s going into schools to talk about environmental issues or taking groups of children on field trips to learn about the environment. Each group of children is different, asking new and challenging questions - that’s what keeps it so fresh and enjoyable.

How did your collaboration with Total come about?

The Total Green School Awards was devised with Total around mutual objectives for a national environmental education programme.  These national awards for young people encourage a proactive interest in understanding the natural world and energy in all its forms.  Staff from Total’s businesses around the UK get involved by visiting local schools to tell them about this initiative and sharing their knowledge and experience.

How did you persuade teachers to take part in Total Green School Awards?

Over the years I’ve built up a lot of experience of working with schools and teachers.  I toured schools in England, Scotland, and Wales, organizing meetings, and I said to them: “Look, you already do great work teaching kids about the environment. This initiative isn’t going to involve extra work for you.” By reaching out to people and making them aware of the benefits for the school and what young people get out of these awards the message gets through in the end.

Do the children surprise you?

All the time. One school even created a potato powered clock as part of their project on energy. At another school, pupils transformed an old wooden shed in the school grounds into an Eco-Den, powered by using sustainable energy sources including a bicycle-powered generator.

Why is all this so important?

I believe that it's our responsibility to equip young people with the knowledge they need to care for our environment in the future. We have to open children’s eyes to the situation, but never tell them what to think.

Peter Littlewood

"I believe it's our responsibility to equip young people with the knowledge they need to care for our environment in the future. We have to open children’s eyes, but never tell them what to think."

Key Figures

  • 231,000

    children have taken part in the Total Green School Awards since the initiative was launched.

  • 24,000

    primary schools are invited to participate each year.

  • £5,000

    prize for the UK Champions.

  • 25,600

    pupils took part in 2015

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