Six months ago, Paul Clarke decided to consolidate all his initiatives (Pop-Up-Farm, Pop-Up-Coffee, Pop-Up-Orchard, Pop-Up-Power) under one organisation — Pop-Up Foundation, which works to build a sustainable planet and believes the best way forward would be to include children. Thus, kids are taught to nurture organic farms. “We’re bringing sustainable education to the lowest level. We simply ask kids to grow their food. Ask them what’s for lunch, how has it travelled, the calorie content and so on,” explained Clarke on the sidelines of WISE summit.
Clarke, who is developing a sustainable pedagogy that our institutes can use, rues the fact that sustainability is ‘nowhere sufficiently embedded as a core value among universities’. “Education systems worldwide were developed for industrial growth. It has given us a certain standard of living but at what cost? We need to rethink what we’re educating kids for. Is it to improve their lives, given what we know about climate change?” he said.
The foundation uses the basic elements of water, energy, food, waste, building and well-being to showcase a sustainable living. Schools are encouraged and taught to follow a sustainable pattern, so there will be small taps instead of big ones and natural light is used wherever possible. “It’s an open-source project. The concept is free for anyone to use,” said the professor of education, St Mary’s University College, London, and director of sustainable leadership at Mott MacDonald/Cambridge Education.
Pop-Up Foundation has chapters in Uganda and Australia. Kids are encouraged to network with each other and Clarke says many of their projects were initiated by children. For instance, coffee growers in Uganda were able to sell their produce in the UK through the Pop-Up network. In Adelaide, Australia, they are working with the indigenous community to document their knowledge of local plants.
Clarke is working on making a community in East Lancashire, UK, food -secure. His foundation is also building a global orchard. “Every school needs to plant five trees that are indigenous to that area. It will then be GPSed with other schools to create a global orchard,” he said.