Headmaster's Blog - January 2020
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An extract from Mr Hewlett's assembly - Monday 6 January 2020

The climate and environmental emergency, which is now such a focus in the minds of so many of us, in our curriculum, in our news and in our consciousness, is actually relatively new.

I remember as a relatively young teenager being taught at school that there just might  be a possibility that the Earth is warming and that just mightbe as a result of human activity – even then (and it was not that long ago!) it was not presented as a certainty, indeed I remember my Geography teacher at the time saying not to listen too much to what was being said, as soon we would be being told that the next ice age is coming. 

It is really only in the last 20 or so years that the topic has gained, rightly, such focus and attention. When I began my teaching career, a phrase that was used across schools was that we all needed to ‘Think Global and Act Local’. In other words, we all needed to act in an environmentally sensitive way in our own lives but that should not stop us thinking about the global issues at play. Maybe it’s because I am teaching less but I see this phrase used less these days and that seems to me a great pity.

For surely there is no better time than today for people to think globally. We come back to College from a holiday where devastating fires have ravaged Australia, and where the killing of the Iranian Major General has sparked rhetoric in the Middle East that could lead us into a desperate new political landscape. The need for us all to think more deeply about our global communityis surely never more important. 

At St Dunstan’s we are blessed with a wonderfully diverse and global community. The number of languages we speak, the cultures we represent, the backgrounds and family histories are so varied and so different that we have a community rooted in open-mindedness, respect for difference, and an appreciation that the world and those who inhabit it represent something bigger and more important than just ourselves. It strikes me that the world at the moment could very well draw a lesson from this. A world in which we would do well to remember that individual actions have global consequences. A world that remembers that from difference we can actually learn more and become closer.

This Christmas our scholars travelled to India – it is clear to me from what I have seen and heard that here is another example of St Dunstan’s students embracing a different culture and community so that they might learn from it, become better people and bring, in a small way, a global community that bit closer. 

For the future success of this planet does not lie in isolationism. It does not lie in nation states and individuals looking inwards and looking after only themselves and those of the same creed, colour and thinking. We are a globalised, interconnected world and that means we need to act together as one global community more so than ever. 

So let me go back to the ‘Think Global and Act Local’ mantra – let’s do that at St Dunstan’s. Let us not forget the big picture, let us work together to use difference as a good and then let us also act locally. Let’s make this place, our place, all the better in our practice and as a community. Environmentally, socially and culturally – get involved in the many societies, academic groups and working parties and make a difference. Act locally and think globally. Think and act within this place, your school, and keep the global picture at the forefront of your mind. 

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