What is Project Genie?
Project Genie has been set up to produce educational materials, resources, information and support for children, teachers, parents and carers, to explore the implications of climate change and what everyone can do to minimise the harmful effects.
How does Genie work?
At the heart of Project Genie is a children’s book "The Genie in the Bottle". Written and illustrated by award-winning author and artist, Hugh Montgomery and Matt Murphy, the book is designed as a school resource and to be "read aloud" with adults. It tells the simple story of global warming.
Project Genie plans to offer one FREE to every child aged 7-11 in the country. Posters provided for the children and their adults are inserted into the book. These suggest some of the things they can do to make a difference. Teachers are offered lesson plans in all sorts of formats - useful now that climate change is on the National Curriculum.
Further information for children, parents and teachers will become available: podcasts, lessons, case-studies and feedback from 'early adopter schools'; interviews, films, blogs, web-vote systems, more on the science behind the issues, action plans to help direct behaviour change, competitions and a carbon calculator.
What is a Smart Meter?
To extend and deepen learning, Project Genie is making 'Smart Meters' available to schools and parents. These measure electricity and greenhouse gas emissions and provide a critical feedback mechanism, evaluating the project's efficiency and allowing us to reward those making the most effort. A four phase program of rewards is being planned to encourage children, teachers, schools and those in parenting and caring roles.
Who is working on Project Genie?
Project Genie is in the process of partnering with individuals, companies and organizations across the UK who will donate a combination of experiences, technologies and products to further engage and encourage greener action to save the planet.
A short film, suitable for distribution through email, web and cinema is currently in production.
Launch and Successes
Project Genie was launched in the London Borough of Hackney at Lauriston Primary School. Since then it has been launched in many schools throughout the UK.
The Learning Trust CEO Alan Wood said, “Project Genie is a great new project linking reading with the very serious issue of global warming. The project aims to give the book to every child in the country aged 7-11 so they take responsibility for helping save the planet - it’s exciting to have it launched in our borough.”
Lauriston School’s Sylvia Taylor said, “The book and OWL have been very popular with the children – they are very interested in learning how to look after the planet. Our school is doing everything to help reduce carbon emissions and we are inviting Hugh back in six weeks to show how much energy the school has saved.”
Dr Hugh Montgomery said: “Climate change is an immediate threat and children know it. In Autumn 2007 a survey by E.ON showed that 20% of 7-16 year olds were concerned about global warming but only 3% about street violence. They are right to be concerned: it is today's children who will face the consequences of inaction. Project Genie aims to let children take control, by equipping them with the knowledge and skills to help schools, families and communities work together. Already, Lauriston School has seen its carbon emissions reduced by half – if this continues it will equate to significant energy cost savings throughout the year.”
‘Genie in a Bottle’ is also available for sale from Victoria Park Books, Hackney.
Project Genie has been launched as part of Words Unite, a campaign to get Hackney reading.
Find out more
Everything you need to know can be found at www.btbetterworld.com/genie
The Genie Team
Hugh Montgomery is the author of the book, "The Genie in the Bottle", and creator of Project Genie. He is an intensive care consultant and Director of the Institute for Human Health and Performance at University College, London (where he discovered the "first gene for human fitness"). Hugh has written more than 150 scientific articles, and also children’s books: the award-winning "The Voyage of the Arctic Tern", and "Cloudsailors". He recognizes the imperative of addressing climate change as a matter of grave urgency - not least for the sake of his two young sons, Oscar and Fergus. To this end, "Project Genie" was born. Hugh will be on television in December as he is presenting five lectures for the Royal Institution. Please follow this link to learn more: Royal Institution Christmas Lectures.
Rachel Parsons, project co-ordinator, lived in Australia for 6 years farming and working in adventure tourism. She led many trips taking children from 11-18 years into the mountains on horseback to learn leadership and life skills. After a year of travel writing and too long working in an office, she came to her senses and returned to inspiration, innovation and focusing on ‘education through action’ with Project Genie. She is also working on an Open University degree in Environmental Studies.
Monica Bratt is Director and Principal Designer of PageWise, a company specialising in the creation and production of books and educational material. She has an MA in educational book design and an MSc in Social Anthropology (LSE). She is the author of Take a Peep at Wild Africa, the first of a series of interactive books for children. She is also co-author of a cookery book to be published by Hamlyn in January 2008 and designs and produces all printed work for Project Genie.
Matt Murphy, illustrator, began his career 6 years ago, after working as a photographer. He has built a diverse client list, including The New York Times Magazine, The Independent, Time Warner Books and The Big Issue. He has won many competitions with his work. For his image on page 30 & 31, he has been selected as one of 10 finalists for the 2008 Association of Illustrators, "Best of British Contemporary Illustration" award.
Trevelyan May is a Lesson Author. Trev has been teaching juniors for 12 years and has held leadership roles for Geography, Science and English. Last year he won the National Primary School Teacher of the Year Award and participated in a three week expedition to Antarctica to learn about climate change. The National Teaching Awards website says that, ‘through his input, SATS results in English have literally gone through the roof. No wonder Trevelyan’s nominee described him as ‘the jewel in our staffing crown".
Claire Davidson is also a Lesson Author, and another National Teaching Awards winner. Their website describes her as, ‘an outstanding teacher who has worked tirelessly for both her local community and global citizenship with the sort of dynamism that leaves colleagues breathless in genuine admiration and awe.’ She has taught secondary school English for 15 years and also contributes as a senior examiner for GCSE English Literature. In 2004 she led her school to win the British Council International School Award.
Rachel Jubb, is another valued Lesson Author. She was one of the top students on her PGCE course and is up to date with all the most recent state and independent initiatives in educational theory. Rachel is full of enthusiasm and love for her work and has forged an innovative trail with her lessons for us.
Jane Cooke, is also a Lesson Author and a pillar of the teaching community in the South West. She has taught biology and science for 34 years in secondary schools and, in 2005, was nominated as Teacher of the Year. One of her students said, “Coming from GCSE to A level biology was different and hard. You made that jump far easier for me to manage and you have fuelled my enthusiasm for biology ever since.”