3 November 2020 - Primary school students from St. Augustine's N.S. Clontuskert, from County Galway that had taken part in the Explorers Education Programme, recently joined more than 30,000 teachers and students from over 135 countries, along with world leaders and environmental experts including Dr Jane Goodall, President Juan Manuel Santos, and Sir David Attenborough, to celebrate Climate Action Day, an online event showing casing their solutions to climate change.
The Marine Institute's Explorers Education Programme team from Camden Education Trust and Galway Atlantaquaria have been developing a series of outreach materials for teachers and children to help inspire questions and solutions about climate change. The resources aim to generate ideas, and encourage the children to work together and create the capacity to solve real-world solutions and take action for a better world.
St. Augustine's N.S. from Clonstuskert, in County Galway Ireland got to trial these resources as part of their Climate Action Day project, where the class invited marine scientists and outreach experts along with experts from electricity and waste management organisations, as well as politicians to their class.
"The Marine Institute's Explorers Education team were delighted to be able to provide resources and a virtual visit to the class to discuss the influence climate change has on the ocean. A significant area that is often overlooked when teaching children about this subject is understanding how much the ocean, marine habitats and animals are affected by the changing temperatures caused by climate change. It is great to be able to share the importance of marine research and how science is used for helping contribute to positive decisions and solutions for a cleaner and sustainable future," explained Dr Noirín Burke, Explorers Education Support Services Manager and Director of Education at Galway Atlantaquaria.
"We were delighted to have Noirín visit the class as part of the Explorers programme. She provided an excellent opportunity to help the class discuss the causes, effects, and solutions to climate change. The children also learned about how countries all over the world are being affected differently – from melting ice caps, rising sea levels to changing weather patterns. Not only does climate change affect us on land, but it is also having an effect on the animals in the ocean, forcing many animals to adapt or struggle to survive. To understand climate change, you need to understand the ocean," said Principal Kate Murray from St. Augustine's N.S. Clontuskert, Co Galway.
St. Augustine's N.S. from Clonstuskert, in County Galway Ireland were among a select number of student groups, ranging in ages from 10 – 18 years, that were invited to participate in real-time actions, sending messages to space and joining world mayors as they signed a Manifesto for Climate Action. Other student groups were from China, Moldova, Argentina, Tanzania, UAE, India, Canada, and South Africa.
Introducing the students from St. Augustine's N.S. Clontuskert, Co Galway Koen Timmers, Founder Climate Action Project highlighted the incredible example and work they do, saying "Kate and her class always go the extra mile with their learning experiences to find solutions and bring about change – things that can't be done just using a text book".
Representing Ireland, the 4th, 5th and 6th class students showcased their latest campaign which involved installing solar panels in their school. This project was developed and supported by Microsoft, SSE Airtricity and Activ8. The children explained that the solar panels now produce 42% of the electricity in the school, which significantly reduces the schools carbon footprint and helps towards achieving their sustainability goals. The students also had completed a project researching Ireland's waste management systems and highlighted the issue of peoples misunderstanding of the Green Dot and recycling symbols relating to package and waste separation. This brought about national change with a new system of Irish waste symbols on www.mywaste.ie after a visit from the Minister of Environment.
Dr. Jennifer Williams, Co-founder Take Action Global, Climate Action Project author, further said, "This new generation is moving forward in climate action pursuits and impacting international dialogue on societal issues and policy. Through the use of networks and compelling messages of solidarity and resilience, these young activists are taking causes beyond the classroom to social media, city streets, and the steps of government buildings. As citizens of the world, they are demonstrating that an individual person can make a positive impact on climate and the environment. They are mighty and fearless and serve as voices of hope--and, the whole world is watching them."
Highlights on the eight hours of sharing and learning:
St. Augustine's N.S. Clontuskert, Co Galway presentation can be viewed at:03:05:45
• Welcome from Sir David Attenborough and exclusive interviews with Dr. Jane Goodall and President Santos accepting questions submitted by students
• Sam Barratt and Dan Shephard from the UN, Matt Larsen-Daw and Fernanda Carvalho from WWF, and Dr. Rick Davis from NASA sharing insights on different levels from environment to policy to our place in the universe
• Young activist Vanessa Nakate and Princess Esmeralda engaged in an inspired conversation on girl education as a solution for climate change
• Kumi Naidoo read his new poem and Sandrine Dixson-Decleve, Coleen Vogel, Celine Cousteau, and Roman Krznaric sharing powerful ideas inviting students to dream big and keep hope.
The Explorers Education Programme is funded by the Marine Institute, Ireland's state agency for marine research, technology development and innovation.
Clontuskert students in front of newly installed solar panels sponsored by Microsoft SSE Airtricity and Activ8. Photo courtesy of St. Augustine's N.S. from Clonstuskert, in County Galway
Explorers Education Programme:
Education Programme Manager & Communications Lead
(Marine Institute's Explorers Education Programme)
The Camden Education Trust
C/o Galway Education Centre
Cluain Mhuire, Wellpark, Galway
The Climate Action Project is launched by Take Action Global, a non-profit (501c3) based in Belgium and Florida, USA, www.takeactionglobal.org