Funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and delivered by KNIB, the initiative aims to inform teachers, youth leaders and young people about the future challenges of climate change and, importantly, how they can take positive action to be part of the solution. Teachers who participate in the training will also be well placed to deliver a new Open College Network accredited GCSE entitled ‘Reducing Carbon Footprints Through Environmental Action’.
The initiative follows the first ever Carbon Literacy Day, organised by the Carbon Literacy Project, which coincided with the first day of the UN COP26 negotiations in Glasgow last month.
The Carbon Literacy training is designed to build confidence, knowledge, skills and motivation to empower individuals and organisations to play a critical role in responding to the climate crisis. KNIB aims to help embed Carbon Literacy education into schools across Northern Ireland, to change lifestyles and promote behaviour that leads to positive, individual action in reducing carbon emissions.
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The programmes, which include ‘Carbon Literacy for Teachers,’ ‘Carbon Smart Students,’ ‘Carbon Literacy for Youth Leaders,’ and ‘Carbon Smart Youth Groups,’ will deliver targeted training to teachers, youth leaders and young people in a variety of settings.
Commenting on the new programme, Environment Minister Edwin Poots said: “My department is investing in Carbon Literacy programmes to help educate this and future generations about the threat of climate change and the impact their day-to-day behaviour has on our climate.
“Delivered by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, the project will help people improve their knowledge and understanding of carbon and how their daily activities like travel, energy use and food consumption impact on emissions. They can then better understand the positive changes they need to make in terms of how they live, study and work, both as individuals and organisations, to help in the fight against climate change.”
Research has shown that 75% of teachers say they feel they have not received adequate training to educate students about climate change, while 69% of teachers feel there should be more teaching about climate change in schools.
Meanwhile 68% of pupils want to learn more about the environment and climate change.
Dr Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said: “Having recently returned from the COP26 conference, it is clear that more and more young people are demanding information and action in response to the climate emergency. We need to see environmental education becoming a formalised part of the Northern Ireland curriculum and we can’t afford to wait years to see this happen. In the mean-time the carbon literacy programmes will provide vital training for educators and young people and our hope is that they will then go on to influence others.”
Lorraine McCool, a teacher from Loreto College in Coleraine, who has already taken part in the training, said; “My Carbon Literacy Programme training was extremely useful and interesting, with excellent support offered both during and after the course. I’m now much more confident in discussing climate issues with my students, and excited for the changes that I can make in my own life from what I’ve learned. I highly recommend Carbon Literacy training to anyone who works with young people.”
The Carbon Literacy Programmes are delivered in partnership with the registered charity, the Carbon Literacy Trust, which was founded in 2009 and operates in 14 countries worldwide. Schools and community groups, teachers and youth leaders across County Derry who are interested in booking a place on a Carbon Literacy training course should visit: https://www.keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org/carbonliteracy