Foyle students and St Joseph’s Grammar School, Donaghmore were congratulated by Edwin Poots, MLA Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) when he visited both schools recently. He was joined by Michelle McIlveen MLA, Minister for Education in Northern Ireland for the visit to St Joseph’s Donaghmore. DAERA have funded Carbon Literacy training for teachers which has enabled them to support and deliver similar programmes for students within their schools.
Minister Poots met teachers who had completed the Carbon Literacy training themselves and who then worked in collaboration with environmental charity, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful to deliver the Carbon Smart Students programme.
He said: “My department is investing in Carbon Literacy programmes to help educate this and future generations about climate change and the impact our day-to-day behaviour has on the climate. It has been inspiring to meet young people today and to see how these educational programmes are now filtering down through schools and communities. The knowledge these students have gained will undoubtedly ripple out through their families and friendship groups so that more people can understand the changes we all need to make in the fight against climate change. I congratulate them and their teachers wholeheartedly.”
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Education Minister Michelle McIlveen said: “I am really encouraged by the way in which Foyle College and St Joseph’s Grammar School have prioritised sustainability. They have taken practical and innovative approaches to tackle the critical issue of climate change and are leading the way in completing the Carbon Smart Student Training. It is great to see real partnership working to prepare our young people with the knowledge and skills to engage with issues affecting our whole society. Congratulations to everyone involved.”
Nicole Sloane, who teaches at Foyle College, said: “Our students found the carbon literacy training enlightening and very empowering. They took their time to really absorb all of the information they were given, discussed it at home and have started to apply changes in their own lives. These changes are to lower their carbon footprint which will make a difference locally and globally, for people now and for generations to come. Knowledge is power and no matter which path a young person intends to follow career-wise, this knowledge is important now.”
Scott Howes, Strategic Lead for Climate Action at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said: “It’s great to be able to acknowledge the efforts of these two schools who have been tremendous innovators in terms of embracing this new educational opportunity.
“With the ongoing support of the Carbon Literacy Project I hope and fully expect that these students will be the first of many as I believe that the relevance of Carbon Literacy to all aspects of the curriculum will become ever more apparent. There really isn’t any time to waste but the enthusiasm and commitment of young people like these gives me great hope for the future.”