Kenya and Ireland Eco-Schools team up to promote Climate Education

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Kenya Organisation for Environmental Education and An Taisce are partnering to promote the Climate Ambassadors Exchange Programme involving 11 Eco-schools in Kenya and 11 Green Schools in Ireland.


The initiative goal is to enhance exchange of knowledge and experiences around climate change, its impacts as well as cultural experiences exchanges and other issues across the schools in both countries. Each Eco-school in Kenya has been twinned with one Green School in Ireland who communicate online. The schools are exploring opportunities to raise funds to support and expand the activities.

As a part of the exchange, Eco-schools Kenya hosted Gary Tyrrell, Climate Action Officer and Climate Ambassador Volunteer from An Taisce Environmental Education Unit between 8th and 12th July 2019 who visited 5 schools.


The visit was so inspiring with schools showcasing a wide range of climate action initiatives they have put in place to promote adaptation and mitigation to climate change. The stay also provided Gary with the opportunity to donate money he had fund raised individually to some of the schools visited.

Great news from two distant but very close countries. Partnerships are key for sustainable development and this onwe betwenn Kenya and Ireland show ohw much we can learn one from the other.

As a famous proverb says “if you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far, go together”.

Getting inspired by Eco-Schools Teachers

  • By Catarina Alves and Felipe Araya (MA Leadership for Sustainability, Malmö University)

What about the leaders of the future? That was the question we had when we started thinking about our master thesis’ topic.

While studying Leadership for Sustainability in Malmö University we learnt the definition of sustainable development given by the UN in the text Our Common Future, known as well as the Brundtland Report: "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". That is a responsibility for every generation, current and future.

These reflections led us to the concept of Education for Sustainable Development, created by UNESCO, as a way to educate youth in sustainability, not only as a subject but also as a way of life, a way to understand the world and being respectful, empathetic and conscious. Therefore, the role of teachers came up. The most honourable, and maybe one of the most important professions.

We got to Eco-Schools through a friend, who was doing an internship in the Head Office in Copenhagen. She introduced us to the Senior Director of the programme and the International Coordinator who showed interest immediately. After some discussions, we decided to focus our research on how more connections and interactions among all the teachers engaged in Eco-Schools could support them. Beyond that, we also wanted to understand who are these souls raising awareness about sustainability, what inspires them, what keeps them strong and the connection of that with their involvement in the Eco-Schools programme.

To do that we interviewed ten Eco-Schools teachers from eight different countries and two Eco-Schools National Operators. We started with the simple question: What are your motivations for being engaged in the programme? All the interviewees gave the same two main reasons: personal and professional motivations. This showed us that Eco-Schools teachers are conscious people, people with a particular spirit, people with environmental and social awareness, worried and engaged with making the future better by taking concrete actions. It was especially interesting to find that although the teachers we interviewed did not know each other; they shared the same values, such as consciousness about environmental issues, commitment with their students and interest in building a better world. We were also able to conclude that their concerns inspired them to develop new pedagogical ways to transmit awareness and knowledge to their pupils, enhancing the efficiency of their job. "You want to take the school beyond certain levels", some of them said. Similarly, another said, "I want to teach a little bit more".

Further on we asked about the advantages and limitations of the programme, which helped us find out the barriers some of them have to face. Most mentioned lack of time, especially since most of them assumed the role of Eco-Schools coordinators in addition to their role as normal school teachers, spending their free time and weekends researching, preparing materials and guiding students to lead their Eco-Schools projects. One of them explicitly said, "(...) so you have to make arrangements to meet the students after school or on Saturdays". Some of the teachers interviewed also talked about the scarce support of some of the schools, particularly in the early stages of implementation, struggling with resources, spaces and permits to develop the projects. They mentioned the desire of giving up back in those days, but they did not since their convictions were stronger. Additionally, most interviewees brought up the lack of resources. For example, one of the teachers wanted to plant trees with students but did not have money to buy the seeds. Nevertheless, beyond the difficulties and obstacles, all of them were very grateful for the organisations running Eco-Schools for supporting and guiding them in the process. Some of the answers were "I'm happy because the programme is very good", "I can be connected to other subjects", "networking with other schools within the country and other countries" and also how being part of a network keeps their strengths to keep working or even engage new people. As one teacher said: "teachers get motivated by other teachers".

Our study also showed us that the commitment of highly motivated Eco-Schools teachers makes them go beyond their professional responsibilities: "I do research a lot on what other schools are doing, not only across the country but across the world", one of them commented. They put a lot of effort and time in finding the best resources and innovative ideas seeking for the best resources.

They are active leaders in their communities. They assume the challenging role of engaging their colleagues not only in the projects but also in the inclusion of sustainability in their subjects. As Eco-Schools intends, the whole community around the schools should be involved, including families and neighbours, which adds not only a huge responsibility to their function, but also the need to empower themselves to connect and engage them all, and give the tools to their students to lead the projects by raising "student awareness, (...) their ability to think outside the box and be agents of change".

The research we conducted was focused on sources and needs for support and collaboration for implementing Eco-Schools projects and how collaboration between Eco-Schools teachers can be a key element to increase efficiency, but also strengthen the network. With that, we tried to understand how collaboration could address the mentioned difficulties and barriers. Our findings also reaffirmed the passion found, showing us the many ways they look for support and solutions. They mentioned the school committees first, which shows that engagement within the schools is the most relevant element. Then the National Operators were the second. Although they were always present in our conversations, the teachers counted on them all the time as a source of resources and support. The third group of support is composed of other Eco-Schools teachers. We found out that after national conferences or seminars, they exchange contacts, emails, Facebook accounts and cellphones and, afterwards, they create WhatsApp groups and other connections where they exchange ideas and information. Some of them also create inter-school projects, even with Eco-Schools from other countries, which promotes the development of social values like respect, empathy and communication abilities, connecting the experience not only with science or ethics classes but also with foreign languages and human development.

Going back to the initial question: What about the leaders of the future? Leaders of the future are students of today, and education plays a big role in shaping their future behaviours. That is why the role of teachers is so important. According to academic studies, we found, teachers have more impact on student learning than the curriculum. Teacher involvement in programmes like Eco-Schools gives them the tools and motivation to risk into new projects, even if many times they challenge the traditional ways of learning. This way these projects not only aim at teaching students how to be responsible and adopt sustainable behaviours but, because they use non-formal and informal methods, they are also developing the soft skills needed by leaders of the future, namely problem solving, system thinking and tolerance. It may seem for some that studying teacher motivation, teacher involvement in projects like Eco-Schools and collaboration between teachers is too far from studying leaders of the future. We could not disagree more. We need the best teachers to provide the right knowledge, with the best methods possible.

Like Jacques Delors, former president of the European Commission, said: “teachers are there to remind us, and especially the younger generations, of everything that mankind has learnt about itself”. This research, beyond the theoretical analysis and academic purposes, inspired us by discovering amazing people working hard for making the world a better place and overcoming difficulties because of their convictions. Eco-Schools teachers and all the people that work on the programme are a source of hope for the future, and Education for Sustainable Development should be a must for every single educational programme.

Zero Waste Campaign at Loreto College in Mauritius

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Ever since our school took up this path towards nurturing a greener school, a lot has happened from the launching of the EFS programme by SEDEC to the birth of our Loreto College Curepipe (LCC) Go Green Club, and now we are finally culminating towards the apex.

We are proud to say that in sticking close to our goals, we have been awarded the Green Flag Award for the second year in a row (2017 & 2018). However, our aim is not only to maintain this status but to imprint this will for a greener and healthier lifestyle into our students and staff likewise.

As Presidents of the club we will not slacken the club’s efforts into making our school a greener one. With dedication and hard work, we will walk into our previous club members’ steps to maintain our status as an Eco-School. We will always be aiming higher and higher because mitigating our negative impact on the planet will not stop until the whole human population is conscious of the consequences of her actions on the environment.

Quixotic Dendere & Shanelle Li Presidents

We started this year with a Zero Waste Campaign aimed at reducing our waste as much as possible. The zero waste concept is based on 5 rules, the 5R's which are as follows:

1. Refuse what you do not need

2. Reduce what you do need

3. Reuse - That is swapping anything that's disposable for a reusable alternative

4. Recycle

5. Rot/ Compost

These 5 rules are closely related to our Loreto College Curepipe Go Green goals and with the help of Mrs. Priya, we started this project to show our students that living with less is not necessarily that different.

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Hob’s Adventure - Hands-on Biodiversity. A learning (from nature)-by-doing project.

From Autumn 2018 to Autumn 2020, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia and Slovenia will be involved in the Hob’s Adventure - Hands-on Biodiversity project.

The participating teachers will collaborate to develop and share new methods to teach about biodiversity in a hands-on manner. The project aims to incorporate means that are available in all countries throughout the year such as potted plants, the flora in school yards and other signs of biodiversity in one’s immediate surrounding. The methods include the use of digital tools, to steer children clear of some of the negative effects stemming from the recent introduction of tablets, mobile phones and the internet into everyday life. The methods are also aimed to increase how physically active children can be during lessons and during breaks.’

Participants from all four countries with their unique challenges and solutions stand to gain from experience sharing and collaboration. Some of the participating countries face climate and environmental issues which make it challenging to teach about biodiversity. For example, Iceland and Estonia suffer from long winters which doesn’t allow you to take a group of children outside without preparation. The former has also suffered deforestation which has reduced its natural flora and fauna. Fortunately, this has led to the development of methods to overcome these difficulties that countries can share. The same goes for digital tools and physical activity. 
People often miss connections between their actions and the global picture. For example, a reason to focus on potted plants is to illustrate how our habits of purchasing cut flowers for decoration and potted plants from shops is leading to the destruction of rainforests in the tropics. The rainforests are cleared to make way for fields that satisfy our demand for these plants. By allowing children to learn about the reproduction of potted plants by themselves, we can explain and demonstrate both complex global issues and to show a way to solve them.

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These issues come up in various guises in our participant countries. For example, in Iceland, deforestation is fought by planting trees but there’s a lack of attention to the species selected. One would need to choose between native trees that fit into the ecosystem and foreign species that might yield greater wood output. Such choices are best made when information about the choices and the relevant values have been taught from a young age.

Hob’s Adventure aims to overcome challenges such as an overflow of information, alienation from nature, always online social interaction, lack of physical activity and many others. To find solutions to these problems and to combat related schoolchild depression, under-achievement and resulting elevated dropout rates, the project intends to motivate children to develop new skills and values for the modern world. These skills include the use of modern digital tools, hands-on learning to achieve an increase in outdoor and active learning periods for mostly sedentary children.

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The project targets 5-9 year-old children and their teachers. We want to create a network of educational experts and teachers that can generate new methods and ideas for integrating hands-on and digital learning into lessons. They aim to create innovative learning materials that instruct teachers how to tie practical learning activities in the classroom and outside with digital learning and movement. The goal is use the materials to direct children to learn skills that improve their academic achievements, increase their interest in nature and the environment and teach them social skills and digital competences relevant to their age.

The project will introduce children to the following topics through the overarching theme of the biodiversity of potted plants and outdoor environments: global citizenship, reasonable consumption of goods, diversity in nature, the needs of plants and animals, health and welfare. These stem from United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The lesson plans are developed by teachers from participating kindergartens and schools, with support from their institution and the coordinating non-profit organization from each country. All lesson plans are developed with and tested on children taught by these same teachers, in frequent collaboration with parents and other relevant actors such as local experts.

Funding for development, international cooperation and dissemination of the handbook has been generously provided by Erasmus+.

Happy 20th Eco-Schools anniversary, Finland!

20th anniversary celebrations in Tampere in May 2019 Photo: Maija Ihantola

20th anniversary celebrations in Tampere in May 2019
Photo: Maija Ihantola

20 years ago, in May 1999, the first three green flags were raised in Helsinki, Finland. Eco-Schools programme had started in Finland in Autumn 1998, four years after its launch in Europe. The idea for starting the programme had come from the neighbouring countries Sweden and Denmark, from where came also the name of the programme, “Vihreä lippu” in Finnish and “Grön Flagg” in Swedish, meaning “Green Flag”. The programme is still run bilingually, with the both national languages Finnish and Swedish.

During the first year, the program started as a pilot in Eastern Helsinki, where 4 schools and 2 kindergartens joined it - half of them getting a green flag after the first year. However, thanks to good press coverage and enormous interest among environmental education -minded teachers, the programme started spreading fast. After one year, in Spring 2000, already 80 schools and kindergartens from many parts of Finland had joined the programme, and 36 received the flag!

These days, in 2019, there are around 300 schools and kindergartens involved in the programme in Finland, with around 270 of them having the green flag. Among these is also still one of the original participants, kindergarten Päiväkoti Neulanen, that has been on the Eco-Schools journey for the whole 20 years. From the very beginning kindergartens (ages 1-6) have been a big part of the programme, nowadays forming 45% of the participant!

Päiväkoti Neulanen raises one of Finland’s three first Green Flags in May 1999. Photo: Newspaper archive picture

Päiväkoti Neulanen raises one of Finland’s three first Green Flags in May 1999.
Photo: Newspaper archive picture

Back in 1998, when Päiväkoti Neulanen joined the programme, they had no previous experience of environmental education. However, during the 20 years in the programme, environmental education has become a core value of their educational work- “Our whole staff is very engaged in, and proud of the Green Flag, and environmental education is deep in our values and everyday activities” say early education teachers Karoliina Silander and Kira-Mia Tuisku, who nowadays take charge of running the program there. However, it is the work of their predecessors and long-time colleagues, that should be given the biggest credit – “Thanks to them, many good ideas and activities have continued to live on throughout the years, and it has been easy for new employees to get in the Eco-Schools work”.

Picture:    Kindergraten Neulanen celebrating their 20 years of holding the Green Flag in Spring 2019.  Photo: Aino Häyrynen

Picture: Kindergraten Neulanen celebrating their 20 years of holding the Green Flag in Spring 2019.
Photo: Aino Häyrynen

A funny side story:

Päiväkoti Neulanen won the Finnish national prize in the Environment & Innovation contest 2009 organized by the international Eco-Schools programme. Their winning entry idea in the energy-saving innovation contest was a free-standing drying rack for wet outdoor gloves, integrated to a radiator.

The innovation didn’t get much international fame, because the international jury of the competition didn’t understand its purpose at all: “why would any school need to dry wet gloves on a daily basis?” Little did they know, that in Finland the kids spend time outdoors every day, whatever the weather – and therefore such a drying rack could save a lot of energy by removing the need for a separate drying cabinet

Birthday cake! Photo: Iitu Kiminki

Birthday cake! Photo: Iitu Kiminki

This May, the 20th anniversary of Eco-Schools in Finland was celebrated in three regional birthday parties and award ceremonies on different sides of the country. Over 600 eco-committee members from schools and kindergartens joined the happy celebrations. Hooray, Eco-Schools 20 years in Finland!

Drinkable Air Technologies in Kenya: cleaner and safer water for students.

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In February, 2019, Drinkable Air Technologies (DAT) was informed by its local Kenyan distributor, Africa Trade Corporatsion (ATC) that ATC was accepted as a demonstration for the UN Environment Conference in Nairobi from March 11-15, 2019. In consultation with DAT, ATC indicated they intended to find a CSR target where they could place a demonstration to obtain some objective and subjective data surrounding such a placement for sharing at the conference. David N. Wandabi - Programs Officer, Eco-schools Programme, Kenya Organization for Environmental Education then introduced ATC to St. Mary’s Primary School in Machakos County.

St. Mary’s has 400 students and staff and has a real need for potable water. ATC delivered a C8 unit to the site. The unit was connected to power alone overnight to bring produce water. The unit produces about 400 L of water a day in appropriate climate conditions like Machakos which would be more than adequate for a school of this size.

“Apart from the information gathered by the team on the impact of the unit to the school, we have also had further conversation with the school head teacher on the same. She was full of praise of the unit.” says Mr. Wanabi. “The school normally solely depended on rain water to provide water for drinking. This however has been an unsustainable technology as the school is an arid area which gets very little rain in a year. Most of the time pupils are asked to carry water from home for drinking which is cumbersome and the cleanliness of the water safety is not guaranteed. The head teacher points out that since the unit was installed; children have been happy as they have not been required to carry water from home. The water has been reliable, cold and clean. The water has also been used by teachers. The school board of management and parents have also been full of praise for the unit as they no longer had to worry on helping their children get water for drinking to carry to school.”

The Ministry of Education has also noted that the technology can be of great help especially to other schools in arid and semi-arid areas like Machakos County.

“It is certainly an exciting time for us as the Eco-schools National Operators in Kenya, to be pioneering such an innovative technology as Drinkable Air” says Dr. Dorcas Beryl Otieno, Executive Director of Kenya Organisation for Environmental Education (KOEE). “From the feedback we have had so far from St Mary's School, it has been life-changing for the students and the school as a whole.”

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 Pollinators are life! Build Eco bridges and help protect them

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At Vienna International School (VIS) the project "Building Eco-Bridges" is aiming to support the biodiversity near school.

Due to the fact that urban pollinators are in decline, it is a first step to develop a small area at school to support urban pollinators and engage with neighbor schools to develop "Eco Bridges" in support of the living organisms near schools.

The idea is that each school that participate will plant or develop a small pollinator garden patch at school. The aim is to protect biodiversity and support local urban pollinators. Plants should be local to the area and preferably perennials. Once the patch is settled, the second step is to identify the pollinators that visit the plants, and develop a chart that could be shared among students of the same school or in the same location, promoting the development of patches for pollinators in any home of the students. Monitoring of the patches at VIS have provided evidence that diverse pollinators, mainly insects are provided with nectar.

In this project, at VIS around 45 students are directly involved. As the new schools are joining, the numbers will be increasing, but are not jet recorded. However, an estimate number of 200 students is expected. An important output of the project at VIS has been the understanding of pollinators and their relationship with food crops has been a driving force to support them.

Students have learn the relationship between soil-water-pollinators and food production. They are aware of the need to protect them. Students find this to be an action they can implement even at home, they develop investigation skills, learn to create correlations between topics and the impacts one action may have on another thing. They learn to find cycles in nature that are relevant, like the role of decomposers in soil production, the water cycle and effect of pollution, and the requirements for food production.

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Chadwick International is the first school in South Korea to be awarded the Green Flag

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Mark Potter, Sustainability Committee co-chair: “Four years ago, Chadwick International launched its first ever sustainability committee, pioneered by former teacher, Mr. Chris Brodie. Over the past 4 years the sustainability committee, which is comprised of faculty, staff, students, parents, as well as the partnerships we have formed with companies such as Our Home and TerraCycle, have worked together to take action to make our school healthier and more sustainable. We are thankful that the sustainability committee continues to be comprised of all the key players needed to turn ideas into realities. The support that is given to this committee by administrators at CI, by teachers, staff, CIPA, and students, as well as our community partnerships is tremendous, and greatly appreciated, and it ensures that we continue to be able to turn our ideas into authentic actions.

Last year, the decision was made to join Eco Schools, to ensure that we empower our students to have a voice, and to provide them with opportunities to take meaningful, authentic action. Eco-Schools is a global programme engaging 19.5 million students across 67 countries and for nearly 25 years has been empowering children to drive change and improve their environmental awareness. We are delighted that Chadwick International is part of the Eco Schools programme, and we are honored to have recently been awarded the highly-coveted Eco-Schools green flag. This award makes CI the first school in South Korea to be awarded a green flag, and we now join just a handful of other international schools around the world to have been awarded one. Although we recognize that we still have progress to make in many areas, we are pleased that our efforts have been internationally recognized and acknowledged, and we are excited to continue our sustainability journey by working on new sustainability projects, generated by our students, to ensure that we maintain our green flag status in the years to come.”

Chadwick International has ensured that all 12 of the Eco themes have been incorporated into our curriculum throughout Pre-K to Grade 12. This year they were particularly focused on reducing waste, supporting their own Eco Code of 'No Plastic is Fantastic' (decided after surveying the community) to raise awareness about the amount of single-use plastic used at school.

Mark Potter: “We have many projects that we are working on aimed at reducing our waste. Our recent successes have included:
- Using reusable bentos boxes for packed lunches on field trips
- Installing umbrella driers instead of having plastic covers for wet umbrellas
- Installing refillable water stations throughout the school reducing the need for paper cups and plastic water coolers
- Establishing a partnership with TerraCycle whereby we provide them with used toothbrushes, which TerraCycle recycle and turn into reusable bags and plant pots

In order to evaluate the outcomes of the programme we monitor the data provided on the refillable water stations that shows how many single-use plastic bottles we save by using refillable water bottles. We then displayed these data electronically through our digital screens located throughout the school. We also created a Sustainability newsletter that is shared with the school community which communicates our successes and future plans of what we are trying to achieve.”

Way to go Chadwick International and South Korea!

Construction of a water ecological learning field in Primary School in China

The Chinese primary school ‘Hengde’ had the brilliant idea of building a water ecological learning field to enable kids to learn about water conservation and ecology through games and other hands on activities.

Implementation of the project

Following the Eco-Schools Seven Steps, the project was implemented by an International Ecological Commission of pupils from grades 1st to 5th.

The water ecological learning field included a series of actions and activities: the installation of spray nozzle on taps to reduce water consumption, a drinking water recovery system and the re-built of the draining system. The latter is of particular importance, as it allowed the schools to have an irrigation mechanism for the small 1-square-meter farms installed in front of each class.

Through the creation of micro wetlands, pupils had fun, while learning about purification. In these wetlands 54 species of plants and 11 species of aquatic plants were planted, and 9 species of aquatic animals introduced, so as to create a food chain network and improve the biological purification effect.

Outcomes

This complex and creative project has contributed and is contributing to the increase of pupils’ awareness on the issues of excessive water consumption and water saving, while allowing them to learn new methods to save water, to get teamwork skills, and enhancing their consciousness of environmental issues in general. Thanks to it, kids can make water-saving devices in groups or independently, and most of them have a preliminary understanding of the principles of some water-saving devices.

Did you know that you can grow vegetables and fish at the same time?

Aquaponics is a farming method that allows you to grow vegetable and fish together. This system  is gaining momentum in the farming industry as an efficient and sustainable way to produce food, which consists of a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics that grows fish and plants together in a symbiotic environment. Hence why the Loreto College Curepipe from Mauritius has decided to experiment it and use it in an educational tool, involving more than 50 students aged 11-18 into the project.

The outcomes of the projects were numerous: students learnt valuable scientific concepts and gained practical technical knowledge, useful for their working future, they were confronted with sustainability issues, such as sustainable food production. Teachers also benefited from this activity, learning new hands-on teaching method and how to integrate global trends into their teaching activities.

This project does not only fit perfectly in the school curriculum, but also has a strong link with the SDGs. In fact, it encompasses sustainability concepts such as food scarcity, food security, social inclusion, decent standards of living, urban farming. The use of aquaponics as an educational tool, also helps the students learn valuable scientific concepts, linking it with SDG 4 (quality education).   

If you want to see how the school built is small aquaponics system, you can also watch their video:

Collaborative project on clean energy in Dubai!

Age group involved

11 to 13 years

Resources

  1. Old project materials

  2. Used cardboard

  3. Old toys

Electric vehicles appear more and more in numbers but insufficient charging stations are causing problems. How can you charge an electric vehicle in a way that it is environmentally friendly and easily accessible, asked Amay Mahajan ( Grade 7), Rushiil Kiran (Grade 8) and Simar Singh (Grade 8).

The group of students, after experimenting with a prototype of a wireless mobile charger in technology class, came up with the following ideas:

  • Wireless charging of cars. The group of students successfully imitated the coil method to excite the positive and negative charge of the energy coming from solar panels.

  • Placing of working solar panels on a miniature model of a road, with charging schemes and materials needed to support the weight of vehicles passing by.

  • A battery collector was attached to keep the project working during the night too.

The ‘Solar Road Electric Car Project’, supported by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority and the Emirates Aviation University Dubai, aims to present a future plan for a clean source of energy to charge the battery of electric cars in Dubai. The feasibility study conducted by students and shows that a 20-minute driving in the solar road can charge the car’s battery by 30%  using a special wireless conduit and circuitry that can be installed in the electric car.

Outcomes

  • Collaboration

  • Critical thinking

  • Innovation

SDG Academy course 'Water: Addressing the Global Crisis'

About this course

Water is the source of all life. Without it, neither humans nor nature will survive. Yet lack of access to water is a rapidly growing problem and one of the world’s gravest risks. It is a global crisis. The water we have at our disposal is often too little, too much or too dirty. We must learn to manage it more wisely, fairly and sustainably to avoid a serious water crisis.

The SDG Academy and the Stockholm International Water Institute have come together to offer this MOOC on some of the most important water issues. We focus on the key role water plays in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, not least SDG 6, about sustainable water and sanitation for all. The course intends to explain the global water crisis through linkages between water, environment, and societal development, focusing on how to tackle issues such as growing water uncertainty and deteriorating water quality. 

It aims to build theoretical knowledge as well as provide exposure to concrete practices from around the world through a series of case studies related to good water governance. It deals with issues of water and sanitation services, the role of ecosystems, the impact of climate change, the role of water for food and energy production, as well as shared water resources as a source of conflicts and cooperation.

Through the course you will gain a better understanding of how water influences lives and livelihoods.  You will also learn how your own actions can contribute to a more water wise world.

What you'll learn

  • The scale, scope, and challenges in achieving the SDG 6, safe access to water for all.

  • The issues of climate change and its influence on water.

  • Water and sanitation for health, the food, energy and water nexus.

  • The environmental, economic and social dimensions of SDG 6 and the critical role of water governance.

  • The transboundary cooperation needed to achieve the goal on water.

  • Lessons from concrete practices around the world through a series of case studies. 

Enrol now!

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The British PM visits St.Mary's Primary School for its 6th Green Flag celebrations!

On 12 October, St.Mary’s Primary School had a visit from the local Member of Parliament, the Rt. Hon. Theresa May, Prime Minister. The school celebrated receiving its sixth Green Flag in a special assembly, led by Eco Leader Mrs Hurrell, before heading out to the newly refurbished eco-garden for an official opening. The Eco Committee stated that the Prime Minister was very impressed with how the whole school had been involved with the planting.

They then moved to the flag pole at the front of the school where the Prime Minister raised the school’s sixth Green Flag. The Green Flag is a symbol of sustainable living. The Eco-Schools assessors stated the following: “We truly felt that St. Mary’s Primary School embodies all elements of what it means to be an Eco-School. The students are enthusiastic, keen and understand what it means to care for the environment and their energy is infectious. Mrs Hurrell has done a phenomenal job in championing the cause and she is an inspiration to the children. They have embedded environment into their curriculum seamlessly and are an inspiration to all schools.” The Eco Committee reported that the Prime Minister mentioned that the school was an inspiration to all others.

Guests joined from the Portsmouth Diocese, Cafod, the Climate Coalition and Keep Britain Tidy, as well as Mrs Vanderpool from Anguilla who officially accepted the cheque of £4000 from the school for all the fund raising undertaken by the children to help rebuild the Vanderpool Primary School following the devastation of Hurricane Irma.

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Eco-Schools Romania celebrates 20 years of Eco-Schools!

The Carpathian - Danubian Center for Geoecology (CCDG) organised its 20th National Seminar in September 2019. Over 300 participants joined the event: teachers, principals, school inspectors, authorities, sponsors and many other collaborators. 

FEE President, Lesley Jones, special guest of the event, encouraged the participants to continue their work and sustainable attitude towards the environment. The event focused on values and impact of educational programmes developed by CCDG in Romania. The Eco-Schools programme has been the focus of attention, through the prizes offered to the most active schools, through exchange of experience and inspirational ideas for future activities. In Romania, the Eco-Schools programme has a real success, with over 300 enrolled educational institutions. At the event, a total of 10 schools were awarded the Green Flag for the first time and another 15 have been awarded for the seventh time. After being reevaluated, 94 schools received an Eco-Schools Trophy and 37 were awarded the Eco-Schools anniversary plaque, which marks 10 years of success in the programme.

We are grateful for the positive attitude of children and teachers towards the environment and confident in the change they can make!

 

Discussing Cultural Heritage at the eTwinning Conference 2018

eTwinning is an Erasmus+ Project aimed at connecting schools from different countries, encouraging them to work on common projects. The theme of this year was ‘Cultural Heritage’. Eco-Schools Global was represented at the eTwinning Conference 2018 in Poland by Marvic Refalo, from Eco-Schools Malta. Marvic held a workshop on ‘Cultural Heritage as an Eco-Schools theme combined with the SDGs’.

The conference represented a possibility to share the educational programmes and the values of FEE, particularly of Eco-Schools, with other schools and committees, and to get comments and feedback. Marvic engaged the attendees with stories of cultural heritage projects of Malta and South Africa and explained the Seven-Step methodology. The workshop presented cultural heritage as a crucial element of education, contributing to the achievement of the SDGs.

A lot of participants showed their interest in becoming part of the Eco-schools programme. As a result of the presentation, and as students’ empowerment and democratic participation are a fundamental part of the Seven-Step process, Eco-Schools was invited to hold a workshop at the next eTwinning conference in 2019 on Democratic Participation.

  • Story provided by Marvic Refalo, Eco-Schools Malta

 

Montenegro gets its first Green Flag schools!

The first Green Flag awards and certificates for 17 educational institutions in Montenegro

Bureau for Education Services of Montenegro, in cooperation with the UN System in Montenegro, organised the first Award Ceremony of Green Flags and Certificates for acquiring the International Green Flag status. The event took place at the Eco UN building in Podgorica on 20th September - Day of the ecological state of Montenegro.

Mr. Aleksandar Mitrovic, State Secretary in the Ministry of Education of Montenegro opened the event, and address speeches followed by Mrs. Fiona Mekluni, Coordinator of the UN System in Montenegro and Mr. Rešad Sijarić, Director of Bureau for Education Services of Montenegro.

Bureau for Education Services of Montenegro joined the Eco-Schools family through its FEE membership in 2016. At this year's call for Green Flag applications, 17 educational institutions applied. All of them have been implementing the Eco-Schools programme since September 2016.  All registered institutions went through the process of accreditation in May and June 2018. The accreditation was conducted by teams of the National Committee for the implementation of the Eco-schools programme composed by representatives of the Bureau for Education Services, Ministry of Education Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, the Centre for Vocational Education, ECOM and UNDP.

The Director of Bureau for Education Services awarded the Green Flag and Certificates to representatives of the following educational institutions:

  1. Gymnasium „Tanasije Pejatović", Pljevlja (https://gimnazijatpejatovic.wordpress.com/; https://gimnazijatpejatovic.wordpress.com/eko-skola/)

  2. Primary School „Orjenski bataljon“, Bijela (https://juosorjenskibataljon.wordpress.com/; https://www.facebook.com/JU-OŠ-Orjenski-bataljon-497415067098279/

  3. Primary School „Sutjeska“, Podgorica (http://ossutjeska.edu.me/; http://ossutjeska.edu.me/category/eko-skola/; https://www.facebook.com/search/posts/?q=sutjeska)    

  4. Primary School „Pavle Rovinski“, Podgorica (https://www.facebook.com/Pavle-Rovinski-1672707102952548/)

  5. Secondary School „17. septembar“, Žabljak (www.17septembar.me)

  6. Primary School ,,Vladimir Nazor", Podgorica (https://vladimirnazor1958.wordpress.com/; https://www.facebook.com/SkolaVladimirNazor/)

  7. Primary School „Srbija“, Bar (https://juossrbija.wordpress.com; https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100013782491646)  

  8. Public Preschool „Đina Vrbica“ Podgorica (educational units „Zvjezdani vrt“, „Mogli“, „Poletarac“, „Leptirić“, „Đina Vrbica“ and „Mali princ“) (www.djinavrbica.me)

  9. Primary School „18. oktobar“, Bioče

  10. Primary School „Radomir Mitrović“, Berane (https://www.facebook.com/JU-O%C5%A0-Radomir-Mitrovi%C4%87-893821440717134/; www.facebook.com/Eko-škola-JU-OŠ-Radomir-Mitrović-141665483223764/)

  11. Primary School ,,Spasoje Raspopović" Podgorica (www.sraspopovic.com; https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/JU-Srednja-strucna-skola-Spasoje-Raspopovic-Podgorica/172308606121903)     

  12. Primary School „Radoje Čizmović“, Nikšić (https://www.facebook.com/rcizmovic/)

  13. Educational Centre, Plužine (m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=446115882238608&r; https://obrazovnicentarpluzine.wordpress.com)

  14. Gymnasium, Cetinje (https://gimnazijacetinje.me; https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Education/JU-Gimnazija-Cetinje-874110349351760/)  

  15. Secondary Vocational Economic and Catering School, Nikšić (https://ek0n0mska.wixsite.com/eko-skola)

  16. Primary School „Druga osnovna škola“, Budva (https://drugaosnovnaskolabudva.wordpress.com/category/eko-skola/)

  17. Primary School „Luka Simonović“, Nikšić (https://www.facebook.com/JU-O%C5%A0-Luka-Simonovi%C4%87-Nik%C5%A1i%C4%87-1696683413900831/?ref=bookmarks)

International Eco-Schools Merit Certificate, for outstanding contribution to the Eco-Schools Programme, showing commitment towards ESD by continuously improving the environmental performance of the school and the wider community, this year goes to Primary School “Radoje Čizmović”, Nikšić.

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/106991185@N05/albums/72157695693056040

Technology in favour of nature and biodiversity

In order to explore and popularise the biodiversity of Atanasovsko lake, students from the Eco Club "Captain Planet" at the "A.G. Kodjakafaliyata" Primary School in Burgas, Bulgaria in partnership with the Bulgarian Blue Flag Movement and Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation, realised their volunteer student project "My Atanasovsko Lake".

They developed an audio guide through QR codes in Bulgarian and English. The audio files in the audio guide were divided into five different themes: Man and the Lake, Lagoon, Mud and Sea, Migration and Birds, All about the Lake, Salt and Salt Production, narrated in an interesting and attractive way by the students. Stickers with QR codes were posted in various public places in the Sea Garden and the city of Burgas.

For a year, the students from the school participated and developed several environmental projects and were awarded with the Green Flag.

Story provided by Petya Yordanova, Eco-Schools Bulgaria - Alexander Georgiev Kodzhakfaliyata School – Burgas, Bulgaria

Eco-Schools involved in marine conservation in South Africa

CTEET (Cape Town Environmental Education Trust) supports over 30 registered Eco-Schools across Cape Town. The majority of these schools are from low-income, disadvantaged communities on the Cape Flats.

This year, for World Cleanup Day, CTEET partnered with WESSA to host a beach cleanup in Muizenberg, Cape Town. Around 200 people attended the event, including over 120 learners from 9 of our supported Eco-Schools. CTEET feels that it is very important for the learners to get involved in action days such as this because it gives them a chance to actively play a role in environmental protection. It also drives home the real-world impact of some of the things that they are learning about – like the harmful impact that plastic has on our marine life and the effects of littering. This is especially significant this year as CTEET has run a number of educational day programmes around issues such a waste, plastic pollution and water with our Eco-Schools. Joining forces with a big group of other environmentally-conscious peers and role models also inspires the young environmental champions to keep standing up for nature.

We worked on about a 2km long stretch of beach, and the learners spend about 1.5 hours actively collecting waste from the beach. The item that was most found was cigarette butts, followed closely by straws and bottle tops. Interesting finds were a dead gull caught in fishing gut, a TV screen and a whole tyre.

Story provided by CTEET

Eco-Schools Malta focuses on food, waste reduction and appreciation of the outdoors.

The Gozo College Middle School in Malta has a long tradition in Environmental Education and in Education for Sustainable Development. Its Eco-Schools committee has been active for the past ten years and each year the students, together with their teachers, participate in various FEE programmes run by the NGO Nature Trust Malta of which LEAF (Learning About Forests), YRE (Young Reporters for the Environment), We Eat Responsibly, Litter Less Campaign, Water Explorer and related projects also linked to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Students of the Gozo College collecting wild plants 

Students of the Gozo College collecting wild plants 

The action plan of the school focuses on responsible food consumption, waste reduction and appreciation of the outdoors. Taking a whole school approach, during the last scholastic year, the students researched and learnt about edible wild plants, went foraging and cooked various recipes using foraged leaves. Finally, they produced a recipe book on the use of wild plants to raise awareness about these freely available ingredients which are nowadays frequently considered as waste but in fact were used by the previous generations. The students also prepared herbed sea salt using the same foraged leaves and produced tangerine sugar using tangerine peel.  These were packed in clean reused glass jars and sold to visitors at school during an Open Day.

This year the committee continued on the same lines and promoted the use of the carob fruit, a resource growing naturally in the local outdoor environment – the carob being an indigenous and protected tree. The students researched about this tree and possible uses of its fruit and prepared traditional and innovative recipes using the whole of the carob pod in differenti ways. The students found out that carob powder which can be produced from the carob pod is in fact a healthier substitute for chocolate, produced it by grinding the pod finely and actually used it to make delicious cakes and drinks. During an Open Day at school visitors witnessed the launch of an informative leaflet about the carob tree including information about the tree, the various projects and programmes the school is participating in and six simple but healthy recipes using the carob products. Attendees had the opportunity to taste carob cake and carob banana smoothie prepared by the students and buy the traditional carob syrup and cake mix stored in reused jars.

Students presenting their work during the school's Open Day - carob syrup and carob cake

Students presenting their work during the school's Open Day - carob syrup and carob cake

These activities were integrated in various subjects across the curriculum, involved the whole school community, reached out to a lot of people through social media but also on the national TV and various radio stations and above all managed to directly link a number of the SDGs including life on land, zero hunger, sustainable cities and communities and responsible consumption and production. Moreover, in January 2018, representatives from the school were invited to the We Eat Responsibly International Forum in Prague to tell participants about this project.

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  • Story provided by the Eco-Schools Coordinator, Ramona Mercieca

Eco-Schools Latvia Summer Forum 2018

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The Eco-Schools Summer Forum in Latvia has become a strong tradition and it is the most anticipated event among the participants of the programme. This was Latvia's 8th Summer Forum and it lasted for a total of 6 days with activities tailored for teachers and students.

The first part of the event gathered 120 teachers from 70 Eco-Schools in Latvia. It was an opportunity to learn the latest news regarding Eco-Schools, get ready for the upcoming school-year and talk about current environmental challenges. Themes of the seminars included: climate change, biodiversity, responsible food consumption, outdoor education, environmental education and competence-based learning, students support and motivation. Practical workshops were held for teachers to learn new useful skills for a greener lifestyle. Moreover, the Forum was an opportunity to meet fellow activists and to strengthen the collaboration among Eco-Schools in Latvia. At the end of the event, a public waste monitoring session was organised on a beach near the venue in order to gather information on coastal pollution and to urge communities to volunteer at the coastal cleanup campaign, which will take place in September.

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Over a hundred young people between 14 and 18 years old participated in the second part of the Eco-Schools Summer Forum. The four-day programme was developed to deepen students’ knowledge of current environmental issues, to spark new ideas for environmental activities and to add to students’ know-how for organising such activities. Working in groups and team-building activities promoted the formation of a network of young environmental activists and new friendships among Eco-Schools in Latvia.

In order to minimise the environmental impact of the event, no disposable plates, cups or cutlery were used during the Forum. The participants were asked to reduce the amount of any waste to a minimum and to use energy and water resources responsibly. Considering the negative effects of industrial farming on the environment, the amount of animal products in the catering was considerably reduced. Recycled hygiene paper products and environmentally friendly household cleaning supplies were provided for the participants.

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  • Story provided by FEE Latvia