On 25 September, with the start of a new school year, the annual Eco-Schools awards ceremony took place in Riga, Latvia. This was an event of celebrating achievements, exchanging experiences, acknowledging best practices and taking part in a joint action.
114 educational institutions - including pre-schools, primary, secondary, high-schools and even two universities (Liepaja University and Vidzeme University), received the Green Flag award. Another 47 schools, which are on their way to the highest award, received the Eco-Schools diploma.
After the opening words from the Eco-Schools jury, FEE Latvia and UNESCO Latvia, Eco-school representatives shared stories about their most successful campaigns and events from the previous year. Liepaja University’s Eco Committee had bicycle stands installed and marked all the light switches in the University to help save energy. There was a festival for exploring and learning about the biggest river in Latvia – Daugavatogether with other Eco-Schools which was organised by the Eco Committee of Aizkraukle Gymnasium. Teachers from the primary school CreKids explained how they set up a healthy lifestyle and nature exploration summer camp for kids
The event ended with participants walking together in a Climate March with flags and posters they had created together, to the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development.
The goal of the action was to remind the general public and the authorities about the shared responsibility of combating climate change in regard to the UN Climate Change Conference taking place this year in December, in Paris (COP21). At the end of the march, participants arrived at the ministry and put together a creative installation of painted rocks, making it into a slogan which calls for action. They were greeted by the Minister for Environmental Protection and Regional Development, Kaspars Gerhards, who expressed his gratitude and support to the Eco-Schools students and teachers, and acknowledged the importance of improving the environment.