Childrens programmes for sustainability
By Edgar Debel.
As global warming becomes more and more of a threat to our planet over the last few years, the last few years have seen a significant increase in pro- environmental programs and initiatives, from
private people as well as from environmental and voluntary organisations. Companies have started to “become green” be investing more into sustainable projects and practices in their line of
work, as their customers are more conscious about these things now and base their buying decisions on sustainability. It would however be a fruitless endeavour to try to promote sustainability and
other green solutions if we only focus on adults, when addressing these topics and issues, as sustainability can only work if not only the current generations adheres to this principles but also
the following ones, which is why it is so important to always involve children in these initiatives and programs, as they are the future generation we entrust this world into, which is the next one in
charge of keeping this planet in liveable conditions. Fortunately there are environmental programs, which incorporate children directly into their planning or focus on child centred or child led
programs for sustainability and the environment, which deserve attention and focus, which this article aims to do by showcasing child led or child- centred programs in Ireland as well as in other places of the world. At the Museum of Childhood Ireland sustainability underpins all we do, whether that is in our programming, or in our requirements for the museum’s permanent home.
Eco – Schools Global:
Largest global sustainable school program. This program starts in the classroom and is then further expanded onto the community by engaging children in action – based learning processes. The
program encourages young people to engage in their environment by giving them a chance to protect it. In the program children have a say in the environment management policies of the school
the are attending, thus realising their own agency and gaining a sense of achievement trough the experience that they are actually able to foster meaningful change. Through this the children also
get a feeling of responsibility for their environment, as they see that their actions have visible consequences on the world around them. The program is open to teachers, students as well as the
local community. The participating institutions in this program are not only connected nationally but also on a global scale Through this links the individual schools are able tho share environmental
information with one another. Currently they have a running campaign that aims to show the importance of biodiversity.
Source: Eco- Schools Global website: https://www.ecoschools.global/;
Variety Ireland is a charity for children which aims to follow a progressive program for sustainability in order to better the services the service for children with educational need and
disabilities. The charity has tow new sustainable programs, which will supply new or pre-owned equipment to children with learning needs and disabilities. Families and guardian of children can
apply at variety Ireland for a mobility grant for different items, such as trikes or scooters. As part of the sustainability program the families and guardians of the children are encouraged the return the
items when the children have outgrown them, so thy can be passed on to other children in need thus creating a system of sustainable reuse of these items, instead of ending up on landfills. These
mobility items allow children with disabilities to be more self- reliant, discover their environment more freely and thus help children with special needs to cherish nature and the environment even
more by giving them a chance of a more free, self – led lifestyle.
Souce: Variety Ireland website/Sustainable Programmes: https://varietyireland.org/sustainable-
Ireland’s leading environmental management and award programme. Schools involved are of primary and secondary level. The program promotes long – term, whole- school actions for the
environment. The program is led by students and incorporates involvement from the local community. Operation and coordination of the program are handled by the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce (FEE member for Ireland). The program provides schools with
informational material about sustainability and also oversees sustainability programs and actions in the schools that partake in the Green- Schools program, such as the saving of water in the schools or the removal of litter through the school students. Schools that are doing an excellent job at their sustainability endeavours also get awarded by the program. Our Director at the Museum of Childhood Ireland was part of the team responsible for beginning the school garden, and for implementing and gaining the first Green Schools flag for Scoil Lorcáin, Monkstown, when she taught there.
Source: Green – Schools Ireland website: https://greenschoolsireland.org/about/;
Green Kids Now.Inc
Green Kids Now Inc. is a non profit program and organisation for sustainability for children, which is also led and founded by young people. Their vision is that children all over the world come together to care for the environment, take action, share experiences and raise awareness for the environment. Their goal is to help children take the path of innovation by using STEM areas (Science,Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) while being responsible and caring for the planet. The offer education through their research program, which is called Emerging Innovator Program, which helps students to learn to develop solutions for real world problems. The organisation also offer s a youth leadership program, in which students are mentored to take action in their local communities and their schools.
Source. Green Kids Now Inc. website: https://greenkidsnow.org/; https://greenkidsnow.org/about-
Eco UNESCO Ireland
Environmental and Youth organisation for Ireland. Eco UNESCO offers youth programs, award programs as well as training programs. The youth programs offer children the ability to learn about
sustainable development, like the “Learning 2 Change Our World” program, which promotes Education for sustainable development in schools of secondary level, by helping the learners and
students by equipping them with skills, relevant knowledge, environmental workshops, teacher training etc. Eco UNESCO also has a similar program for non formal education, called “Youth for
Sustainable Development”. Their ECO- Choices program focuses on the positive aspects of a community and the environment, by looking at how communities and the environment can provide
positive well being in physical and mental form. The program has non- formal, interactive methodologies, which help to support the building of capacities in young people to make positive
Sourc: Eco- UNESCO Ireland website: https://ecounesco.ie/; https://ecounesco.ie/10-18-youth-
Tetra Pak Sustainability Program
Swiss Company Tetra Pak started a recycling program for schools in Lagos, which incorporates 33 schools for a total of 10.000 children. The program aims to raise awareness in school children and
educate them about the recyclability of carton packaging and the recycling process itself. The program helps to educate about recycling by providing informational material as well as visualising
the process by proving a mixing machine, that shows the process in action. Other organisations partaking in the initiative are Chi, a brand which provided the children with products as well as Belpapyrus, a recycling company, which provided paper tissues to the children to show them an end product of the recycling process. The program also distributed sorting containers made from recycled beverage cartons to the schools.
Source: Tetra Pak German Website: Nachhaltigkeitsprogramm in Schulen(eng.: Sustainability program in schools): https://www.tetrapak.com/de/insights/cases-articles/school-sustainability-