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Saturday 16 November 2019

Students get active on climate change

With Greta Thunberg taking climate change onto the world stage, students in Wexford have also been getting active in terms of promoting environmental awareness

Colaiste Bride transition year students held at Climate Change protest on Enniscorthy Bridge
Colaiste Bride transition year students held at Climate Change protest on Enniscorthy Bridge

Brendan Keane

The pupils in Coláiste Bríde secondary school in Enniscorthy have always been very pro-active in their approach to highlighting their concerns about climate change.

They have campaigned for immediate action to be taken by not just the Irish Government but also the world's governments to address issues being caused now but that will affect future generations.

Transition Year pupils in the school recently took to the bridge in Enniscorthy to stage a peaceful, public protest, to highlight their concerns.

They received a very favourable response from passing motorists who blew their horns in acknowledgement of the students.

The protest followed in the wake of a similar protest staged at the same location by other students in the school in recent weeks; that was an event that was also very well supported by passing motorists.

However, the ongoing work in Coláiste Bríde is not just about protests and there are many initiatives going on in the school that are all aimed at making the world a better place for everyone.

A carbon tax collection was held at the school gates and it served a duel purpose, as highlighted by teacher, Jennie Doocey, who said the money raised through the collection was used to plant apple trees in the school grounds.

It's a 'thinking outside the box' approach that has seen the student population do a lot of very good work in recent months to increase awareness not just within the school but also within the local community of the need for everyone to become more environmentally aware in their everyday lives.

Such is the level of interest in the topic that a Climate Change Committee was set up in the school with the specific aim of raising awareness around the issue throughout the entire school population.

'It's something that is very important to the students,' said Ms Doocey.

The committee is working very hard within the school and they also contacted their local TDs and the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton TD, about issues they feel need to be addressed.

In their communication the students highlighted their concerns as well as putting forward some ideas of their own around measures they think should be implemented.

Such was the impressive nature of their correspondence that they received replies - much to their delight.

The Climate Change Committee also organised a climate change photography competition which was very well supported.

The competition was also used to raise general awareness around the topic in the hope of getting people to think more about the environment and how they themselves could take a more pro-active approach in improving it for everyone.

Among the other initiatives organised by the committee were climate change quizzes which were held during lunch time breaks.

In addition to being a bit of fun the quizzes also served to raise general awareness around environmental issues.

Ms Doocey said the students also worked with a member of Self Help Africa during a workshop based around sustainability and climate issues.

She said it was a very beneficial workshop through which the students learned a lot and gained valuable insight.

The Coláiste Bríde students also liaised with Irene Cadogan, from the Department of Agriculture, on a sustainability workshop for Enniscorthy.

As part of that workshop a report was compiled and it's hoped that it will be presented to the members of the local Municipal District Council.

Such is the high level that the students in the school are operating at with regard to their environmental awareness work that Coláiste Bríde received a Global Passport award from Worldwise Global Schools in acknowledgement of their efforts.

Never one to rest on their laurels, the students are now working on a project aimed at making the school a plastic free zone and have created a visual display of empty plastic bottles in the school reception to increase awareness; they are determined that future generations will get to enjoy a world of fresh air and a clean environment.

Wexford People

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