Posted by SchoolDays Newshound on 04/09/2013. Tags: Primary School News Secondary School News
An Taisce’s Green-Schools Programme reached a record level during the last school year with over 90% of schools in Ireland, equivalent to 800,000 students and teachers, participating in the programme.
Participating primary, secondary and special schools directly saved in excess of €8m in waste, energy, water and transport fuel costs during the last school year.
As the new school year begins, the Director of An Taisce’s Environmental Education Unit, Patricia Oliver, said the 2012-2013 results represented a significant milestone.
“To reach a point where we are seeing 90% of all schools in Ireland participating in the Green-Schools Programme is a fantastic landmark. I think the success of Green-Schools lies in the fact that schools themselves want to manage their impact on the environment and we can provide them with the proven structure to do it with.”
To date over 67% of schools in the country have been awarded the internationally recognised Green Flag by An Taisce and 20% are in the process of achieving their first Green Flag, which typically takes around two years. An Taisce is now confident that within the next two years close to all schools will be participating given the recent growth rate of 250 schools per year.
2012-2013 School Year Results for Green Schools: Waste
Total Reduction of waste to landfill – 11,023 tonnes
Average reduction of waste to landfill – 45%
Per capita per year reduction – 18.5kgEnergy (Electricity)
Total Reduction of electricity consumption – 23,571,551 units (kWh)
Average reduction in electricity consumption –17%
Per capita per year reduction – 52.58 units (kWh) Energy (Gas)
Total Reduction of gas consumption – 3,908,000 units (kWh)
Average reduction in electricity consumption -13.4%
Per capita per year reduction – 87.2 units (kWh) Energy (Oil)
Total Reduction of Oil consumption – 1,599,437 litres
Average reduction in Oil consumption -1.6%
Per capita per year reduction – 3.96 litres Water
Total Reduction of water consumption – 292,191,000 litres
Average reduction in water consumption – 38%
Per capita per year reduction – 1163.11 litres Travel
18,000 less students coming to school by car per day
Extra 9,575 students walking instead of being driven to school per day
966,500 litres of fuel saved.
Green-Schools (known internationally as Eco-Schools) is an initiative of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) which has members in 62 countries worldwide. The Programme has been operating in Ireland for 16 years and is internationally recognised as a major success story in environmental education and practice. Delegations from Japan, Italy, Egypt, Afghanistan, Mongolia and Estonia have come to learn about how Green-Schools is operated in Ireland.
The programme is run through six core themes which include: Litter & Waste, Energy, Water, Travel, Biodiversity and Global Citizenship.
Green-Schools emerged out of a drive that An Taisce began 20 years ago to find effective ways to engage the public in greater environmental awareness and better practice.
Patricia Oliver said: “I was tired of negative campaigns which fell on deaf ears. I wanted to turn from environmental campaigning and negative messages and look at taking positive action - that was in 1993”.
“Our first break was a government grant of €15,000 for our first programme Blue Flag for Beaches & Marinas, another programme of FEE. Two years later I encountered the Green-Schools programme which was being piloted in London. I was blown away by it and in 1997 we launched the programme in Ireland.”
Since 1993 the Environmental Education Unit has grown from a staff of one to a full time staff of 58 and a turnover in 2013 of €3.5m. The Environmental Education Unit is a part of An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland.
At what cost? Who is paying for the 58 staff?