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On Saturday 24 November, young people from ECO-UNESCO’s ‘Youth for Sustainable Development’ programme showed their energy and enthusiasm in participating in a dialogue with policy makers and experts on Ireland’s growing waste issue.
The event that took place at the Carmelite Centre in Dublin, is part of ECO-UNESCO’s ‘No Time to Waste’ Youth Summit, a series of events sponsored by Leargas and Erasmus + that aim to encourage both young people in Ireland and Europe to contribute their voice to environmental matters.
In the morning, following a talk by Ann-Marie McNally and Gary Gannon (Social Democrats), participants from across Ireland took part in practical workshops on topics such as policy making and project planning, with young people from Spain joining them in a workshop via Skype.
In the afternoon, round-table discussions took place and youth participants had the chance to interact with experts such as Duncan Stewart (Eco Eye) and Joe Gallagher (Deputy Director of the Sustainable Development Section, DCCAE). The lesson that emerged from these discussions was that education of young people is the key to a more sustainable Ireland and for effective change to happen. As a result, both experts and young people agreed that Education for Sustainable needs to be implemented into the National School Curriculum as a matter of urgency.
The day ended with both young participants and experts giving feedback and describing what they learnt from each other. ECO-UNESCO's National Director Elaine Nevin said:
“Youth empowerment is central to our work, and our Youth for Sustainable Development programme provides young people across Ireland with the knowledge and skills they need to make real environmental change in their communities. We’re delighted that these young people have been given the opportunity to meet and engage with policy makers today and we hope that this is just the start of what will be an ongoing dialogue between young people and decision makers.”
On Wednesday, November 21st, twelve young people involved in the Youth for Sustainable Development programme enthusiastically took part in a dialogue with international climate change policy makers and experts that was held in the Irish Royal Academy.
This was a great opportunity for these young people to participate in a round table discussion with experts such as Prof Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Co-Chair of Working Group 1 for the IPCC report, Dr Pierre Marie Aubert, Co-ordinator of the European Agriculture initiative and Professor Peter Thorne, Centre Director of ICARUS at Maynooth University.
One of the main topics that were discussed at this event was the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report, which was released by the UN in October this year and which predicts increased extreme weather events, food shortages and coral die-off if we can’t contain global warming to a 1.5 degree increase by 2040.
With just 12 years left to make effective changes, coming up with real solutions for climate change is interesting challenge for Irish young people, who have already made this their mission. As Prof. Valerie Masson-Delmotte put it "By identifying something that's feasible you can make real environmental change happen.".
The event was organised by the Irish Climate Change Analysis and Research Units (ICARUS) at Maynooth University in conjunction with ECO-UNESCO and the Environmental Protection Agency to encourage youth participation in environmental matters.
On Friday, November 16th, the three Dublin Youth for Sustainable Development groups held their first combined event in Third Space Smithfield.
This event was both to highlight European Week for Waste Reduction, and also to kick start ECO-UNESCO's No time to Waste Youth Summit.
Learn more about the European Week for Waste Reduction here.
The No Time to Waste Youth Summit is a year long project that will see YSD groups from Ireland work with young people from Greece, Spain and Norway in Strucutred dialogue with local and national politicians and experts.
Friday's event kick started this project by exploring the three SDGs that will be focused on throughout the year. They are Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and infrastructure, Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production.
After the success of our Halloween themed Creative Recycling Workshops, at the start of November, ECO-UNESCO was back with another round of workshops.
Between November 5th and November 16th, students aged 5 to 11 from schools in Dalkey, Lucan and Tallaght enthusiastically took part to our Christmas inspired workshops, where they made Christmas decorations from old materials. The lesson was to encourage young people to express their creativity by finding new and alternative ways to give new life to discarded materials that would otherwise end up in landfill.
Our creative recycling workshops have been funded under the LA21 Environmental Partnership Fund 2018 from Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council.
Last Saturday, November 10th, ECO-UNESCO visited Tralee to take part in the second National Dialogue on Climate Action.
The National Dialogue on Climate Action, set up by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, is a series of regional events that will run over the next two years.
The aim of these events is to increase community engagement and to build public support for the action plans that we will need to put in place when faced climate change challenges over the coming years and decades.
The day consisted of talks, panel discussions and round tables where important questions such as 'how can we travel more sustainably?' were posed.
ECO-UNESCO were set up in the free to attend drop-in area, where anybody could visit and learn about how they could get involved with local and national environmnetal projects.
ECO-UNESCO Director Elaine Nevin, pictured with #YEA19 partipants from Mercy Mounthawk Secondary School Tralee
Almost exactly two years after the Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016, and in advance of the upcoming COP24 United Nations conference to be held in Katowice,
Poland, from 13 to 14 December 2018, the French Embassy in Ireland, Trinity College Dublin, the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) and Trócaire came together to
hold a public event on the subject of climate change.
Taking place in Trinity College Dublin on Monday 5 November, Creative Responses to Climate Change: A Marketplace for Ideas provided a space for dialogue, information-sharing and creativity,
and brought together key figures involved in the climate negotiations, civil society representatives and activists, and interested citizens.
The opening speech was delivered by Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland. Prior to her speech, Mrs Robinson took the opportunity to visit the 'Marketplace for Ideas', an area that was host to a
range of creative climate change solutions such as ECO-UNESCO's Young Environmentalist Awards.
The Overall Senior Winners of the Young Environmentalist Awards 'Plastic Outta the Park' from Newpark Comprehensive had their own stand at the marketplace, and had the opportunity to share their plastic free school campus project with Mrs Robinson.
There's just over two weeks left to register for the Young Environmentalist Awards and you can register online here.
ECO-UNESCO are looking for groups to apply to the Young Environmentalist Awards 2019 taking place in May 2019. To enter the awards, groups come up with an environmentally-focused, action project that tackles a local environmental issue.
The deadline to register is November 30th 2018 and you can register online at www.ecounesco.ie
In May of this year, young people from Newpark Comprehensive, Blackrock won the Overall Senior Award at the Young Environmentalist Awards Showcase in the Mansion House, Dublin. Could you be part of the next local group to take a prize?
Who can enter the Young Environmentalist Awards?
There are three age categories for entering the awards:
- Super Junior: 10-12 years
- Junior: 12-14 years
- Senior: 15-18 years
You can take part as a group within your school with the support of a teacher, or work with people in your community with a youth leader or community worker.
Benefits of taking part
There are a number of benefits to taking part in the Young Environmentalist Awards, including:
- Increasing your awareness and understanding of the environment
- Developing your skills in research, planning, teamwork, and leadership
- Learning about active citizenship
- Gaining confidence and an understanding of personal responsibility
- Gaining respect for the environment and for other people
There are three stages in the judging process.
Groups will submit their project portfolio outlining the details of their project for judging. Internal judging panels will review the project portfolios and create a shortlist of projects to move on to the next stage.
The shortlisted groups will then move on to the semi-final judging rounds where they will pitch their projects to a panel of experts. The semi-finals take place in regional ‘ECO-Dens’, with dens in Connaught, Leinster, Munster, and Ulster.
Those who are successful in the semi-final will move on to the finals, where they can showcase their projects at the national YEA Final Showcase and Awards Ceremony. This is where the overall winners and the category winners will be announced.
There are two overall winners of the awards:
- Overall Senior Winner
- Overall Junior Winner
Those entering the 12-14 or the 15-18 years categories will be able to narrow their project into one of the 10 categories:
- Climate change
- Eco-Art and Design
- Eco-Community Development
- Eco-Health and Wellbeing
For more information on the awards and to enter visit www.ecounesco.ie.
We're running a workshop for all current YSD participants to celebrate the European Week for Waste Reduction.
Time & Date: November 16th @ 6.00pm
Location: Third Space, Smithfield
Topic: How a Circular Economy Works
There will be light refreshments available on the night.
Learn more about the European Week for Waste Reduction here.