Thursday 20 June 2019

Climate change fight back leads to national award for local students

Students from FCJ Bunclody who are finalists in the Eco Unesco Young Environmentalists competition
Students from FCJ Bunclody who are finalists in the Eco Unesco Young Environmentalists competition

Brendan Keane

A group of students from FCJ Bunclody are doing their bit to fight against climate change and as a result have won a major national competition.

The students travelled to Dublin on Thursday for the final of the Eco Unesco Young Environmentalists Awards where, having been interviewed by a panel of three judges, they came away with the overall award in the Climate Change senior category.

The students say climate change is an issue affecting everybody and commenting on the matter to this newspaper a spokesperson for the school said efforts to combat it [at official level] have been 'shockingly poor'.

However, the Transition Year students have decided to take matters into their own hands and in doing so also entered the competition.

The initiative is aimed at empowering young people to play their part in improving the world and links the school projects with carrying out global goals.

The FCJ students decided to take on the issue of single-use plastic and in particular focussed on food packaging and waste.

'They felt this was a huge issue,' said a spokesperson from the school.

'They felt they could take a few simple measures to reduce the amount of single use plastic used in their school, local community, and the surrounding areas,' he added.

The students undertook the challenging endeavour in late September and have worked very hard in the interim.

Such was the enthusiasm and passion that they instilled into their campaign that they won their way through to last week's final.

'They delivered a pitch in Europe House to a panel of judges who were highly impressed with their idea and the students felt that it went very well,' said the spokesperson.

To-date, the students have spread awareness to their fellow students, parents, teachers, friends, family and members of their wider community about the urgent need to address the problem.

They also showed people how they themselves can make some simple but very positive changes.

'They have teamed up with Wexford County Council to extend the Conscious Cup Campaign throughout Bunclody,' said the spokesperson.

'They have supplied businesses with reusable cups and had them sign a pledge to try and use them to reduce the amount of disposable coffee cups going to waste,' he added.

The students also held a massive litter pick on all the roads leading into Bunclody, gave out reusable fruit and veg bags, and informed the public on how and why to use them.

They also carried out multiple surveys, ran poster competitions and many more promotions with a view to getting their message across.

Securing the prestigious Eco Unesco prize underlined their ability to convey an extremely positive and important message to everyone in the community.

Enniscorthy Guardian