01 Jul 2022

Putting Portlaoise schools at the centre of climate action

New outreach programme in Ireland's Low Carbon Town

laois portlaoise climate action

Launch of the new programme at Scoil Bhríde in Portlaoise. Pic: Liam Burke

Climate change and climate action is set to be brought into the classrooms of Portlaoise schools thanks to a new a new collaboration led by Midlands Science.

Laois County Council and energy provider, Energia have teamed up Midlands Science on the outreach education programme designed to create awareness of what is happening with the climate and how to take action against it.. 

The project also advances the unique role being played by Portlaoise through its designation as Irelands First Low Carbon Town.  

The event was launched at Scoil Bhríde in Portlaoise where Siobhán Burke is the Green School team leader and Muriel Wall-Coughlan is Principal.

Stephanie Curry, Marketing Executive, Energia, Suzanne Dempsey, Environmental Awareness officer, Laois County Council, Pauline Nally, Business Development Executive, Midlands Science also helped get the campaign off the ground with with students from Scoil Bhríde.

Jackie Gorman is CEO of Midlands Science. 

"The Climate Action Plan is Ireland’s roadmap to becoming a climate neutral economy and resilient society by 2050. Becoming a climate resilient society will help us to cope with the impacts of a changing climate. Young people care about the environmental crisis and climate action because it is their future which will be impacted by the worse effects of climate change. 

"Midlands Science is delighted to team up with Energia and Laois County Council in providing a number of science education workshops over the coming months with the help of Declan Holmes from Science Ireland. A transformational shift in the way our society and economy operate is needed and students are more likely to change their behaviours and encourage their parents to join them if they better understand the science of climate change.

"These workshops will teach them more about climate and environmental impact, but it will also be interactive and include brainstorming and teamwork opportunities on certain aspects of climate change education," she said. 

Portlaoise was designated as Ireland’s first Low Carbon Town under both the National Development Plan – Ireland 2040 and the Climate Action Plan 2019.  As a designated “Decarbonisation Zone” Portlaoise Town must deliver a range of climate mitigation, adaptation and biodiversity measures driven by Laois County Council to address local low carbon energy, greenhouse gas emissions and climate needs to contribute to national climate action targets. 

At a minimum, these outcomes must be capable of meeting the Government’s targets for carbon emissions reductions specifically an average 7% per annum reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2021 to 2030 (a 51% reduction over the decade).  

Midlands Science says one of the main ways of delivering these targets is by supporting and encouraging behavioural change so this outreach programme is essential to engage with younger generations and through their involvement the message can permeate through to parents and grandparents and the wider community as our youth are incredibly motivated and effective communicators of climate action.  

Amy O’ Shaughnessy, Marketing Acquisition & Sponsorship Manager for Energia said, 

“At Energia we are partnered with communities and business all across Ireland to make sustainable improvements that benefit the local environment, and also contribute toward the goals of Ireland’s national Climate Action Plan. We believe that local action makes a national difference, and as such are delighted to partner with Midland Science and Laois County Council, two organisations that are as committed as we are to positive change.

"At Energia, we supply 100% green electricity, with a clear focus on innovation and technology that is evident across our renewable developments and smart home solutions. This partnership is very much in line with the support we provide communities, and we look forward to assisting our partners and the pupils of Portlaoise in further understanding climate action and in making their own positive changes,” she said.

Midlands Science is a not for profit company which works to create greater interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) education and skills among students, teachers and members of the public in the Midlands (Laois, Offaly, Longford and Westmeath).

More about them here. 

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