A fiery experiment at Science Week at Coláiste Chiarain, Croom
Science Week found me back in Coláiste Nano Nagle on Sexton Street. I was here to engage with the staff and students around a whole range of environmental and biodiversity topics.
It was a real privilege over two days to meet, listen to and discuss the range of environmental challenges facing these young people. Also to continue the conversation around possible ways that they can help protect the natural world.
Our first topic was sustainable fashion and the kids were it fits of giggles when they heard what I was going to be talking about that. As with any young person’s life, fashion is a big part of their daily consideration, whereas I come under the comfortable tracksuit and fleece.
Producing new clothes uses vast quantities of land and water and most of the items are worn once or twice and then discarded. With Christmas parties around the corner perhaps business could showcase their green credentials by having a sustainable clothes day at work.
The students are planning a clothes swap day, to reflect the wintery season. Coats, fleeces, hats and scraps will all be modelled the day before the swap. Students will be encouraged to attend by being able to get of class early.
Next on the agenda was make-up and here the young ladies thought me as much. Some brands have a rabbit symbol on them to highlight that the product is not tested on animals.
They are going to carry out a survey in the school to see how many students in the school are aware of what the rabbit symbolizes. Armed with my new knowledge I checked with me young lady at home and most of her make-up has not been tested on animals. We are also looking at using washable clothes instead of disposable cotton ones.
Global citizenship and ideas for projects was next up for discussion. Reducing the amount of food we waste, has a very positive impact on nature and climate change. In order for our food to be grown, land is needed and nature is often displaced. Also fertilizers, water and pesticides are applied and this damages natural ecosystems.
Food that we don’t eat often ends up in the bin. When it reaches landfill and starts to decay it releases methane, a powerful climate changing gas. The average household wastes the cost of up to eight full shops each year. Half of fruit, vegetables and salads end up in the bin. The green committee are considering starting with a food audit, of one or two classes. Lessons can be learnt that can then be implemented throughout the whole school. Reducing plastic provoked another interesting conversation. While it was generally agreed that banning plastic bottles was a good idea, it was not clear how this should be achieved. Glass is not an option due to oblivious health and safety issues. Bring your own to refill at the class water font is an option, but the students mentioned that the water tastes terrible.
A filter would improve the taste, and they came up with the idea of using the money raised, by the clothes swap to buy a filter.
We also discussed biodiversity through bats, and these creatures are really misunderstood. Lots of the students believed that bats are blind, and fly into your hair, and then you have to shave your head. Thankfully we were able to dispel a few myths, and also point how useful bats are as they eat up to 35,000 insects each night.
It was a great education to meet the staff and students, and the environment is in good hands if all you young people are as engaged as these students.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 089 4230502. Albert is also available to do walk/talks with schools, tidy towns, youth and community groups