Poots invests in new climate change project ahead of COP26

Date published: 04 October 2021


School pupils and community groups are set to join the fight against climate change thanks to a new project funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

Launching the scheme ahead of the COP26 conference Environment Minister Edwin Poots said every generation needed to be educated to understand climate change, its causes, potential impacts and how to tackle it.

“My department is investing in the “Carbon Literacy” project to help educate this and future generations about the threat of climate change and the impact of their day-to-day behaviour has on our climate,” he said.

“Delivered by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, the project will help people improve their knowledge and understanding of carbon and how their daily activities like travel, energy use and food consumption impact on emissions.  They can then better understand what positive changes they need to make in how they live, study and work, both as individuals and organisations, to help in the fight against climate change.

“Whilst we can develop policies supporting this environmental threat it is important that we also educate our children on how the decisions we make as individuals and a society can help,” added Minister Poots.

Dr Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said: “This is great news for Northern Ireland and for our post primary students. It is very clear that demand for information, training and action is gaining pace as more young people take part in climate strikes around the world. This response is understandable given the lack of action on climate change, which is the biggest challenge they are likely to face as future decision makers, leaders, policy makers and consumers. It is important they are skilled to make informed choices on how they can help address the climate emergency.

“Carbon Literacy Programme training for lecturers, teachers and students is, therefore, needed to better educate and prepare this section of society on the impacts and consequences of climate change and the need for positive action, embedding the right behaviours that young people can take with them through life. The influence of young people at home and in the wider society has a key role to play in supporting changes to help tackle climate change.”

Already established in other regions of the UK, the Carbon Literacy Project accredited programmes are designed to build confidence, knowledge, skills and motivation to empower individuals and organisations to play a crucial role in responding to the climate crisis.

Minister Poots concluded: “In the year that the UK plays host to COP26 I believe that the initiation and progression of the carbon literacy project will help to provide a lasting legacy beyond COP26.

“As Northern Ireland works towards contributing to the achievement of UK Net Zero by 2050 it is clear that we, as a society, will have to be more aware of how the decisions we take can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Education of our future generations will play a key role. I know this is an issue that many people care passionately about so I want to harness that energy to make a positive differerence."

Book your place on a Carbon Literacy training course today.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Photo caption: Pupils from Antrim Grammar School and St Benedict’s College, Randalstown, helped launch a new DAERA-funded Carbon Literacy project to help in the fight against climate change. (L-R) Scott Howes, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, Environment Minister Edwin Poots, Education Minister Michelle McIlveen and Ian Humphrey, Chief Executive of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.
  2. If you are interested in finding out further information about the Carbon Literacy accredited Programmes and/or the Open College Network GCSE ‘Reducing Carbon Footprints Through Environmental Action’ e-mail: enquiries@keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org
  3. Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful is a charity working towards the vision of a cleaner, greener Northern Ireland by running environmental education programmes and awareness raising campaigns, increasing volunteering opportunities and reporting on local environmental quality.
  4. Carbon Literacy is defined as: An awareness of the carbon dioxide costs and impacts of everyday activities and the ability and motivation to reduce emissions, on an individual, community and organisational basis.
  5. The materials are aimed a post primary school students and will be delivered via the DAERA funded eco schools network.
  6. The Carbon Literacy Project was established in Manchester in 2009.
  7. Follow DAERA on Twitter and on Facebook
  8. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office.
  9. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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