Students encouraged to join Eco-Schools programme and help save the planet

Primary and secondary school children across Hounslow are being encouraged to go green and help the fight against climate change by signing up to a new Eco-Schools programme.

Published: Wednesday, 20th October 2021

Eco-Schools logo

Launched by Hounslow Council, in partnership with Keep Britain Tidy (KBT), the Eco-Schools Programme will encourage young people to learn more about the environment and get involved in fun activities that help to protect our planet. These include organising litter picks and car free days, establishing a green wall or school vegetable garden, monitoring air quality and the school’s energy and water use, establishing bug hotels and improving recycling rates across their schools.

To mark the launch and in the run up to COP26, the UN climate summit taking place in November, the Council has launched a photo competition for schools.

Schools are being asked to send a photo of something they are doing to tackle climate change or lead on environmental action in their community. Photographs will judged at Hounslow’s Environmental Summit, being held as part of it COP26 activities, on Friday 5th November at Hounslow House.

The top 12 photos will have their photographs turned into an Eco-Schools Calendar and the winning schools will have the opportunity to work closely with some of the Council’s partners as part of their Eco-Schools work. Schools must submit one photograph to environmental.champion@hounslow.gov.uk by Wednesday 3rd November.

Hounslow declared a climate emergency in 2019 and adopted a Climate Emergency Action Plan (CEAP) in July 2020 which sets out an ambitious target to be net zero as a Council by 2030, whilst influencing a wider borough reduction in carbon emissions. Hounslow has seen emissions reduced by 55.9 kilotonnes of CO2 since 2017, while recycling rates have also increased from 29.9% to 35.3%.

The Councils Clean Air For All Programme will see further investment being targeted at improving the boroughs air quality over the next two years from upgrading the existing monitoring equipment, installing new air pollutant monitors and undertaking air pollution audits in and around school buildings with the aim to reduce young people’s exposure to toxic levels of air pollution.

Building on established council work such as Streetspace, School Streets and the behavioural insights project led by our Public Health team, the Clean Air for All programme will improve local air quality and encourage a shift to more sustainable modes of transport.

Outside of school and term times, Hounslow pupils and their families can also join in environment action together through joining the Council’s Environmental Champions programme, or for under 18s the Eco-Agents scheme.

Cllr Guy Lambert, Hounslow Council Cabinet Member for Highways, Recycling and Companies said: “I’m delighted we’re launching the Eco-Schools programme and encourage all Hounslow schools to get involved. I remember when my daughter, who is now a teacher in the borough herself, came home aged about 6 and instructed us how to recycle – a habit I have now retained for 25 years.

“It was very powerful to be educated by her - children can have a big influence on their parents and a massive impact on the environmental challenges that blight all of our lives from litter to the climate emergency. The more children and young people are engaged with these matters, the more they will drive change.” 

Cllr Katherine Dunne, Hounslow Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Climate Emergency said: “There are many things councils and residents can do to reduce their carbon footprint, and my hope is that children who take part in the Eco-Schools programme will lead from the front in tackling the climate emergency. Eco-Schools is a fun programme but with a serious message. We need children to take home what they learn at school and encourage their families to recycle, choose sustainable transport and think about all of the measures and choices they can take to reduce their household’s carbon footprint.”

The Eco-Schools programme will focus on environmental actions covering ten topics: Marine, Biodiversity, Energy, Litter, Waste, Transport, Water, School Grounds, Healthy Living and Global Citizenship. Hounslow has created activity guides, which have already been distributed to schools, for each of the ten topics to support action by teachers and pupils.

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