Eco-Schools teach eco-citizenship

February 27, 2008

Eco-Schools is an international programme for schools, for environmental management and certification, and sustainable development education.

It started as a European programme in 1994 to involve young people in finding solutions to environmental and sustainable development challenges at the local level, as identified at the UN Conference on Environment and Development – Earth Summit – of 1992.

Apparently some 40,000 schools are now involved internationally!

Eco-Schools logo

The Eco-Schools programme is an example of how local communities can act to support Local Agenda 21, resulting in tangible environmental benefits. School students participate in both activities and decision-making, developing skills for and a sense of value in citizenship, and building community links with local authorities, organisations, businesses, and pupils´ families.

The programme is adaptable to local circumstances, whether incorporating the initial focusses of Water, Energy and Waste, or other thematic areas such as Noise, Nature and Biological Diversity, Healthy Living or Transport. In Africa, for example,

Eco-Schools can be an instrument for education on health and sanitation, community-based natural resource management, as well as an incubator for local-level microprojects leading to income generation for the school and training for young people in sustainable, natural-resource based trades.

The Eco-Schools programme is recognised by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as among its “preferred school-based / children and youth global model programmes for environmental education, management, sustainability and certification at the international level”.

Eco-Schools 7 steps

There’s a seven-point action plan to implement, which involves students throughout.

The Eco-Schools Programme – like the FEE’s Blue Flag Programme – runs nationally in many countries. Again, in the UK different bodies run the Programme in different regions: for England and Northern Ireland there’s EnCams (Environmental Campaigns), for Scotland Keep Scotland Beautiful, and for Wales Keep Wales Tidy – and the Welsh body works with An Taisce (The National Trust for Ireland) in the Republic of Ireland.

Eco-Schools Green FlagIn the UK, participation in the Eco-Schools Programme can lead to gaining a Green Flag Award. But note… this is a different Green Flag to the Green Flag the Eco-Schools Programme awards (as shown here)! Of course, you can always have both flags. 🙂

For the UK there is an informative, dedicated Eco-Schools website.

Eco-Schools is run by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and supported by the European Commission.

This entry is part of the Infomancy Eco-Symbols Series.

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