Eco Schools was set up in 1994, as a response to the UN Rio Earth Summit of 1992. It aims to give children and teenagers an environmental voice. Practically, in the UK it is managed by ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ who oversee a set of awards that schools can work towards and show their green credentials. So far, they are over 18,600 schools registered in the UK and I chatted to some pupils from Allens Croft Primary School in Kings Heath (who currently have their bronze award and are working towards their silver) about their Eco Council, where pupils who wanted to be on the council had to write a letter explaining why and they was a school vote.
CP: What is the Eco Council?
EC: we are ambassadors to the school, we tell people what is going on and how they can get involved.
CP: Why did you join the Eco Council?
EC: I like helping the environment, I like plants and trees, I wanted to do something interesting and my friends wanted to be involved too. We have made friends by being part of it.
CP: What have you done so far?
EC: We have already gained the bronze award by doing a green audit of the school and persuading (mainly teachers!) to turn off electrical equipment at night, turn off taps and recycle better. We also made a plan to make our school more environmentally friendly. We also planted vegetables and then cooked and ate it as part of an after school gardening club (this was the best bit!). Another thing we did was arrange a watering patrol for the trees that the whole school planted so they could survive in the really hot weather.
CP: What success have you had?
EC: Growing the food was a big success. We also entered the ‘Meal in a Barrow’ competition that was held at Gardener’s World and we came 7th !
CP: What would you like for the future of the Eco Council?
EC: we would like it to grow, to see more pupils involved, mainly for it to carry on and get bigger!
If you would like more information about Eco Schools, go to: www.eco-schools.org.uk