Climate Action Spotlight: Climate Connections
- Location: Ireland
- Educator: Kate Murray
- School name: St. Augustine’s National School Clontuskert
- Students’ age: 4 to 12
- Amount of students involved: 62 students
When your school receives recognition from your country’s president, you know you’re achieving truly remarkable feats in your community. That is the case for St. Augustine’s National School in the Clontuskert community, Galway, Ireland. Led by their educator, Kate Murray, the students of St. Augustine’s have driven climate action activities and participated in the Climate Action Project since 2015.
One of their projects was to provide a solution to Ireland’s Waste Management Systems. In the spirit of proper stakeholder management, they engaged Richard Bruton, the Minister of Climate Action and Environment at the time. They shared their perspectives with Minster Bruton on the problem of the complexity of understanding waste symbols across Ireland, after which the Minister found a solution and changed the waste symbols to be more understandable. For this, St. Augustine’s National School received letters of support from Irish President Michael D. Higgins, current Minister for Climate Action Eamon Ryan, and the Joint Committee on Education, Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation, and Science.
Individually, St. Augustine’s National School students are also impacting the world around them. Katelyn Culleton, a student of the school, was chosen as a delegate for the National Youth Assembly on climate change. Out of the selected 157 student delegates, she was handpicked to give the opening speech about the environment on live television. This year, another student of St. Augustine’s, Cailín Naughton, represented Ireland at the UNICEF Children’s General Assembly in Bilund in Demark. She was one of the 80 selected students of diverse nationalities between the ages of 11 and 17 years to articulate their opinions on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Clontuskert students have also presented at TAG’s International Climate Action Day with dignitaries like Sir David Attenborough & Dr. Jane Goodall.
To meet its carbon emissions reduction goals, St. Augustine’s National School partnered with Microsoft Ireland, SSE Airtricity, and Active8 to install solar panels on the school’s roof, which currently generates 42% of its electricity. Clontuskert has saved 2,203 kg of carbon by installing these solar panels. Educator Kate Murray shared:
“The international Climate Action Project has connected our small rural school in the west of Ireland with classes and teachers across the world. These collaborations have inspired us to take positive action to help change the future of our country.”
St. Augustine’s National School’s achievements are not just about recognition; they are a testament to the power of education, dedication, and collaboration in addressing climate change. As they continue their journey, they serve as a shining example for schools and communities worldwide, proving that when individuals and institutions come together with a shared purpose, they can make the world a better, more sustainable place for future generations.