Ethical energy provider Co-operative Energy has launched an innovative environmental education project designed to help school students increase their awareness of climate change and sustainability.
Co-operative Energy is part of Warwick-based Midcounties Co-operative, which has had a successful partnership with The Outward Bound Trust for over 10 years. The project, called ‘Green Energy Pioneers’ is a new pilot programme for Autumn 2013 and provides 12 year nine students from Walsall Academy with the opportunity to realise their full potential through adventurous experiences and teach them how to make positive changes in the world.
The project includes a five day teams and leadership development course designed to foster co-operative core values. There will also be strong emphasis on environmental learning with themes of energy, eco and sustainability.
It is hoped the young people participating in the project will increase their awareness of the wider environment and the part they play in it and also be encouraged to take responsibility for their actions.
David Darlaston, Co-operative Ambassador for the Green Energy Pioneers programme, said: “Over the years, we have enabled hundreds of young people from local schools to experience challenging and adventurous programmes at The Outward Bound Trust, building confidence, raising aspirations and having a once in a lifetime experience. This new pilot project focuses more on environmental matters and allows young people to try a variety of new experiences including exploring issues of climate change and sustainability, making positive choices to live more sustainably, developing an appreciation and respect for other people and the natural world, and putting into place an action plan for a greener life at school, at home and in their communities.”
The pilot will also see the pupils complete the John Muir Trust Discovery Award. John Muir was the Scottish born American credited with establishing National Parks in America and regarded as the father of conservationism in the US.
Added David: “The young people chosen for the pilot were selected by Walsall Academy. The selection criteria was based on mixed ability, background, gender and ethnicity to accurately reflect the communities in which we trade and the variety of consumers we support.
“Whilst we recognise that eco initiatives for young people are nothing new, this course is a first in that it will encourage greater understanding not just of the environment but of the types of energy resources that are available and the benefits and drawbacks that each energy source provides. We’re confident that this pilot will be a resounding success which will be demonstrated by the resulting positive changes in attitude of the pupils to energy and its source and use. The programme will also provide an understanding and awareness of careers in the sustainable and renewable energy sector.”
Jon Clarke, senior deputy head at Walsall Academy said: “Walsall Academy is very excited about working with Co-operative Energy to develop young people through the Green Energy Pioneers programme investigating how we can become more responsible citizens in an energy problematic world.”
Annette Cameron, Corporate Partnerships Manager, The Outward Bound Trust said: “This is a significant development in the partnership between Midcounties Co-operative and The Outward Bound Trust and shows their commitment to investing in the community and highlights the importance of instilling environmental awareness in young people. We’re delighted to be a partner in this exciting pilot programme.”
Based on the success of the Green Energy Pioneers programme, the intention is to run two further programmes in Spring and Autumn 2014 engaging 24 students on each course.