Next generation will have a lower carbon footprint

The next generation will have less impact on the planet, with lower carbon footprints detected among teenagers in Cork.

A group of second-level students from Schull Community College are working to raise carbon footprint awareness among their peers. Their research shows an average annual carbon footprint of 13.4 tonnes, while the average Irish adult uses 17.5 tonnes.

The group, Emissions Eliminators, have qualified as finalists at the “One Good Idea” competition, run by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, which takes place in Dublin today.

Their survey of a primary school revealed 85% of 10-year-olds did not understand what a carbon footprint was. They set about devising fun methods to inform them.

“We wrote and recorded a song, devised puppet shows, and played interactive games to teach pupils about how their actions effect the planet,” student Caitlin Harris said.

They conducted interviews and collected statistics through their website, which includes a link to a device that calculates individual carbon footprints.

“It uses details such as the last reading from your electricity bill, how many flights per year you take, the mode of transport you take to school, how much you travel by car, level of recycling and whether or not you buy local foods to calculate emissions,” Caitlin said.

The group are among 20 teams shortlisted for the junior national final today.

“Feedback so far has been really good. We had a test day at the primary school and quizzed them and recorded the results, so already it’s having an effect,” Caitlin said.


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