A group of Auckland schools are coming up with strategies to help tackle climate change, reduce carbon emissions, and create a more sustainable future for New Zealand.
Thirteen schools from around Auckland are participating in student-led decarbonisation initiatives with the hope the lessons they learn can be shared to support schools across the country.
The Mana Ora | Students Decarbonising Schools programme aims to harness the power and energy of young people to act as influencers and educators – meaning the impact of this project will be seen not only in their schools but within their homes and the wider community.
The programme was launched recently, and Sustainable Schools Team Manager Bridget Glasgow says, “The programme is an opportunity to inspire the young people, and schools involved, to cement their commitment to the project.
“It is exciting to see such enthusiasm and innovation from both students and teachers and we’re looking forward to seeing their projects develop over time.”
Deputy Mayor Desley Simpson says it is a good example of government agencies, Auckland Council and a corporate working together to fund climate change action.
“The students have some innovative ideas and did an outstanding job presenting them. They are a credit to themselves and their schools.
“I am sure the project sponsors are equally inspired and impressed to be supporting such a worthwhile initiative,” adds Councillor Simpson.
The types of projects the students are looking at include how to reduce energy consumption within the school environment, reducing the impact of travel to and from school, and food scrap and garden waste reduction initiatives.
Westpac NZ COO of Institutional Business Banking Chris Durney says, “It is inspirational to hear from the students as they are the future leaders in the drive for sustainability. Not only will these projects contribute to New Zealand’s climate targets, the critical thinking and knowledge gained through this programme will set them up to put pressure on organisations to show more tangible progress.”
The programme runs through until the end of the 2023 academic year and the Sustainable Schools team acknowledge major sponsors Westpac New Zealand, the government Innovation Fund and the Ministry for the Environment for their support to help make the initiative happen.