The ClimACT initiative, funded by the European Commission under the Interreg SUDOE programme, seeks to advance the transition towards a low carbon economy. Its focus is on the research and application of measures that can transform education institutions and their practices. Ultimately, the initiative is looking to reduce the carbon footprint of education, address climate change and thus make a contribution to commitments made in the UN Paris Accord.
The initiative is led locally by the University of Gibraltar and developed in practice with HM GoG Department of Education (DOE) and the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Climate Change (DECC). The Gibraltar delegates travelled to the University of La Rochelle, France on the 29th and 30th of June to attend a progress meeting that brought together nine partner institutions from Gibraltar, France, Portugal and Spain.
The Gibraltar partnership presented its work on the project to date outlining its two track approach. The DECC has been conducting on-site environmental audits in local schools, assessing schools’ performance in parameters related to energy, water usage, comfort and indoor air quality, waste management, transport patterns, green spaces and green procurement practices. In parallel, a working group of educators from Gibraltar’s First, Middle and Secondary schools has been convened by the University of Gibraltar, with the objective of identifying educational activities and methodologies that can make use of the data collected by DECC to raise environmental awareness, engagement and transform practice. This education for sustainability strand was of great interest to international partners.
The ClimACT meeting also provided the opportunity of exchanging experience with French counterparts. Local institutions welcomed Kevin Wahnon (St Bernard’s First School) and Amaia Fernandez (University of Gibraltar) and offered them the chance to visit a local first school, which is well-known for their efforts to embed education for sustainable development into the school curriculum. Gibraltar delegates also visited an eco-friendly garden that provides hands-on educational activities to schools that wish to put into practice lessons learnt in the classroom. The visit ended by attending a board games display in sustainable water management for Higher Education students at the University of La Rochelle.