AIS4CA: Downpatrick Schools Shut Down Stormont Lights for Earth Hour

AIS4CA: Downpatrick Schools Shut Down Stormont Lights for Earth Hour

Wed 13 Apr 2022 by Andrew McAnallen

STORMONT ESTATE – On the evening of 26th March 2022 Parliament Buildings at Stormont took part in a global campaign, Earth Hour, where public buildings in 190 countries across the world switch-off lights for one hour, in a powerful and symbolic display of global solidarity and awareness-raising, expressing a world-wide need to reduce our carbon footprint.

The decision to join the global campaign was influenced by two Downpatrick schools, Down High School and St. Patrick’s Grammar School, who penned a letter to South Down MLA Colin McGrath and Cllr Harry Harvey, urging them to take part.  In the letter, teachers Ms C McEvoy (St. Patrick’s Grammar School) and Mr K Williamson (Down High School) wrote:

“This campaign very much about spontaneous grassroots volunteers and young people working with public representatives to become a catalyst for positive environmental impact and driving major legislative change.”

Ms C McEvoy (St. Patrick’s Grammar School, Downpatrick, and Mr K Williamson (Down High School)

The schools are 2 of 12 founding partner schools of Co-operation Ireland’s All-island Schools 4 Climate Action programme.  This social action campaign was delivered as part of the programme, which is aimed at enhancing environmental education through schools across the island, while at the same time fostering cross-border collaboration.  The Downpatrick schools are partnered with schools from Galway and Rochfortbridge in the Republic of Ireland, whom they already started sharing their social action experiences with.

Prior to initiating the campaign, students engaged in environmental science lessons, on the Alison.com learning empowerment platform, which included course assessments and teacher training webinars.  Upon completion of the courses, students will receive a certificate to recognise their participation in the overall programme.

In the hours leading up to the Earth Hour switch-off, the schools joined forces on the streets on Downpatrick, for a litter-pick social action – the first shared education initiative for both schools since the beginning of the pandemic.

In total the students collected over 30 bags of litter from across Downpatrick town, starting at Down Cathedral, walking through the town centre, up to Gallows Hill at the top of the town, where students from both schools were treated to a BBQ and musical perfomance at St. Patrick’s Grammar School.

To find out more about the All-island Schools 4 Climate Action, visit: https://alison.com/schools4ca