From Eco-School Committee to environmental charity
A blog post by Anna Ireland
- Tackling the litter emergency to protect our wild isles
- Scotland isn't looking so beautiful. We can change that.
- Get to know... Green Flag Award Judges
- Collaboration and innovation to tackle marine litter
- An introduction to Kinnesswood in Bloom...
- The litter emergency
- Our charity faces the environmental challenges ahead with optimism
- Wrapping up 2022
- Biodiversity - Reflections on COP15
- Small steps to protect biodiversity
- Why Mountains Matter
- It’s not just bees and butterflies on your flowers
- Wet Wipes - What's the Issue?
- Young Reporters on the Route: The Launch of Running Out of Time
- Getting to know... Tom Brock OBE
- Getting to know...Kyle Usher
- A busy day for Upstream Battle education
- Planning a Wedding with the Planet in Mind
- 'Disposable' vapes and the damage they cause
- Climate Emergency Training provides positive opportunities for young people
- Making climate action possible for everyone
- Reasons to be positive
- Shotts is ACTing NOW on climate change
- Hope is a Garden
- Do we need the word 'pests' anymore?
- Beautiful Scotland judging - the truth
- Supporting Scotland to be the very greenest destination it can be
- Arbroath - working together, inspiring local climate action and improving lives
- Reflections of a beach manager
- I do like to be beside the seaside
- Climate Action Schools - helping young people take action
- Inspiring and empowering young people
- Climate Ready Classrooms at George Heriot's
- Data drives decisions
- Litter, fines and doing time
- Why our Web Developer Cameron loves being part of Team KSB
- It's only one
- Why join the family of It’s Your Neighbourhood?
- YoungScot Legacy Event
- Why it is the sea and SDG 14 for me
- Litter picking - a surprisingly fun group activity
- Climate Action Skills and positive action for all
- Seeing community groups thrive with Beautiful Scotland and It's Your Neighbourhood
- (What to do on) a dreich morning on the Firth of Clyde
- West Lothian Litter Pickers – How I got involved
- Scotland’s Climate Festival – Seed funding for community action
- Climate Ready Classrooms at St. Paul’s RC High School
- Scottish Book Trust representative joins Pocket Garden judging panel
- Have #YourSayOnLitter - we plan to...
- Everyone has something to say about litter – time to make it count
- Who ya gonna call?
- Why I pick up other people's garbage.
- Getting to Know...Colin
- Creative Careers: Spotlight on Heritage #NoWrongPath
- Celebrating Scotland’s best managed green and blue spaces
- Taking small steps towards a more sustainable future
- Caring for our planet
- Football’s Power to Combat Climate Change
- Our work on the COP26 Youth Climate Programme
- What’s litter got to do with climate change?
- Scotland’s Climate Festival kicks off in Falkirk
- Responsible Tourism – an opportunity not to be missed
- Climate Change Vlog by Dalry Primary School
- Failing our future?
- Our Week of Climate Action
- #ScotClimateWeek - our impacts and actions
- Protecting the sand and sea
- Another fine mess – part one
- Designing a lower carbon Scotland
- Getting to know... Lisa Snedden
- Combating climate change with information, education and training
- Litter picking 500 miles was always Gonna Be easy
- 7K for 7 Flags Challenge
- Littering less at St Joseph's Primary School in Glasgow
- Smashing litter picking targets during an unexpected stay in Scotland
- Keeping our communities beautiful
- Celebrating our brilliant volunteers
- Designing a pocket garden
- Getting to know... Nicola Smith
- East Haven Together
- It’s time to litter-ly turn anger into action
- Working in partnership to give communities a helping hand to clean up Scotland
- Why Beautiful Scotland is important to Lauder in Bloom
- We can all be climate ready
- Climate Ready Classrooms at Speyside High School
- Taking part in It's Your Neighbourhood
- Bags of opportunity for good
- Getting to know... Eve Keepax
- Lucky to live here
- A year of opportunity ahead
- Unmasking a looming litter emergency
- Getting to know... Brian Rae
- A Canal College® journey
- Getting to know.......Lisa Snedden
- Now is the time to change
- Could the Global Goals provide a framework for the green recovery?
- Our incredible Beautiful Scotland and It’s Your Neighbourhood community
- Lockdown litter - a community view
- Looking after beaches
- Time for a more sustainable future, a greener and fairer one for all
- The Origins of George Wyllie's 'Original Earth Guarantee'
- National disgrace of lockdown litter
- The healing power of local places
- Tackling Covid-19 and climate change at a community level
- Amid the Coronavirus crisis the climate emergency has not gone away
- Bringing environmental education home
- #TurdTag – getting creative to tackle dog poo
- Preparing young people to take action on climate change
- Running on community power
- Reconnecting with nature
- Coronavirus isn't an excuse - flytipping is still a crime
- Sowing seeds of hope in our community
- Hope for the environment post-Coronavirus?
- You can’t tackle the climate crisis unless you are climate ready
- Why everyone wins when you take part in Beautiful Scotland
- Entering our third decade with a splash
- Is 2020 the year for a circular economy in Scotland?
- A year in the life of: the campaigns and innovation team
- Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime
- Setting sail: all aboard the partnership
- Free wheeling
- Scotland is thirsty for change
- This #ScotClimateWeek, are you ready to pledge?
- Upstream Battle at Whinhill Primary School
- Elaine Hopley on our Upstream Battle week of action
- 20 September climate strikes: what took place and what happens now?
- Playing our part to reduce cup waste
- The funeral of a glacier: time to pull the emergency brake
- Get your Paws on Plastic
- It’s time to take action to reverse climate change
- Tackling Our Unsustainable Cup Consumption
- Cups hitting the ground: what we learned at TRNSMT Festival
- We All Have To Fight The UpStream Battle
- It's rubbish that people have to clean up after litter bugs
- The power of pocket gardens
- Registering your clean up makes a difference
- Tackling climate change starts at home
- Speaking the language of Carbon Literacy
- Wheatley Group: two years on and still going strong
- Roadside Litter: Think twice before you chuck
- Our citizen scientists are ready to make waves for Upstream Battle
- Taking a stand on climate change – what actions will you take?
- The Cup Movement will tackle our litter culture head on
- Working across borders to tackle climate change
- Celebrating 25 years of Eco-Schools in Scotland
- Climate change – it’s personal
- Putting young people first for our environment at Keep Scotland Beautiful
- Treading lightly – steps to lower our carbon footprint
- Aunty Babs washes her spoon and so should you
- Climate change: we can all do our bit
- Have yourself a green Christmas
- Shifting up a gear on Scotland’s roadside litter problem
- It’s time to consign our litter problem to the dustbin of history
- We can save our seas by starting at home
This year we are celebrating our 20th birthday with a series of blogs reflecting on the range of our activites over the last two decades.
It began as it always does: with bins.
The noise in the assembly room swelled as the teacher tried to silence hundreds of eight-year-olds sniggering at the mention of the ‘B’ word.
‘Now, it’s important we understand why we should recycle’ she said, pointing to the green bin to her left. ‘Our planet is a delicate balance of elements and we, as humans, have the power to upset this balance by using too much of what is available to us. Recycling can help us restore that balance.’
Squint and you’d catch sight of a small girl, with huge, blonde curly hair, eyes shining at the back.
My hand was the first to shoot up when we were told about the ‘Eco-Committee,’ a team of pupils that would encourage our school to look after our planet whilst working towards something known as the Eco-Schools ‘Green Flag Award’. I came home to my parents, gushing about the need to urgently organise our bins. Tired from work and the world, they were less enthusiastic.
Making the connection between my home and the wider world was a big concept for a small child, exacerbated by the realisation that the things I did, consumed and played with daily could either destroy or preserve this world around me. I was appointed Eco representative of my class following an impassioned speech about our role as guardians, not owners, of our planet.
We worked on our Eco-Committee to inform fellow students and change their behaviour, understanding that children’s enthusiasm could ripple outward to shift entrenched familial habits. Not only this, feeling that young minds could continue sustainable habits into adulthood.
By giving us individual responsibilities at a young age – attending a meeting, reporting back to class, responding to questions – we began to understand the time, effort and concentration required in fighting for our planet. We were taught the Eco-Schools ‘topics’ on sustainability, biodiversity and litter, before the power was placed in our hands, respecting and valuing the opinions we presented and gathering our suggested actions. I loved it.
Working towards our Green Flag, we felt a sense of purpose in a collective goal. Despite the macro nature of the issue, we were always encouraged to think micro. How did we think we could get our parents to consider recycling? What changes could we make in school to encourage sustainable eating habits? Slowly, we were learning that the big world around us could change if we moved the needle in our tiny compasses. And, crucially, we had to work together (even if Kim’s mum hated recycling and David’s dad thought climate change was a myth).
As a team, we began to build something special. Arguably, the fire that sparked this small Eco-Committee in Glasgow epitomises the fuel of today’s youth-led environmental movement. I’m certain that some fellow Scottish climate strikers would be Eco-Committee alumni.
This feeling – the burning desire to work with a team to inform and encourage action – has never wavered. Only, as an adult, I channelled it into my work with environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful, sharing stories and information about community projects, climate action and behaviour change campaigns.
Encouraging behaviour change is at the heart of what the charity does, but we know that this does not come without people feeling connected to their own environment. I was lucky as a young person to be given the confidence to believe in my ability to protect and influence the environment around me.
I can directly track the sense of possibility I experienced on our Eco-Committee to where I am now. My passion for the planet was validated by the tools I was given to protect it. It’s a toolkit I will reach for throughout my life.