352 Barcelona education centres promote environmental projects as part of the More Sustainable Schools programmeToday, the education centres involved in the More Sustainable Schools network held the closing ceremony for the 2017-2018 school year, with the participation of 210 students and 50 teachers from 31 secondary schools. The ceremony symbolises the closure of the educational project for sustainability and improving their immediate environment, which each school carried out throughout the year.
At an event held at the Cotxeres de Sants Civic Centre, Frederic Ximeno, the Commissioner for Ecology, remarked that “this ceremony culminates Sustainability Week, part of a programme full of activities for the general public, helping to rethink our society and find solutions that will improve our quality of life and conserve our environment and resources. The Escoles + Sostenibles [More Sustainable Schools] programme, which has been running for 17 years, is a pioneer in sustainability education”.
Educating with environmental values
The More Sustainable Schools programme promotes environmental projects conceived at Barcelona’s education centres. It first began during the 2001-2002 school year, involving 69 centres, and now there are 352 centres taking part, 61% of which are state-owned schools. This year, 124,700 students and 10,760 teachers have promoted and taken part in the environmental projects carried out in their schools.
As part of the programme, the centres develop their own proposals, associated with their educational projects, their curriculum and education as a whole. The projects concern a wide variety of fields, including the management of energy, water and resources, naturalising playgrounds, sustainable food, the route from home to school, lowering noise levels, responsible consumerism and waste prevention.
The programme’s new features
New features for the school year that is now ending include the beginning of a micro-network (centres that are working on a specific subject and can share their experiences and results with other centres in the network) “Campaigning for safe and sustainable mobility”, with the conviction that pacifying traffic will lead to greater autonomy for children and teenagers while also promoting sustainable mobility.
Eight centres took part in this project, where they learn how to design a communication campaign, with the aim of raising awareness about the importance of safe mobility in the areas surrounding schools.
And for the first time, 10 education centres took part in the Barcelona Energy Saving Marathon, which was conducted at 47 municipal facilities in the city. This is a campaign to raise awareness and encourage good practices in the use and consumption of energy, with the additional aim of allocating any financial savings achieved during the campaign to the fight against energy poverty. The challenge, which lasted a month, consisted of taking measures to reduce the consumption of water, electricity and gas by 10% compared to average consumption over the previous three years.
Specific and shared projects
These new features were completed with the 352 specific projects carried out by each centre, including those aimed at transforming various areas in the centres (playgrounds, classrooms, libraries, dining halls, etc.), building ponds in order to foster biodiversity at the centres and reflecting on the use of resources and consumer habits.
In addition to the specific projects carried out at each centre, there was also networking through the themed micro-networks, which covered the following areas of work and participation:
- Food wastage: 26 centres
- Reducing waste by using reusable food wrappers and containers: 56 centres
- Defining a waste-prevention plan: 21 centres
- Composting: 21 centres
- Noise pollution: 27 centres
- Safe and sustainable mobility: 8 centres
United in taking care of the planet
All of these actions have been completed this year, with the participation of 10 centres in the 4th Catalan “Let’s take care of the planet” Conference, an interactive educational process through which over a hundred young people aged between 13 and 16 have learnt and acted together, with the aim of caring for the planet. And this May, some of the young people who took part in the Catalan conference were also able to attend the European Conference, which was held in Lisbon.
Meanwhile, various schools in the network took part in events related to the environment. These included the Day Without Cars, on 22 September, where 27 network centres took part in city initiatives to show how different things could be without cars.
For further information: www.barcelona.cat/escolessostenibles
More Sustainable Schools
The Escoles + Sostenibles [More Sustainable Schools] programme is part of the Barcelona Citizens Commitment to Sustainability, a networking initiative involving not only the schools, but also civic and local-resident organisations, universities, commercial establishments, companies, professional associations, trade unions and institutions, among others. All of them form the Barcelona + Sostenible [More Sustainable Barcelona] network, which now has over 1,000 member organisations and works towards extending the culture of sustainability throughout the City of Barcelona.
This programme aimed at educational communities has now been running for 17 years, including the school year that is now ending. It encourages them to analyse, find solutions and make commitments in order to create a more sustainable city, starting with their immediate environment: their schools.