Ogonnelloe National School bright sparks promote energy efficiency

Two Clare primary schools recently competed in the SEAI ‘One Good Idea’ national final. Presenting their idea, ‘Sustainable Eaters’, pupils from Ogonnelloe National School highlighted the importance of teamwork and community involvement in a bid to promote energy-saving initiatives and ideas to address climate change. Joining them were those from Scoil Chriost Ri in Ennis. David Byrne found out more.

Tara Murnane, Ruby McKenna, Ava O'Brien, Emer Barry (Education Programme Executive, SEAI), Isabel Delaney, Daniel Weir and Fionn McKeogh

STUDENTS from Ogonnelloe National School have showcased the power of ‘One Good Idea’ in a bid to promote energy efficiency and address climate change. 

Reaching the national final of the SEAI ‘One Good Idea’ competition, the East Clare pupils joined forces with 20 other finalists, including Scoil Chríost Rí in Ennis, after being recognised for their innovative idea.

The children in Ogonnelloe originally put forward the idea of having a meat free day once a week to cut down on meat intake in a bid to save more energy and help combat climate change before making the competition’s final in Dublin Castle.

Their project, ‘Sustainable Eaters’, carried out extensive research into how human behaviour and eating habits impact climate change. 

Initially, the school’s idea was selected for the second round of the competition where the initiative was shortlisted for the top 40 schools in Ireland, when the project was given the official go-ahead.

Following this, Ogonnelloe National School hosted a meal tasting day in the local community hall with the aim to promoting meal alternatives to meat and to encourage the local community to get  involved with their project.

Congratulating the finalists, including Ogonnelloe NS and Scoil Chríost Rí, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Burton TD (FG) praised those in attendance for their efforts.

“It’s fantastic to see the passion and enthusiasm these students have shown in raising awareness of the critical issues facing this generation,” he said.

“All of those who have taken part have encouraged their classmates, teachers, families and communities to make positive changes and that is an achievement that they can all be proud of.

“There changes will make a real difference in their local community,” added Minister Bruton. 

The students from Ogonnelloe started their campaign to educate people about the amount of energy used in the production of meat and provide alternative ways for people to be more sustainable.

The innovative initiative oversaw the launch of a ‘Meat Free Wednesday’ in the East Clare primary school followed by a full meat day once a week for six weeks in the local community centre. 

The ‘Sustainable Easters’ group also set up a meal tasting day where locals were given the opportunity to taste meat-free meals and were given a simple and fun meat-free recipes.

The SEAI ‘One Good Idea’ competition encourages students to create innovative campaigns that can make a big difference to how society uses energy. 

Pictured (from left) with Emer Barry (Education Programme Executive, SEAI) are Scoil Chriost students Sean Franks, Sam Shonibare, Mellissa Milford and Annabel McDonagh.

Both Clare schools joined forces with over 200 campaigns this year, adding to the 8,000 students from around the country who have been involved in making energy changing efforts over the last eleven years of the competition.

Speaking at the final, SEAI chief executive, Jim Gannon said that the initiative showcases the determination of Ireland’s young people to contribute to a sustainable future.

“SEAI One Good Idea empowers our young people, encourages leadership and gives them a chance to have their voice heard in the national conversation we are having around climate change,” he said.

“I’d like to thank the teachers who got their students involved in this important campaign.

“Young people learn by example, and you are setting a great example for our younger generation,” added Mr Gannon. 

Students from including Scoil Chríost Rí entered a team known as the ‘Bath vs Shower: The Great Debate’ in a bid to encourage people to save energy by being mindful of water wastage. 

Following a survey, the Ennis pupils came up with the slogan ‘Wash and Go, Stop the Flow’, showcasing the significant water consumption when comparing the use of a shower compared to a bath. 

A total of six awards were presented across three categories on the night, with Beech Hill College being announced as the competition’s overall winner for the ‘Practical Plastics’ project.

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