23 May 2019

Elaine Nevin, National Director for ECO UNESCO said, “Climate change is the defining issue of our generation and there is a need for urgent action to reduce global warming. ECO UNESCO, Ireland’s environmental youth organisation, has been engaging, educating and empowering young people to take action on environmental issues of concern to them for over 30 years and young people involved in our programmes over the years are concerned about environmental degradation, including biodiversity loss, overconsumption and climate change. As educators, we have worked to build their awareness, confidence and self-esteem so that they can make choices and take an active role in society.”


This is the 20th Anniversary of the ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards; since 1986 ECO-UNESCO has seen over 300,000 young people across Ireland take environmental action since the organisation first opened its doors.


Nevin added, “At ECO-UNESCO, we have seen just how passionate young people are about environmental action through our Young Environmental Awards, which annually sees more than 4,000 young people take action and make a difference to our environment.”


This year’s winners of YEA 2019 awards are;

Ashbourne Community College “Be the Change” was announced as the Overall Senior Winner. The group had been working on a project that focussed which focused on the plastic pollution crisis currently facing our planet. The group developed a range of different artistic media to highlight this global threat to our environment, raising awareness on a local, national and global scale. including a plastic whale made from discarded plastic. 


Colaiste Muire Secondary School "Being Part of the Solution Not Part of the Problem" from Clare was named as Overall Junior Winner.  The young people’s project was focused on increasing Biodiversity in their school and the wider community and tried to reduce the impact humans have on the environment.


The overall winner of the special Super Junior Category for aged 8-10 was Evan, Alex and Dylan's Tralee Canal Clean Up from Kerry. The siblings project was to remove plastic from the Tralee canal and bay and to protect the wildlife and environment. The group pulled close to 250 bags of rubbish out of the area including mattresses, tv’s, fridges and chairs. The project led to funding for a Seabin and assistance cleaning the hard to reach areas in the area. Evan has Cystic Fibrosis and CF Ireland have asked if they would all be CF ambassadors for 2019. In the words of the brothers "The project shows that CF doesn’t defy Evan or stop him from doing what he wants in life. "


Mary Robinson, who lent her support and encouragement to the young people at the awards, which is Ireland’s biggest celebration of national youth ECO-Action, said, “As far as I’m concerned, everyone who takes part is a winner because they’ve taken real action for the Sustainable Development Goals, namely Climate Action, Life Below Water and Life on Land. It’s great that young people are giving such leadership. They’re really beginning to change how we see this huge problem that is facing us and are telling us, the grown-ups, that we have not done enough. Please continue and keep the pressure up.”