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Clean Air Week 2020 & Poetry Competition

November 23, 2020 - November 27, 2020
| Free

CLEAN AIR WEEK COMPETITION UPDATE: We will be publishing names of the winning poets in the New Year, owing to a large volume of entries. Thank you to all of the schools that entered the competition; there are a lot of talented poets out there! 

Green-Schools Travel are delighted to announce the second annual Clean Air Week which runs from Monday, November 23 to Friday, November 27 inclusive.

The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of air pollution and to take action to reduce air pollution at the school gate. Students can make a pledge to #BeatAirPollution by asking – Is there a ‘clean air’ alternative to making this journey by car? Can I walk or cycle? We understand that current restrictions are impacting public transport use and that carpooling may not be possible.

Coordinators will find information and activities in the online No Idling Toolkit and the Air Quality resource to help them launch a clean air-focused campaign during Clean Air Week.

Why are we focusing on air pollution?

Nitrogen oxides – or NOx – are the gases nitrogen oxide (NO2) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Both of these pollutants are emitted when petrol or diesel is burned in internal combustion engines (cars/buses/taxis). NO2 has a negative impact on our health with 1 in 5 children experiencing asthma at some stage, and the main source of NO2 in Ireland is from road transport.

What are we looking for?

Schools big and small, rural and urban, primary, secondary and education centres to make a pledge to #BeatAirPollution. This can be done by increasing active travel such as walking, cycling and scooting, using sustainable travel modes or starting an Air Pollution Campaign of your own.  Share your initiatives with us by using the hashtag #BeatAirPollution and tag us @GreenSchoolsIre on social media.


Posters are on their way to all schools currently working on the Travel and Global Citizenship Travel themes. Check back soon to download a copy to display in your school.

My Promise, Sasha Terfous

For Clean Air Week 2020, Green-Schools commissioned spoken word artist Sasha Terfous to celebrate the work of students and schools and to inspire entries to the inaugural Clean Air Week Poetry Competition (details below). Sasha’s work, My Promise is available to watch below and will be shared on our social media channels throughout Clean Air Week to motivate students around Ireland as they contemplate how air quality impacts their lives and its greater environmental implications.

Poetry Competition

Green-Schools is excited to announce a Poetry Competition as part of this year’s Clean Air Week. The competition hopes to engage both primary and secondary school students in some creative writing in the general theme of sustainable forms of transport.

We have seen a huge increase in walking and cycling this year in our cities, towns and villages and we would like to celebrate this while encouraging others to try walking and cycling.

Primary Schools

The theme for the competition chosen for Primary Schools focuses on the journey to school. We would love to hear students’ voices and their reflection on travelling to school. To help with this task we have thought of three ideas that could serve as an inspiration for their poetry:

  • Mindful Walking (to or from school): What do I see? What do I hear? What do I smell? What do feel? What do I think?
  • School Odyssey: Journey to school as a hero’s journey
  • Nature’s perspective: What could nature, animals, insects think of us and the way we travel to school

Secondary Schools

We invite Secondary Schools’ students to focus on spoken word piece that touches on different aspects of the following Sustainable Development Goals and personal reflection on their journey to school:

  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • Climate Action
  • Reduced Inequalities

The competition will be officially launched during the Green-Schools Travel Conference on November 18 by spoken word artist Sasha Terfous. At the [online] conference students will have a chance to participate in a short workshop to inspire some creative writing.

Submission Information

The deadline for submissions is December 11, 2020. Submissions can be in a form of a written word in English or Irish, but can also take the form of a short video or audio clips – particularly for the spoken word entries. Please email entries to travelevents@eeu.antaisce.org and include the name, class group, age and Green-Schools Coordinator details with each entry. Winners will be announced before the beginning of the Christmas break. The winning primary student and secondary school student will receive a computer tablet and other runners-up prizes will include Green-Schools walking and cycling accessories like rechargeable bike lights, GS Snoods and more.

Please read the terms and conditions of entry to our Poetry Competition here

To motivate and inspire, here is a poem from a previous competition by Claire Roche (age 9) from Gurraneasig, Co. Cork:

I walk to school each day in the sun or in the rain,

I hear the school bell ring while I idle down the lane.

I see cows in the meadow, I hear the moo and moan,

The sky is melting multi-coloured grey and blue tones.

I breathe the clean air, I whistle and hum,

The nearby waves are beating like a drum.


I’m getting closer now, I see the cars in the traffic jam,

Children sitting in the back seats like the sardines in a can.

I no longer smell the fresh sea breeze,

The air is dirty now and makes me wheeze.

With sleep in their eyes some children plod along.

But I’m wide awake, fresh, healthy and strong.

Twitter Pledges to download and share

Instagram Pledges to download and share



November 23, 2020
November 27, 2020


Green-Schools Travel