Monday, April 4, 2022: The Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Gillian Coughlan was the guest of honour today at a ceremony for 100 students from six Cork schools participating in the Global Children’s ‘Our Future Our Planet’ Designathon. Organised by the Green-Schools Programme, the six schools are the first schools in Ireland taking part in the global initiative, which seeks to introduce students to the concept of design thinking with a focus on climate action and restoration of eco systems.

At today’s ceremony four schools were awarded joint first; second; and third by a jury of their peers for their prototypes which were on display in Cork’s Vertigo Building today. Joint first place went to two class groups from Holy Well NS, Carrigaline; second place was awarded to Schull National School students and Gaelscoil Mhainistir na Corann students were chosen for third place.

The Green-Schools’ Global Citizenship programme has focused on global citizenship education and bringing global aspects into local actions for many years. To strengthen this aspect of the programme’s work Green-Schools is collaborating with Designathon Works, an organisation in the Netherlands, that encourages the development of competency and character quality skills for primary-age children through design thinking and maker education.

The six Cork schools involved in the programme this year are part of an international group of schools under the Global Children’s Designathon programme. Each of the six had a Designathon workshop delivered at their school by Green-Schools and were then inspired to research problems and then: ideate, sketch and create prototypes of their solutions to the extreme complex global problems around ecosystem restoration and climate action.

Speaking at the event, Mayor Coughlan highlighted how “Greta Thunberg started listening to scientists aged eight and now aged 19 is one of the most famous environmental activists in the world.  It is wonderful to witness the participation in the Global Children’s ‘Our Future Our Planet’ Designathon because it is your future planet and all of us adults need your passion to influence us to change our behaviours and in turn become better global citizens.”

Dr. Michael John O’Mahony is the Director of An Taisce’s Environmental Education Unit: “It is fantastic to witness the fruits of the Designathon process here today with this group of students and their teachers. Rather than just tell them what the problems are, this process has given the students the tools to create real solutions and they have given us real prototypes here today, solutions that could someday very soon help our climate and our ecosystems.”

The schools participating in today’s event are: Muinefliuch NS; Gaelscoil Mhainistir na Corann; Scoil Mhichíl Naofa, Bere Island; Schull NS; Holy Well NS, Carrigaline and Scoil Chlochair Mhuire.