An Taisce’s Environmental Education Unit announced twelve Climate Ambassador Awards for Outstanding Achievements on Thursday 25th November, 2021. The awards are an annual opportunity for Climate Ambassadors to connect and reflect, to recognise and celebrate their fantastic achievements. Initially due to take place in Dublin, the ceremony shifted online due to current covid precautions.
Cork nabbed a whopping Five of the Awards, going to UCC students Sophie O’Callaghan and Sarah Bryant, the brains behind Irish Mammy Goes Green and Kinsale lady, Carmel Wright, one third of the fabulous Bog Standard Film Project, Patricia Dino, and the incredible youth activist Theresa Rose Sebastian from Mount Mercy College.
Sophie and Patricia worked together on the beautiful Bog Standard Film Project. Sarah organised a Tree Week collaboration between UCC Dance, Green Campus and Reforest Nation. Carmel took her voice to social media with engaging and often hilarious sustainability tips every single day. Theresa used her powerful voice to advocate for climate justice, youth empowerment, equality and education.
193 citizens from a wide range of backgrounds including secondary school students and teachers, university students, lecturers, parents, farmers and businesspeople were all selected to be Climate Ambassadors in 2021. The programme, now in its fourth year, has gone from strength-to-strength with Climate Ambassadors gaining key skills and confidence to take local action and inspire others to join them on their sustainable journey.
The Climate Ambassadors collectively completed 731 climate actions, ranging from rewilding areas and planting trees to hosting meat-free and slow fashion events, with a staggering 651,000 people directly engaged. Individuals also completed an incredible 1,727 communications, such as climate conversations and talks, sharing their passion and knowledge through storytelling on social and traditional media, as well as using art through various mediums to communicate and connect. All of this amounted to an astronomical 35 million people reached in 2021.
Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan T.D., acknowledged the commitment of all Climate Ambassadors and their valuable work in communities, colleges and schools across Ireland, “Climate Ambassadors are taking practical actions and inspiring others. Through their actions and communications, they demonstrate an extraordinary depth and diversity of knowledge and experience in their chosen areas. Change is happening, to give hope - thank you to the Climate Ambassadors for giving us that”.
Starting in January, the programme delivered online training as well as some in-person workshops when possible, amounting to 79 events in 2021. Climate Ambassadors are provided with tools on climate science, solutions, action and communications, but more importantly, they become part of a powerful network of committed individuals. These people are fantastic at sharing their knowledge, learning from each other, and building relationships. Throughout the year they are asked to undertake four key actions – two climate communications and two climate actions, though many individuals go over and above what is required.
The awards truly are a celebration of the hard work that has taken place over the last year and the enormous effort and dedication that the Climate Ambassadors have shown throughout the process. To mark this, each Climate Ambassador that completed the programme received a certificate of recognition and some sustainability essentials. In addition, twelve Outstanding Achievement Awards were presented to Climate Ambassadors based on the work they have carried out this year.