Green Cities Fit for Life

Image by Jean-Dominique Billaud

St. Joseph’s College, Athlone, Worm Their Way to First Place at the ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Award 2012

30th May 2012

The final of this year’s ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Award was held on Tuesday the 8th of May in the Mansion House in Dublin City.  ECO-UNESCO is Ireland’s environmental education and youth organisation affiliated to the World Federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Associations (WFUCA). The award was devised in order to encourage young people to conserve, protect, and educate their community and is open to any group of people aged between 10-18 years. The projects tackle key environmental issues such as climate change, energy, waste, biodiversity, transport and more. The award has been running for 13 years and this year over 4,000 young people participated this year.

Over 600 young people gathered at the award ceremony to see which of the 60 finalists would be awarded Young Environmentalist of the year. The day was hosted by Stephen Byrne, RTÉ presenter and was attended by Frances Fitzgerald, Minister for Children Youth Affairs and Andrew Montague, Lord Mayor of Dublin. The judging panelists had a very difficult decision this year as the National Director of ECO-UNESCO, Elaine Nevin, commented on the high standard of creative and innovative projects.

Green teens from St. Josephs College, Athlone were crowned the 2012 Overall Senior ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalists of the year for their ‘Wormery Works’ project

Prior to the award ceremony, the public were invited to an exhibition of the finalist’s projects and to participate in ECO-UNESCO workshops on recycling, share their ideas and opinions on the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development and were entertained by inspiring youth performances.

Overall Junior Award scooped by teens from Our Lady & St. Patrick’s College, Belfast for the ‘The Big Tidy Up,’ at the 13th annual ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Finalists Showcase and Awards Ceremony held in the Round Room of the Mansion House, in Dublin on 8th May.


Michael D. Higgns, President of Ireland said about the event “It is heartening to witness the levels of interest and passion exhibited by so many young people in the future of the environment that we all share. This is an area of tremendous importance and it is reassuring that the motivators and leaders of tomorrow have such a collaborative ethos and have displayed such energy and innovation”.

The overall winner for the senior Young Environmentalist Award was given to St. Joseph’s College, Athlone.  There project was titled ‘Wormey Works’ and involved a successful awareness campaign which resulted in reduced waste in their school and a supply of compost for their organic garden. The winner of the junior award was a group of teens from Our Lady & St. Patrick’s College, Belfast for the ‘The Big Tidy Up’. Their anti-litter campaign became global when they linked up with schools in Croatia and Washington.

20 other groups were also presented with awards in various categories including Biodiversity, Water, ECO-Community Development, ECO-Enterprise, ECO-Art and Design and Climate Change. Special Awards were presented to ECO-UNESCO Clubs, to Super junior groups (10-12yrs), to ECO-Leaders (teachers & youth leaders) and to youth and community organisations through the ECO-Sustainability Award.

Young people will be the next policy makers, developers, consumers and citizens of green cities so their education and involvement will ensure the long term success of sustainable development. A city’s dedication to ongoing sustainable living is one of the key qualities assessed by the European Green Capital Award panel, so education is essential.

To find out more about the UN-ESCO Young Environmentalist Award click here

For more information on the 2012 European Green Capital click here

For more information on the European Green Capital Award click here