Streets covered in rubbish and dog dirt, endangered animals, shortages of energy and water, ravaged rainforests and a damaged ozone layer – these are just some of the environmental issues we are all faced with. Some of these problems are harder to sort out than others. Stopping climate change and its consequences – rising sea levels, melting ice caps and droughts in some of the world’s poorest countries – is a daunting task and one that has all of our world leaders, top scientists and environmental experts scratching their heads to find a solution.

Some of these issues might not be specific to Swinton, but whilst we look to our own local environment the Eco-Club is also very interested in the sustainability of our World. The only one we have.
St Mary’s have signed up to the Eco-Schools Programme and our Committee is made up of two children from Years 3-6 with teachers and staff all assisting the group. Eco-Schools is a global programme, that encourages pupils and teachers to come up with fun, eco-friendly projects to help make their school a more pleasant place to be and reduce its impact on the environment. The following are just some of the initiatives that the committee has introduced:

  • Building a nature garden in the school grounds with pond, bird boxes and a wormery
  • Creating a vegetable patch and using the home-grown produce in cookery lessons
  • Organising litter picking in and around the school grounds
  • Walk to School initiative (Currently in its fourth month and improving rates of children using forms of transport other than cars.)
  • Brake Road Safety Campaign
  • Bikeability Lessons
  • Close liaison with the Mayor of Salford in highlighting road traffic issues around our school and community.
  • Links with Greater Manchester Transport

Not only do Eco-Schools have a positive effect on school grounds and neighbouring communities, they also create caring young citizens who think about their impact on the world. Many children and parents think that recycling a piece of paper is a waste of time. But our Eco Committee want to impress on our children that if a school-full of young people who recycle their paper mean that tonnes of trees are saved from the chop and the rainforest and its wildlife are protected.

St Mary’s aim is to recycle over 50% of our waste from paper, plastic milk bottles, ink cartridges to food waste.

Because children are given ownership of the programme they respond with greater enthusiasm and commitment. Many Eco-Schools have reported that pupil behaviour has improved, as the youngsters react positively to their new responsibilities. And young people take the environmental lessons learnt at school, back home ensuring the message spreads to their parents and the wider community.