St Colman’s Community College Midleton Win National Award

By Seamus Whelehan

Kieran Flood, Coordinator, Irish Wildlife Trust with Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, T.D. and Proinsias Ó Tuama St. Colman's Community College, with students Nicholas Leahy and Shane Bakx with Eamonn O’Reilly, Dublin Port Company at yesterday's Irish Wildlife Trust award ceremony in Dublin.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” - American anthropologist Margaret Meade.

This is the attitude that has netted St Coleman’s Community College Midleton the Irish wildlife Biodiversity School of the year award.

In its first year the national award recognises groups and individuals who champion the importance of preserving the environment.

Speaking to the East Cork Journal teacher Proinsias O’Tuama said “the award has sown the seeds of a real sense of responsibility for the future, one the teenagers can bring with them into adulthood. Challenging the students to keep the environment that they live in, healthier, cleaner, promoting social responsibility.”

With an awakened environmental consciousness the group of students together with teachers Mr O’Tuama and Margaret O’Connell arrived at the ceremony in Dublin yesterday in a Toyota Hybrid supplied by Lehane Motors on the airport road, to keep their carbon footprint low.

Through a series of small actions the entire school community have helped to create an impact on how we view our environment.

The youth environmental activists have helped clean up their community and fight the plastic pollution crisis through weekly beach cleans.

Lobbied the EU and Irish Government to do more to tackle climate change by encouraging them to develop evidence based legislation, created owl and swift breading boxes, planted trees and wildflower meadows and highlighted the need for pollinators in food production.

The plight of the honey bee is a major cause for concern among Irish bee keepers with a 50% decline in the bee population reported since the 1980’s.

Ireland has 98 species of bee, the honey bee and 97 wild bee species, 3 are in danger of extinction with a further 2 classed as vulnerable.

The Black Bee (Apis Mellifera Mellifera) Irelands only native species is among the number at risk.

The populations decline has been linked to loss of habitat, pesticides, pollution, invasive species, pathogens and climate change.

It is predicted that we have little over a decade to make changes that could affect climate change.

The world’s leading climate change experts say we have just 12 years to keep global warming at a maximum of 1.5C.   At just half a degree beyond this the risk of drought, flooding, extreme heat and poverty for millions worsens.

St Colman’s Community College are also the Taisce Ocean Heroes for 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.