“Your projects have demonstrated that participating in climate justice and local community action should be one in the same as we work together to make a real and lasting difference.” – Councillor, Janet Horner.

Year after year the Localise Climate Justice Programme Graduation has the same message: the urgency to address climate change has never been more critical. The impacts are felt across the globe, affecting vulnerable communities abroad and right here in Ireland.

Climate justice is not just an environmental concern; it’s a matter of human rights and equality. It demands that we recognise the uneven distribution of the burdens of climate change and take action to rectify this imbalance.

Today, Localise Youth Volunteering celebrated the work of five schools, and nearly 200 students for their actions participating in our Climate Justice in North Dublin City programme in the Communication Workers Union with Green Party Councillor, Janet Horner as they keynote speaker. The event showcased the incredible work that was undertaken by these youth volunteers in their local communities as they improved the local eco-system, and changed the often negative narrative of young people into a positive one as they supported those in need.

“These projects are real. The young people engaged with those in their community around real concerns and issues of climate justice. The groups then learned how to and built projects around supporting the community. This was more than just planting a tree and calling it a day or holding a sign in protest – they went out and made a real, defined and immediate impact.” said Sean McEwen, Localise Youth & Integration Coordinator who delivers and manages the Climate Justice Programme.

The projects this year transcended boundaries, and when paired with the energy and passion of young people, they became a real catalyst for change. The projects were real, practical, and meaningful for all involved. The projects highlighted that we all have a role play to plain climate justice and that we all can participate in small meaningful ways. A community plagued by the injustice of participation in climate change, created their own path to become leaders and change-makers of their communities. By doing so, the projects this year contributed to building a collective consciousness that has laid the foundation of understanding the importance of sustainable living.

Projects undertaken this year include:

St. Paul’s CBS

The Transition Year students project was all about exploring how participating in Climate Justice can support those experiencing isolation for men in their community. They came together with a group from Ozanam House and created window boxes with herbs and flowers and completed a table quiz with the group.

Mount Carmel Secondary School

The Transition Year students of Mount Carmel partnered with Ozanam House in delivering a Sustainable Fashion Show. The students completed a clothing drive in the school and purchased items from second-hand stores to model during the show. All items used were then donated back to local charity shops. In preparation for this with Ozanam House, the students created a short podcast exploring how fashion has changed – from a culture that mended and fixed clothing and always having pre-used items, to fast fashion where we never wear items more than a handful of times.

Beneavin De La Salle College

One group of TY Students partnered with ChildVision. This organisation supports young people with sight loss and complex disabilities. The group explored how gardens are still a place to be used regardless if you have full, limited or no vision and how these spaces are inhabited and used by everyone. They then went ahead and supported the organisation in a gardening project planting plants and flowers, and supporting the local ecosystem.

The second group of TY students partnered with Sankalpa, a local drug and alcohol addiction treatment centre. The students learned how something simple like indoor gardens have an impact and supports those on the road to recovery. The group presented and planted flowers that will support this process.

Larkin Community College

Three groups of First Year students partnered with a local elderly group to provide a healthy and nutritious meal. The group learned about healthy eating and about food security in relation to Climate Justice and how it impacts their local community.

Marino Secondary School

One group of TY students partnered with their local hospital, Fairview Community Step Down Unit. The students learned how our mental health is impacted by long-term stays in hospitals, and the importance of communal spaces like gardens can have a positive impact on mental health and recovery. The students planted flowers and plants, painted benches and tables in this space, and even painted a large garden-themed mural inside the hospital for those who are unable to go outside.

The second group of TY students partnered with the Sophia Housing Association. This organisation provides trauma-informed supported housing for those experiencing homelessness. The group learned how experiencing homelessness in itself makes it difficult to participate in climate justice and provided residents with vouchers to provide dignity to those in need so they can provide for themselves. In the coming weeks the group will further support with a small garden project.

Localise looks forward to participating in more government led initiatives like this, to ensure that young people can participate in climate justice as we continue to make opportunities for the voices of the unheard be heard and captured.

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