(Toronto, ON – September 26, 2019) During Global Climate Action Week, EcoSchools Canada is launching its national scope to connect schools across Canada to an international community working toward environmental sustainability and climate action. Their goal is to reach two million students across Canada by 2022.
Over the past 14 years, EcoSchools Canada, formerly Ontario EcoSchools, has reached over one million students and certified over 3,000 K-12 schools in Ontario. Through training, conferences, online resources, and campaigns, this registered charity works with all levels of the education sector to create transformative change.
“We are thrilled to begin delivering the EcoSchools program across Canada,” said Lindsay Bunce, Executive Director of EcoSchools Canada. “As a certification framework that supports grassroots initiatives, we are excited to work closely with local organizations and celebrate the amazing work already underway across the country”.
Until now, Canada was the only G7 country without a national EcoSchools program. To meet this need, EcoSchools Canada became the Canadian representative for the UNESCO-endorsed Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) network made up of 68 countries and 51,000 schools globally.
With a strong foundation established in Ontario and an international network behind them, EcoSchools will launch their national program in New Brunswick in partnership with The Gaia Project, before rolling out in select regions across Canada through 2020.
“For over ten years, The Gaia Project has been facilitating student-led waste reduction and energy efficiency projects in schools across New Brunswick,” says Lizzy Gresh, Executive Director of The Gaia Project. “Through this internationally recognized certification program, our top-performing schools will get much-deserved acknowledgement for their work. It’s time for us all to take climate action. Our schools should be leading the way.”
EcoSchools Canada’s certification program is linked to K-12 curriculum across Canada and aligns closely with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Canada is experiencing climate change two times faster than the global average. A standardized environmental framework for schools is a key element of supporting climate action and driving positive change across the country.
“If we are going to create a sustainable future, we need to stand with youth, model strong leadership, and support opportunities for students to take action,” adds Bunce.
- According to independent research, a school with Platinum-level EcoSchools certification produces 57% less waste than a non-certified school.
- Approximately 50,000 students are actively working on environmental projects as part of school-based EcoTeams every year.
“Together, we can work towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring that economic, environmental, social and cultural wellbeing is achieved for everyone around the world.” – Finn Bolding Thomsen, Deputy CEO of the Foundation for Environmental Education
“With ongoing support from our network of schools and school boards, we have become known throughout Ontario as one of the most important organizations working to build youth leadership in addressing the climate crisis. Now with our expanding national scope, I have never been more excited about what lies ahead for the EcoSchools program.” – Ron Ballentine, Board Chair of EcoSchools Canada