Climate change and sustainability - these issues are at the forefront of most people's minds nowadays as it becomes more and more obvious that we need to change the way we live. In the long-term, changing the way young people relate to the planet we live on and ensuring they understand the effect we have on it is vital if we are to make the changes we need to.
As teaching and learning is transformed through the use of ICT, we need to consider the fact that, according to Gartner, IT accounts for about 2 percent of CO2 emissions worldwide (the same proportion as the aviation industry) and PCs are responsible for 40% of the total carbon emitted. As the Government is aiming to have all school's 'carbon neutral' by 2016, addressing the carbon emissions your technology is responsible for will obviously have to play a big part in that.
One of the articles here last year told how the power saving features in Windows Vista can help cut costs and save power and the Brockenhurst College case study demonstrates how they have saved thousands of pounds and reduced their carbon footprint by overhauling their IT infrastructure and implementing Windows Vista and Office 2007. If this was a project implemented by the students at Brockenhurst, then it would have been a good candidate for The Observer's Ethical Kids Award, which is for "school groups or individual students who are making a difference with their sustainability projects."
The first school to win was Meare Village Primary School in Glastonbury, for their pupils work on a sustainability project to improve waste removal, school food and transport. The 2007 winner was Stratherrick Primary School in Inverness (no website - they only have 2 teachers and 26 pupils!), who wowed the judges with the sheer number of sustainable initiatives on the go in their school under their “Great Grounds Galore” project, which included a 6ft greenhouse made from 1,500 used bottles.
The competition entry deadline is 14th March - the competition is for students under 16. Part of the prize is £6,000 grant to carry out another project.