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Project: Carbon Detectives

A project supported by the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme.
Carbon Detectives is a three year project aiming to integrate the principles, values and practices of sustainable development into education and learning. The scheme will encourage and inspire teachers and 8-14 years old pupils across 10 European countries to reduce the carbon footprint in schools whilst raising awareness of climate change and the importance of conserving energy.

The main project output will be the development of a stimulating and simple to use website for teachers and pupils to monitor their environmental impact. Users will learn tips and techniques to reduce their CO2 emissions through behavioural and system changes and be able to share ideas with other schools.

There will also be an international web-based competition in the school year of  2010/11.

Carbon Detectives is being supported by the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme.

About the project
The world first started talking about sustainable development back in 1987 during the General Assembly of the United Nations. The subject of education in sustainable development was part of the discussions and in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, was formalised in the famous Agenda 21: an action plan for the integration of environmental principles in the social and economic development of nations. Chapter 36 of the Agenda identified education as having an essential role in achieving sustainable development across the world.

In 2002, the United Nations established the ‘Decade for Education for Sustainable Development’ (2005-2014). The aim of the initiative was to “integrate the principles, values and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning” and UNESCO was appointed as the lead agency to promote it.

The fundamental key to the success of the initiative involves governments, academic and scientific communities, teachers, NGOs, local communities and the media working together on a local, regional, national and international level. We all have a part to play in protecting the environment and ensuring that all building projects are carried out in the most sustainable manner possible.

Carbon Detectives aims to incorporate and encourage sustainable development in curriculums across Europe. Our core objective is to create some fun, innovative learning tools for students aged 8-14, helping to raise awareness of climate change and the importance of energy efficiency in preserving our planet and its natural resources for future generations.

Project aims and objectives
There are two key areas impeding the advancement of sustainable energy education in European schools:

  • The lack of a universal learning tool that would help engage and motivate schools to be energy efficient and
  • The lack of a forum or appropriate platform for schools to share energy efficiency tips and techniques.

As a result, learning opportunities and consequently, the implementation of efficiency measures in schools are currently limited.

Carbon Detectives aims to:

  • Enhance teacher and student understanding of intelligent energy use within the context of sustainable development and climate change
  • Provide tools to enable schools to measure their CO2 emissions
  • Enable schools to reduce their CO2 emissions through behavioural and system changes
  • Increase understanding of the need for intelligent energy decisions to be made at European scale.

We will do this by:

  • Developing a stimulating, easy to use website featuring a robust carbon calculator that will work in 10 different countries across Europe. The website will be available in the national languages of all partner countries.
  • Organising an international web-based competition that will encourage schools to implement their carbon action plan and share efficiency tips and techniques.
  • Running a series of training events in each partner country to enhance teacher understanding of intelligent energy use.
  • Contributing energy efficiency information which can be included in lesson plans across Europe.

Who are we?
Founding memebers:

  • BRE (Building Research Establishment) – UK
  • FUB (FORUM Umweltbildung Salzburg) – Austria
  • HSEE (Hungarian Society for Environmental Education) – Hungary
  • Solstice – UK
  • SEVER – Czech Republic
  • TIME (TIME-Ecoprojects Foundation) – Bulgaria

New members:

  • Germany (ANU Hessen),
  • Ireland (Limerick Institute of Technology),
  • Lithuania (DVI – Sustainable Development Initiatives),
  • Slovakia (ZIVICA, Centre of Enviromental and Ethical Education) ,
  • Romania (Focus Eco Centre)

Our target audience includes primary and secondary school teachers, school managers, students aged 8-14.

Participant countries include the United Kingdom, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czech Republic, , Germany, Slovakia, Romania, Ireland and Lithuania.

The website launch in May 2010

The sole responsibility for the content of this webpage lies with the authors. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Union. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.


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