Why become an Eco-School? Improve the school environment: The Eco-Schools programme enables schools to improve their environmental footprint, a change which leads to a more sustainable, less costly and more responsible school environment. For example, most Eco-Schools consume less water, use less energy and produce less waste, which creates financial savings. Motivate: Eco-Schools challenges students to engage in tackling environmental problems at a level where they can see tangible results, spurring them on to realise that they really can make a difference. Your school will gain access to certified recognition through the internationally recognised Green Flag. Improve attitudes: Eco-Schools instils in students a sense of responsibility and cultivates a sustainable mindset which they can apply on a daily basis. Independent research has also found that student participation in Eco-Schools leads to increased confidence, enhanced sense of school pride, development of both teamwork and leadership skills, improved behaviour and greater motivation at school. Involve the wider community: Eco-Schools places great emphasis on involving the local community. Lessons the students pick up are carried out into the community where they take hold and lead to more sustainable, environmentally responsible behaviour patterns all round. Connect globally: Being part of a global network of more than 59,000 schools in 74 countries, Eco-Schools can facilitate contact between participating schools not just at the national level, but also internationally. Why should young people be involved? Here are some of the reasons we think it’s important to involve young people in environmentalism: Young people have fantastic ideas for environmental projects. They are often innovative and forward-thinking. Environmental action is fun and rewarding. It can help provide young people with confidence and teach them new skills. All environmental action makes a difference. Young people can make a huge difference. The Department of Statistics estimates that in 2023 there were 1,130,500 New Zealanders under 18! Imagine the collective difference they could make! Young people are our world’s future. Not only are they set to inherit the problems, but they will also become the business leaders and politicians of tomorrow making decisions effecting our entire planet – it is our role as educators to help prepare our youth to address and mitigate these problems and to make the correct decisions for our planet. If we want to protect our planet, we need everyone’s help.