EcoKidz: How Children are Changing our World

By Niamh Byrne

What exactly are EcoKidz?

It’s very much the brainchild of Mary Coyne and began here in Sandymount. Mary told NewsFour: “We are four preschool and after schools in Dublin 2 and Dublin 4.  We wanted to focus on caring for our planet and we encourage our children to recycle and reduce energy costs and to spend a lot of time outdoors.”

And so EcoKidz was born. Their logo is: “caring for your children, caring for our planet”. A concept so pure in its simplicity, yet so profound in its implications should it spread nationwide (or dare we say globally!)

Warriors of tomorrow – the EcoKidz march into the future

Mary emphasises just how important it is to teach children recycling habits from a young age. “After watching the news every day I kept saying something needs to be done about the state of our planet but always put it off. Why can I not promote healthy habits,” she thought, and so came up with the idea of EcoKidz. After all, they are the future generation. 

EcoKidz currently run four schools; EcoKidz Sportsco, EcoKidz Park Avenue, EcoKidz Baggot Street, and EcoKidz Sandymount Road, which they rebranded to get the name out to the public. Mary still oversees the project but currently gets more assistance from her son Richard and their staff of about eighteen helpers. By instilling a healthy respect in children for the environment, hopefully that will become second nature,  and will impact beneficially on the planet. 

After informing the teachers and parents of their plans, they got to work right away. They began with the bins. Having different bins for plastic, compost and one for waste, reduces contamination and is such an easy step. The compost bin will be brought out and emptied in a container which will be turned into compost for their garden.

Other steps they took in the schools were making gardens in the school yards for fruit and veg. The children were delighted to see their work paid off when the fruit and veg started growing. Letting nothing go to waste, they also took old tires from the tire shop on the quays which would’ve been thrown away, and turned them into seats for the children in their yard play area. 

They also instilled in kids new habits such as turning the light off when they leave a room to save electricity, and closing doors and windows to save heat. 

Looking after the planet is something everyone should partake in day by day. However with habits and life choices getting in the way people can forget just how important our planet is and how much of an effect we have on it.

Recycling is important for many reasons such as:

  • Reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators
  • It conserves natural resources such as timber, water and minerals
  • It prevents pollution from happening and reduces greenhouse gases 

Pollution  is everywhere. From the rubbish thrown on the ground all over the country, to the millions of metric tons of pollution pumped into the atmosphere daily. Pollution is so bad that 2.4 billion people do not have access to everyday needs such as clean water. Humans continuously pollute indispensable resources like air, water and soil, which take millions of years to replenish.

Global warming is arguably the most significant issue facing us today. The most prominent sources stem from C02 levels from respiration to more detrimental reasons like deforestation and burning fossil fuels. The increase of C02 has made the planet’s average temperature rise by almost a whole degree. With the temperature increasing, Arctic land ice and glaciers melt causing the ocean levels to rise at a rate of 3.42mm each year. This allows more water to absorb more heat, which melts more ice, creating a loop that will see the ocean rise 1-4 feet by 2100.

Just by doing small bits each day, we create a healthier environment for us and for future generations. And that is exactly the ethos behind EcoKidz and how they hope to change the world one small step at a time.