An Taisce’s Environmental Education Unit announced twelve Climate Ambassador Awards for Outstanding Achievement on Thursday 25th November, 2021. The awards are an annual opportunity for Climate Ambassadors to connect and reflect, to recognise and celebrate their fantastic achievements. Initially due to take place in Dublin, the ceremony shifted online due to current covid precautions.
One of the awards went to John Kiberd, well known for his involvement with Tallaght Litter Mugs and Dodder Action Group. This Climate Ambassador seems to have a mantra of getting stuck in – outdoors whenever possible – for the good of the local environment. John attended many Climate Ambassador zoom workshops on climate change – from science, to solutions, actions and communications. His diligent work ethic is inspiring and has never wavered, despite the number of setbacks while setting up the not-for-profit tree planting organisation called ‘Stepping Stones’. Having planted 900 trees so far in community spaces and schools this year, with plans afoot for a whopping 9000 trees early next year!
193 citizens from a wide range of backgrounds including secondary school students and teachers, university students, lecturers, parents, farmers and businesspeople were all selected to be Climate Ambassadors in 2021. The programme, now in its fourth year, has gone from strength-to-strength with Climate Ambassadors gaining key skills and confidence to take local action and inspire others to join them on their sustainable journey.
The Climate Ambassadors collectively completed 731 climate actions, ranging from rewilding areas and planting trees to hosting meat-free and slow fashion events, with a staggering 651,000 people directly engaged. Individuals also completed an incredible 1,727 communications, such as climate conversations and talks, sharing their passion and knowledge through storytelling on social and traditional media, as well as using art through various mediums to communicate and connect. All of this amounted to an astronomical 35 million people reached in 2021.
Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan T.D., acknowledged the commitment of all Climate Ambassadors and their valuable work in communities, colleges and schools across Ireland, “Climate Ambassadors are taking practical actions and inspiring others. Through their actions and communications, they demonstrate an extraordinary depth and diversity of knowledge and experience in their chosen areas. Change is happening, to give hope – thank you to the Climate Ambassadors for giving us that”.
Starting its fourth year of operations in January, the programme delivered online training as well as some in-person workshops when possible, amounting to 79 events in 2021. Climate Ambassadors are provided with tools on climate science, solutions, action and communications, but more importantly, they become part of a powerful network of committed individuals. These people are fantastic at sharing their knowledge, learning from each other, and building relationships. Throughout the year they are asked to undertake four key actions – two climate communications and two climate actions, though many individuals go over and above what is required.
The awards truly are a celebration of the hard work that has taken place over the last year and the enormous effort and dedication that the Climate Ambassadors have shown throughout the process. To mark this, each Climate Ambassador that completed the programme received a certificate of recognition and some sustainability essentials. In addition, twelve Outstanding Achievement Awards were presented to Climate Ambassadors based on the work they have carried out this year.