Ideas have the Power to Change the Future.
20th April 2021
The Cool Planet Experience is a social enterprise set up in 2018 to show the positive side of environmental responsibility in a solution-driven and interactive way. Located on the Powerscourt Estate in Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, it was founded by serial entrepreneur Norman Crowley and launched by Richard Branson.
In Spring 2020, Cool Planet Experience suspended normal operations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but has since pivoted to create an online offering for students called Rewrite Climate.
Pre-pandemic, over 80,000 people had visited or interacted with Cool Planet Experience through the centre at Powerscourt, or through their education outreach in schools, science fairs and corporate events. Visitors to the experience took part in interactive games, competitions and exhibits designed to inform about the realities of climate change. Then Covid-19 forced museums and visitor centres throughout the country to temporarily shut their doors.
The Rewrite Climate programme is supported by Rethink Ireland, the Environmental Protection Agency, Calor and the Dormant Accounts Fund. The programme includes 12 lessons on everything from climate science, transport, and energy, to fashion and waste and aims to inspire students to see the solutions and opportunities in the climate transition. It also highlights the behaviours they need to adopt to live in a clean, low carbon future and exposes them to innovative solutions and potential career opportunities.
“This generation is on the cusp of one of the biggest challenges in history – the transition to a low carbon future. We want students to form a wider perspective on what is possible and what they can be part of. Big or small, simple or complex, ideas have the power to change the future.
There is a whole world of opportunity opening up for students in the climate space and Rewrite Climate wants to show them that they can be part of it”, said Cool Planet Experience CEO Vicky Brown.
“Whilst climate change education programmes exist both online and offline, they tend to focus more on the problem, without providing as much emphasis on the solutions that are required to lower our carbon footprint.
We believe that if we can change how young people feel about the issue of climate change, we can change the way they respond to climate change.”
The programme is currently being launched in the Irish secondary school sector, initially for transition year students, before being adapted for the primary school sector and in time, the corporate sector. Commitment to sustainability and carbon neutrality is a key strategy for most companies and having a ‘climate educated’ workforce is a primary step on this journey. Climate education is also a fundamental part of a corporate wellness programme, given the level of anxiety associated with climate change.
Participants in the Rewrite programme are not only informed, but empowered to think positively about climate change and bring that thinking into their daily lives. “The last few months have given us more space to appreciate the beauty of our natural world. It’s a good time to reflect on how we can protect our planet.
Individuals might think their actions are small or meaningless, but we know that the cumulative effect of all our individual choices does matter,” Vicky said.
The organisation is also running planet positive webinars for companies to bring their staff together remotely to learn about living sustainably. Delivered by UN Environment ambassador Hugh Weldon, the interactive webinar presents lifestyle solutions in the areas of transport, food, waste and energy to help participants reduce their carbon footprint.