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Pupils from a secondary school in Carmarthenshire vying to become the first carbon neutral school in Wales have met the Cabinet Member of Carmarthenshire County Council for Climate Change.

Ysgol Bro Dinefwr pupils showed Cllr Ann Davies their school building and grounds to highlight their efforts as part of the council’s Prosiect Zero Sir Gâr campaign.

The school is one of many the council is investing in to become more energy efficient through renewable and energy efficient technologies to minimize its impact on the environment.

The students have been fully involved in their school’s attempt to fight climate change, not only by coming up with their own ideas, but by helping to manage resources such as its outdoor learning space where they plant, maintain and pick fruit and vegetables for use in school meals.

School leaders say giving students hands-on tasks helps them ‘feel’ the change they are making, put the words into action and encourage them to think more broadly about the climate change agenda .

Cllr Ann Davies said she was impressed with the school’s dedication and enthusiasm.

“As a council we are committed to tackling climate change, indeed we were the first in Wales to declare our intention to become net zero carbon by 2030,” she said. “For us, this means that we have to involve everyone, and most certainly our future generations on whom climate change will have the greatest impact.

“It was a pleasure to visit Ysgol Bro Dinefwr and talk with the students. We talked about their concerns for the future and why they feel they need to act now to help bring about change.

“In addition to the practical things they do, like collecting rainwater, growing food, and planting trees and flowers to attract wildlife and offset carbon emissions, they also talk about the issue – not just at school, but in their communities and even taking the case to the Houses of Parliament.

Deputy Headmaster Ian Chriswick said pupils have fully embraced the school’s efforts, even giving up their free time during breaks to get involved in outdoor spaces.

“They’ve been very passionate about it since day one,” he said. “They clearly have concerns about what is happening to the climate and they feel they want to be able to do something about it. It gives them a chance to do so.

Through Prosiect Zero, Sir Gâr Carmarthenshire County Council is shining a light on the efforts being made as the authority strives to achieve net zero carbon by 2030.

The campaign encourages everyone to play their part in tackling climate change by reducing Carmarthenshire’s carbon footprint and talking to people about reducing energy use.

In February 2019 Carmarthenshire County Council was one of the first local authorities to declare a climate emergency and pledged to become a net zero carbon local authority by 2030. It has since been the first authority local Wales to publish a net zero balance sheet. carbon action plan, which was approved by the full board in February 2020.

Cllr Davies said everyone should get involved.

“We all need to act now – climate change is already having an impact in Carmarthenshire,” she said. “Each of us can make a difference. It could be as simple as turning our thermostats down a degree, turning off our lights when not needed, or recycling as much as possible.

“We want Prosiect Zero Sir Gâr to inspire collective action. The smallest actions will build together to make a big difference.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s drive towards net zero carbon covers all areas of its services.

This involves everything from ensuring that all major new construction projects such as homes and schools are energy efficient and incorporate renewable energy, to retrofitting older buildings with a wide range of cost-saving measures. energy, including photovoltaic solar panels, replacement of LED lighting, lighting controls. , pipe insulation, building structure improvement, boiler modernization and water and heat saving technology.

As well as getting all of its electricity from renewable energy sources, the council has made other efforts to reduce carbon emissions, including converting streetlights to energy-efficient LEDs and upgrading its fleet. to include electric cars and more energy-efficient garbage and sandblasting vehicles.

The authority is also working with other public bodies to make broader changes and is exploring opportunities for tree planting and renewable energy generation on council-owned land.

Main image: Cllr Ann Davies, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, with students from Ysgol Bro Dinefwr (Image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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