Carbon Scol’ÈRE: A program that helps young people make a tangible contribution to reducing greenhouse gases
Since 2016, Énergir has supported the Carbone Scol’ÈRE program, an educational project that aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by promoting environmentally responsible lifestyle habits among elementary school children in grades 4 to 6.
The program has two components:
- The “I’m committed” component, which, through a series of workshops and educational games in the classroom, encourages children to adopt new behaviours and take concrete action to reduce their carbon footprint with their families
- The “I offset” component, which enables companies, event organizers, and citizens to purchase educational carbon credits (ECCs) generated by young people and families participating in the “I’m committed” component at a unit cost of $30 (1 ECC = 1 tonne of GHGs avoided)
An interconnected system
“The principle is simple,” explains Sarah Zrig-Gauthier, project and awareness officer for Carbon Scol’ÈRE. “By reducing their GHG emissions, young people create ECCs—meaning avoided GHGs—which can be purchased to offset GHG emissions that could not be avoided. A festival, for example, can offset emissions related to transportation to and from the event by purchasing ECCs.”
Citizens of tomorrow
For Yoann Villeneuve, a teacher at Harfang-des-Neiges elementary school in Stoneham, north of Québec City, the Scol’ÈRE Carbon program is a real success: “The kids are really into it. We can see that they’re really aware of environmental issues: greenhouse gases, climate change, renewable and non-renewable energy. They’re concerned because they’ll be the ones in our shoes tomorrow, facing this situation if we do nothing.”
Every action counts
One of the reasons why the Scol’ÈRE Carbon program is so effective is that it’s based on simple but practical changes that, when taken together, can make a big difference or, as Louka, a Grade 4 student at École Sans-Frontière in Québec City, sums it up, “small actions that add up to a huge result!” Children and their families are encouraged to take on challenges in three categories (consumption, energy and transportation, and waste), such as lowering the temperature in the home by three degrees, keeping three electronic devices until the end of their useful life, or buying food products packaged in bulk rather than individually.
“This is not a pie-in-the-sky idea,” says Yoann Villeneuve. “These are tips and tricks that we give the kids in the workshops and that they can put into practice with their parents when they go home. Together we can change things.”
Launched in 2010, the Carbon Scol’ÈRE program has so far engaged over 35,000 young people in over 600 classes and prevented the release of nearly 138,000 tonnes of GHGs in Québec. For the 2023–2024 school year, the program has set a collective target of six million tonnes of avoided GHGs.