Cool Planet Experience is the first climate action visitor experience in the world offering an inspiring interactive tour, a curriculum led education and outreach programme, corporate training and events. More than 80,000 have engaged with Cool Planet Experience since it opened in 2018. Through immersion, gaming and competition, visitors to the centre in Powerscourt, Enniskerry experience changing climate and learn about innovations and practical solutions that will help solve the problem. People leave with pledges to embrace planet positive behaviours and reduce their carbon footprint, and they feel positive and part of the solution.
Although Cool Planet Experience is closed due to COVID-19, that doesn’t mean the work of the centre has come to a halt. Cool Planet Experience set about developing a digital climate action programme targeting school children. The programme – Rewrite Climate – is an interactive blended learning programme combining self-directed online learning and complimentary offline assignments.
It is hoped that the Rewrite Climate programme will provide inspiration, hope and reward at the heart of climate education. Engaging young people with a climate curriculum that highlights what behaviours they need to adopt to live in a clean, low carbon future, and introducing them to innovative solutions and potential career opportunities, is all part of the ethos of this initiative.
Young people can feel overwhelmed by the issue of climate change. Rewrite Climate is a transformative experience which will result in young people feeling empowered, positive and part of the solution. It is designed to resonate with the target audience with a variety of rich content – video, animations, interactive features – and rewards students through gamification and certification.
The first phase of this project will see Rewrite Climate being rolled out to post primary schools from September 2021. It will then be adapted for primary schools and in due course 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. The project has the capacity to reach a wide audience with solutions-focused climate education, and it has the power to influence attitudes and outcomes.
Cool Planet Experience cite the funding they have received from Rethink Ireland and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as being invaluable in the roll out of this programme and will see the project progress from research and development to implementation. The funding is being applied to core expenditure areas including staff costs, content development, technical software and marketing rel="noopener noreferrer" costs.
The Innovate Together fund was established last year by the Department of Rural and Community Development (via the Dormant Accounts Fund) and committed €5m to the fund as part of a €40m support package to the community and voluntary sector. Rethink Ireland received additional donations from corporate partners including Z Zurich Foundation, which committed €500,000 to the fund.