FREDERICTON (GNB) – An awareness campaign in the francophone education sector entitled Verdir l’étincelle (make the spark green) was launched at École Les Éclaireurs in Fredericton ahead of Earth Day, celebrated on April 22.

The aim of the campaign is to increase awareness about environmental and climate issues and the importance of promoting environmentally conscious practices among francophone students during their school years.

“We want to encourage students to take action to preserve our environment and inspire them to make changes at their schools and in their communities,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Bill Hogan. “Although our public schools already have a variety of initiatives in place, the Verdir l’étincelle campaign will help make students even more aware while also encouraging them to take concrete steps toward protecting the environment. The perspectives of these young people should be taken into account because they have a powerful influence.”

A guide for environmental and climate engagement has been developed to support related actions and motivate schools and communities to embrace environmentally responsible behaviours. The campaign website also offers an interactive tool designed to help guide projects and initiatives at schools. Since September 2021, 142 climate-related action projects have been funded at public schools across the province.

This year, early learning to Grade 12 anglophone learners have been introduced to a new framework on climate literacy and sustainability. This framework promotes learning opportunities aligned with curriculum outcomes and graduation requirements, and embeds climate education across curricular areas.

The Department of Environment and Local Government provides the majority of the funding allocated toward implementing these initiatives since they are aligned with the climate action objectives.

“Climate change is a real and urgent issue that we do not take lightly,” said Local Government and Local Governance Reform Minister Daniel Allain. “We all have a role to play, whether at home, school or elsewhere, to combat the effects of climate change. Getting younger people educated and involved is a major factor in protecting our natural environment for generations to come.”

Several partners are taking part in this campaign, including the New Brunswick Environmental Network, the Fédération des jeunes francophones du Nouveau-Brunswick and all three francophone school districts. The department has also received support from First Nations, as an Indigenous elder contributed to the development of the guide.