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Students are learning valuable climate skills

This autumn, six upper secondary schools from Oulu, Ii, Kuusamo and Ylivieska will take climate actions seriously as they participate in the City of Oulu’s project “Climate Upper Secondary Schools”.

Each school will find out their current carbon footprint and create an action plan on what they could do as a community to lower the school’s environmental burden.

“It means simple choices made in everyday life. For example, not taking hundreds of small juice cartons to a school trip where they would end up filling 18 garbage bags. Instead, everyone could just take their own bottle that can be filled. The values of the school have a major impact on students,” says education developer Jussi Tomberg, the leader of the project. 

As support for planning their climate actions, the schools can use a digital learning environment called Repair Manual for Schools. Together with Häme University of Applied Sciences, they will also design a climate calculator tailored for schools. 

Students at Oulun suomalaisen yhteiskoulun lukio upper secondary school started a podcast on climate issues when the school participated in the previous climate project designed for upper secondary schools. In the photo: Jenni Karppinen, teacher Minna Korpierkki, Kanerva Murtovaara and teacher Iiro Oikarinen recording an episode about sustainable food and vegan diet. Photographer: Saga Bruun.

Climate know-how is the high-tech of the future

The Repair Manual for Schools will be finished this autumn. On the website, students can complete climate skills badges and study to become climate experts. 

According to the project leader Jussi Tomberg, climate skills are high-tech of the future – a valuable asset in working life. 

The Repair Manual covers the climate impact of food, school infrastructure and logistics. Tomberg says that the whole school community is responsible for the actions. 

“With this manual we can show, for example, that it matters what one hundred thousand students choose to eat every day. What if the vegetarian option was not the last option in the line but the first one?” he asks.

Sustainable lifestyles are taught already at kindergarten 

Oulu aims to achieve carbon-neutrality by 2040. Children are learning environmentally sustainable thinking throughout their school path, starting already from day care.

The City of Oulu is also committed to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which means that in addition to environmental thinking, children and young people are raised to consider social, cultural and economic sustainability.

In May 2021, the Agenda of Hope 2030 event gathered students from the Oulu area to contemplate the implementation of the UN’s goals. Children and young people participated in planning the programme from the beginning. More than 10 000 viewers attended the online broadcast of the hybrid event.

The broadcast included a video from the students of Kello School in which the students say what they think the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals could mean in their everyday life:

Climate Upper Secondary Schools

Main image: One of the project’s schools, Haukipudas Upper Secondary School, won the international Luma StarT competition in June with a mobile application called “Upper secondary students’ climate calculator for greenhouse gas emissions”. Haukipudas participated in Jussi Tomberg’s previous project, “Climate Change in Upper Secondaty Schools!” (2019–2021). In the photo: the winning team of Miina Karjalainen, Inka Jämsä, Jaakko Ojala and Max Nabbvik. Photographer: Anna-Helena Isopahkala.