Trinity student and graduate win inaugural Climate Hero Awards

Posted on: 20 December 2018

A Trinity student and a Trinity graduate have been presented with Climate Hero Awards at the inaugural An Taisce Climate Ambassador awards. Environmental Science student Isabel Jorgensen and Botany graduate Niamh Banahan were among the nine recipients of these prestigious awards.

Isabel’s award was in recognition for her work on a broad range of events engaging a wide audience in addition to her thought-provoking activity with many environmental groups. She organised a Climate Action conference; became Chair of the Trinity Environmental Society; organised talks in Trinity including a panel discussions on Climate Case Ireland,  climate careers,  the recent IPCC special report, and  this year’s summer drought. She launched the successful ‘Paper Free TCD’ – a campaign to reduce paper consumption and introduced digital society cards – eliminating plastic membership cards for all societies across campus. Her research was published with Oxford University on water supply vulnerability and next year she is working to make Trinity Ball a single-use plastic-free event. Under Isabel’s leadership, Trinity’s Environmental Society are continuing to deliver monthly careers speakers from diverse environmental backgrounds, they host talks after every large climate news piece (IPCC reports, anomalous weather, etc.) that provide education and a forum for their members, and they are hoping to host repair cafes so students can learn to fix things rather than just replace them. The society’s  primary focus this year has been showing members how to be environmentally conscious during college with limited time and money and  how to extend that into their careers once they graduate.

Niamh has been very successful within the corporate sector this year. She organised a ‘War on Waste’ campaign with Accenture’s 3,000 Irish employees. The campaign was such a success that it has been replicated across the global workforce of almost half a million employees in 120 countries. She hosted a panel discussion on Earth Day at the Irish Surf Film Festival as well as having worked with various environmental groups such as Dodder Action Group, Clean Coasts, FoodCloud, Voice Recycling and HiveMind to organise eco-volunteering opportunities for staff. This year she moved to a new workplace in Medtronic and started a committee there to address employee’s environmental awareness and implement eco-initiatives.

Minister of State for Natural Resources, Community Affairs and Digital Development, Seán Canney speaking on behalf of the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce, congratulated the winners saying:” These Climate Ambassadors represent the best of civic engagement in Irish society with a diverse range of individuals committed to taking action, as well as mobilising their wider communities, to address the challenge of climate change.”

The Climate Ambassador Programme, a key element of the National Dialogue on Climate Action, is delivered by An Taisce with funding provided by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment. One hundred and eight Climate Ambassadors were selected in the first year of the programme. Nine Ambassadors received a Climate Hero Award and two received an Outstanding Achievement Award based on the work they have carried out during the year.

This awards ceremony acknowledges the hard work and commitment of those involved in the Climate Ambassador Programme over the last twelve months and the enormous effort and dedication that the Climate Ambassadors have shown throughout the process.