Worldwide energy consumption has grown. It has trebled during the past century and the current trend of global energy use is becoming unsustainable. Everything we consume or use—our homes, their contents, our cars and the road we travel, the clothes we wear and the food we eat—requires energy. In order to keep up with the energy demand, power stations are burning more and more fossil fuels. This process is increasing volumes of carbon dioxide—the greenhouse gas most responsible for climate change—released into the atmosphere.

The extra carbon dioxide released over the last half-century has been linked to a rise of half a degree Celsius in the average global temperature. This may not seem like much, but even a small temperature rise is predicted to cause major impact on weather patterns and eco-systems around the world. For example, many extreme weather events in recent years, such as droughts in Australia and strong hurricanes in the Pacific region, have been linked to climate change. Many plant and animal species, from fig trees to turtles, are predicted to be affected by climate change.

The energy theme in the Eco-Schools Programme can be used to suggest ways in which all members of the school can work together to increase awareness on energy usage and energy sources, and to improve energy efficiency within the school.

Eco-schools can begin by carrying out an energy audit as part of their Environmental Review, then set targets for reducing unnecessary energy use and come up with ways to reach the target through their Action Plan.
© Hartmut Jungius / WWF
© Hartmut Jungius / WWF