Cool Planet Experience, Powerscourt House, Wicklow
Last week my family and I were invited to Cool Planet Experience at Powerscourt House in Enniskerry, Wicklow. We took the 60 minute Cool Planet tour, and partook in a 50 minute Mini-Greenhouse Workshop for Kids.
Cool Planet Experience is the world’s first interactive climate action experience. It’s aimed at those who want to learn about climate change and action in a fun way. For children and adults alike. Typically it’s targeted for children from about seven years old but our two boys who are aged two and four enjoyed every minute. And since visiting, Smith, our four year old and I have had a number of conversations about the things we do to help the environment. Our carbon footprints. And the things that can be done to change the world for the better.
The Mini-Greenhouse workshop which is aimed at 3-12 year olds featured story time and a creative grow your own ‘tiny seed’ experience that you got to take home. And even at two years old, Cassidy was willing and able to participate in the experience.
My Carbon Footprint
I’m no stranger to sustainable living. The phrase ‘waste not want not’ was a popular saying, as my mother taught us the value of not being wasteful. Throughout my childhood, at different stages my Dad kept chickens for eggs, and he grew all our vegetables. Fantastically fresh and organic. When I was thirteen I set up a Fair Trade stand at lunchtime in the gym hall. From what I recall, it was only for one day. But it was the first the school had seen, perhaps the last. It may well have been one of the first our town had ever known. And so a sustainable and fair living ethos has always been with me. And I’ve supported it by means of my writing too – encouraging sustainable living, home-grown eating, sustainable fashion and healthy living in the articles I write and the businesses I shine a light on.
But it wasn’t until I became a mother myself that I took sustainable living more seriously. Continually aiming to reduce our household’s carbon footprint. Because as Environmental Activist Wendell Berry put it in 1971 “a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.” In other words:
We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children
It’s a good thing my calculated carbon footprint at Cool Planet Experience was below the average Irish person’s. Because I think I would have been disappointed had it not been!
Our Cool Planet Experience in Photo’s
Cool Planet Experience costs €9.50 per adult and €5.50 per child over seven years old. There are also special price tickets available for student’s, OAP’s, and a Family Ticket option.
The tour starts in the lobby of Cool Planet Experience. After you’ve checked in and received your special wristband, an electronic tag that you use to create your profile to determine your carbon footprint. This wristband is also used throughout the interactive tour.
Once you’ve calculated your carbon footprint, the tour begins. A short film, highlighting the ways in which the world is changing, and not for the better sets the scene. It creates an impact, it’s real life. After that it’s through to a number of interactive rooms that combine learning and fun.
Logging on to play, it’s your mission to save your city and the world by creating a healthier place to live. It’s a race to 2050, and sustainable living changes are the goal. From renewable energy, to cutting down on food waste.
Spot the difference? I know where I’d prefer to live.
Following that ‘The F Word’ game show had us all jumping for answers and scores. Did you know it takes plastic 1000 years to fully decompose? Or that it would take two and a half Croke Parks to home just one year of Ireland’s food waste! And if you thought cow farts contributed most to the methane emissions, you’d be wrong. It’s actually their burps!
A short real life mini documentary about Eoin and his daughter Katelynn followed. The boys enjoyed the animation.
Then it was the final countdown to our future as we made that last dash in the race to improve our carbon footprint.
Make a pledge to yourself to make a change. Become an Agent of Change because every little helps. The health of the world really is in our hands. And although it’s wonderful that Ireland has become the second country in the world to declare climate emergency. Actions speak louder than words. As of 2018 Irish household carbon emissions were the worst in EU. Approximately 60% higher than the EU average. If you want to start small these tips may help.
Mini Greenhouse Family Workshop
Workshops and events are held on a regular basis at Cool Planet Experience. The workshop we attended usually costs €10 per child, with parents/guardians going free. There’s also complimentary tea and coffee available for the adults who attend. Of course compostable cups are used but why not bring along your re-useable cup. Lead by example.
The Mini-Greenhouse Workshop is based on Eric Carle’s story ‘The Tiny Seed’. And the workshop begins with the story.
After that it’s a visit to the crafts table to pick and choose your favourite colours and shapes to create your greenhouse.
When your mini-greenhouse is designed. It’s time to add the most important part – the seeds! A couple of seeds are added to a water soaked cotton pad in a plastic envelope (ideally this wouldn’t be plastic but it can be used again, should you wish).
Then your mini-greenhouses are ready to go home, to grow.
Our Mini Greenhouses At Home
I stuck our two greenhouses to the window in the boys play area so they could keep an eye on their progress. We’ve planted seeds before but it was fun to be able to see the seed germinate and grow tiny roots before our eyes.
Once the roots grew, we took them to the garden and planted them in pots.
It’s a fantastic way to encourage an appreciation for plant-life, nature, and the world we live in. And so growing food and plants together as a family will always be on our family time agenda.
Now it’s just a waiting game to see what pops up!
Thank you to all the staff at Cool Planet Experience for making our visit an enjoyable and educational one. We’re officially Agents of Change.
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