Keep­ing It Green

Be­ing en­vi­ron­men­tally con­scious be­gins at the grass­roots and these schools are plant­ing the seeds

Expatriate Lifestyle - - Contents -

Words by Ta­nia Jay­ati­laka Pho­tos by Tenby In­ter­na­tional School Miri and Alice Smith In­ter­na­tional School

Iron­i­cally, de­vel­op­ing a sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity for your nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment doesn’t hap­pen nat­u­rally. Wide-scale pol­lu­tion and harm­ful prac­tices across the globe war­rant the need for more aware­ness and ac­tion. As adults, we should all be mak­ing ef­forts to ed­u­cate our­selves on how we can help make the world a cleaner, greener place. One of the most im­por­tant things par­ents should be do­ing is en­cour­ag­ing their chil­dren to get in­volved and dis­cover what they can do to help.

These in­ter­na­tional schools have taken the ini­tia­tive and are spear­head­ing dif­fer­ent pro­grammes to pro­mote aware­ness and be­come more en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly.

ALICE SMITH IN­TER­NA­TIONAL SCHOOL A lead­ing non-profit co-ed school of­fer­ing the Bri­tish curriculum in Kuala Lumpur, Alice Smith School is work­ing along­side the Eco Schools Pro­gramme by WWF (World Wide Fund for Na­ture) Malaysia. This is no sur­prise, given their spa­cious green cam­puses in Jalan Bel­lamy and Seri Kem­ban­gan. But be­neath the sur­face, the school tack­les the chal­lenge of in­cor­po­rat­ing a ‘green’ work ethic at all lev­els of daily op­er­a­tion and this eco-con­scious at­ti­tude has made an im­pact on the stu­dents.

“We’ve got a group of stu­dents that’s been in op­er­a­tion for three years now, the KLASS (Kuala Lumpur Alice Smith School) Ac­tion Group who meet on a weekly ba­sis, led by Jade Caublot, a sixth-for­mer,” says sec­ondary school Vice Prin­ci­pal, Gavin Lazaro, who ini­ti­ated the team some years back but now takes a more sec­ondary-role to the stu­dents.

The stu­dents re­cy­cle pa­per, plas­tic and metal on cam­pus. Wa­ter fill-up sta­tions are dis­persed through­out the grounds as the sale of dis­pos­able wa­ter bot­tles on cam­pus has ceased. Bath­rooms are equipped with wa­ter-sav­ing de­vices and more hand-dry­ers are be­ing in­stalled. The meals served on cam­pus lean in­creas­ingly to­wards veg­eta­bles, fruits and other eth­i­cally-sourced con­sumer items.

The school’s goal to achieve the Eco Schools Green Flag sta­tus ne­ces­si­tates an ob­ser­vance of en­ergy con­sump­tion, lit­ter, re­cy­cling and wa­ter us­age. “We’ve even in­tro­duced cy­cle shel­ters to en­cour­age stu­dents to cy­cle to school,” says Gavin.

IN­TER­NA­TIONAL SCHOOL OF KUALA LUMPUR The In­ter­na­tional School of Kuala Lumpur’s (ISKL) Am­pang Hilir Cam­pus will be the first Malaysian school to achieve Green Build­ing In­dex Plat­inum sta­tus when it opens in Au­gust 2018. This non-profit, par­ent-gov­erned school has al­ready achieved the Eco-school Green Flag sta­tus through its com­mit­ment to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment.

ISKL’S Ed­u­ca­tion for Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment curriculum is one way the school pro­motes en­vi­ron­men­tal stud­ies along­side co-cur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties. The full-time po­si­tion of Sus­tain­abil­ity and Ser­vice Learn­ing Co­or­di­na­tor was cre­ated to help teach­ers in­te­grate en­vi­ron­men­tal preser­va­tion skills into the cur­ric­ula and cul­ti­vate stu­dent lead­er­ship in wide-reach­ing green ini­tia­tives.

ISKL’S Green Coun­cil is stu­dent-led, as re­quired by the Eco-schools Pro­gramme’s par­tic­i­pa­tion guide­lines. The stu­dents are ac­tively ex­posed to nu­mer­ous op­por­tu­ni­ties to make a dif­fer­ence in their cities and com­mu­ni­ties via co-cur­ric­u­lar en­vi­ron­men­tal projects like Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity or Earth Week. The Earth Club for sec­ondary stu­dents or pri­mary level ac­tiv­i­ties like Green Earth, Ecoart, Green Guardians and Model United Na­tions aim to in­spire habits like re­cy­cling, com­post­ing and waste man­age­ment along­side other forms of com­mu­nity out­reach.

TENBY IN­TER­NA­TIONAL SCHOOL MIRI Tenby In­ter­na­tional School Miri has op­er­ated from its pur­pose-built Se­nadin cam­pus since 2013. Un­der the Eco Schools Pro­gramme, Tenby Miri hopes to achieve bronze sta­tus this year. The school’s ‘Eco-war­riors’ com­mit­tee con­sists of two stu­dents each from Years 6 to 11 who are tasked with mon­i­tor­ing over­all cam­pus eco-friend­li­ness each day.

From air con­di­tion­ers left on af­ter class to lit­ter­ing on cam­pus, these stu­dents can is­sue red thumbs-down stick­ers to call out poor prac­tices or green thumbs-up stick­ers (ex­change­able for House points) to re­ward eco-friendly habits.

“We have a lot of re­spon­si­bil­ity as Eco-war­riors which we take very se­ri­ously. It’s re­ally help­ing us to un­der­stand how our school works and where we can make im­prove­ments,” says Year 9 stu­dent Phyl­lis Ong.

“We are mak­ing a dif­fer­ence al­ready; other stu­dents are com­ing to us with ideas for re­cy­cling and other ar­eas to work on,” adds Charles Ford, a Year 6 stu­dent and Eco-war­riors team mem­ber.

Stu­dents of all ages will soon get to par­tic­i­pate in Tenby’s EcoGar­den project, where they will learn the gar­den­ing and ir­ri­ga­tion tech­niques they need to grow herbs, spices, fruits, flow­ers, and veg­eta­bles that will later be used in the school cafe­te­ria.

Martin Shel­ley, the sec­ondary school co­or­di­na­tor in charge of these eco-ac­tiv­i­ties, says the Eco-gar­den is nearly fin­ished and may soon in­clude a rain­wa­ter sup­ply, com­post­ing sys­tems, and more lo­cal plants and trees.

“Our Eco-war­riors are al­ready hard at work mon­i­tor­ing lit­ter­ing and the use of elec­tric­ity in the school. We are well on the way to our goal of a 20 per cent re­duc­tion in elec­tric­ity us­age.” Martin says. EL


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