How will you make 2018-19 the greenest year yet? We are sharing some great ideas to help students and schools reduce environmental impacts. Get inspired for your plans for September with this story about Northeast Kings Education Center’s epic Earth Week celebrations! Remember, we can celebrate Earth Day every day by changing our habits and helping others learn best practices for wasting less. Do you feel inspired to plan a Green Schools kick-off week with your school? Check out our Resources for more info about what you can do!
The Environment Club at NKEC planned an incredible Earth Week in April of 2018! We want to share exactly how they celebrated so other junior high or high school students can learn to do something similar in the coming school year. We can learn from the experience of other Green Schools from across the province. The Green Schools community is an awesome network that can help!
First, the Environment Club got the students and staff ready for the coming week of events on the theme of Earth Day for 2018: End Plastic Pollution. When we use less plastic, we also waste less energy that goes into producing and disposing of plastic items. Learning more about environmental sustainability problems and the many solutions, for example, from the Global Footprint Network or Project Drawdown, means we are all learning how to make better choices.
This school's Earth week plans included lights out all week for the earth, and educating the school! Everything started with a Friday announcement: How to celebrate Earth Week!
“Don’t forget that next week we will celebrate Earth Week! On Monday you can wear a hat for one dollar and all proceeds go towards an environmental charity. We will also be turning off lights around the school all week long! Make sure that your classroom is using minimal power and we ask students and teachers to turn off unnecessary lights around the school. Turning off the lights reduces energy consumption and helps the environment by decreasing power plant emissions. To generate electricity, most power plants burn fossil fuels. By turning off the lights we can cut down on the detrimental effects of fossil fuel use and help to avoid emissions that cause climate change. Let's reduce energy use this week - and all year long - to prevent rising temperatures, heat waves, drought, higher sea levels, abnormal weather patterns, increased intensity of natural disasters and smog.”
“Today is hat day! Wear a hat for one dollar and don’t forget to get a stamp to show you paid. All money raised goes towards an environmental charity. Tomorrow we encourage everyone to have a wasteless lunch. That means no packaging, plastic wrap, or disposable cutlery will be thrown away from school lunches, and we aim to avoid any food waste, too. Tomorrow our cafeteria will not be giving out any straws to help reduce trash. We can make choices that reduce garbage on our planet by working together to waste less!”
Students in the Environment Club also hung posters that gave options on how everyone can go waste-free, like using a reusable mug, cloth bags, metal straws and utensils, glass jars, and bamboo toothbrushes. Their goal was to inspire everyone to change their norm.
“Today is wasteless lunch day and we hope all of you have tried to limit the waste you brought to school in your lunch. Don’t forget, the cafeteria won’t be giving out straws. Not buying plastic and avoiding single-use items is a very important thing to do because plastic is basically impossible to get rid of. All the plastic that has ever been on the earth is still on the earth. We will be playing a video to show the harmful ways plastic affects our earth and wildlife. Don’t forget to wear green and blue tomorrow! Try to reuse and share clothing, borrow something from a friend or family member. Don’t go out and buy new clothes because that creates more waste.”
Student leaders focused not only on plastic waste but also food waste too! Because their school has video announcements they were able to show Chris Jordan’s ALBATROSS film trailer and one of his images.
“Today we are showing our Titans pride by wearing green and blue clothing. We hope that students and staff tried to reuse or borrow clothing and not buy new things. Buying new clothing from unethical brands contributes to pollution and human exploitation. Buying from mainstream brands who use sweatshops to make their clothes allows them to abuse workers. These mistreatments include poor working conditions, unfair wages, unreasonable hours, child labour, and a lack of benefits for workers. There is also a huge negative environmental impact with unethical brands due to water pollution caused by textile factories and the toxic chemicals used to create textiles. Untreated chemicals often get released into nature, polluting waterways or groundwater sources. These examples are just the start. There are ways to avoid these impacts, for example, by repurposing and sharing clothes. Where you spend your money is a vote for what you want! We will also be streaming A Plastic Ocean for any class who is interested in watching.”
Clothing waste is a huge issue so it is important that everyone starts thinking about not only reusing and sharing but also the environmental and social impact of purchases.
“Today during last period we encourage classes to go for a walk on the trail and pick up garbage! The importance of recycling and cutting out plastic use is so important. The plastic you use and the waste you create doesn’t just affect you and your neighbourhood but also every living thing on earth. So be conscious and care because we only have one earth!”
The Environment Club at NKEC showed the Short Film: Kids Take Action Against Ocean Plastic and another Chris Jordan photo to the whole school. They wanted students to be inspired to make a change in their everyday lives. They ended their fabulous and inspiring week with a hope that students and staff learned how to live lighter on the earth and that these new habits will continue throughout the year.
“We hope earth week has helped to explain and educate everyone on environmental issues! Don’t forget you can be environmentally aware every day of the year! Today we will be live streaming The Lorax.”
When we learn and spread awareness about real-world problems and solutions, we are all empowered to waste less.
~Natalie McMaster, Engagement Officer & Colleen Freake, Program Coordinator