In 2000, scientists Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer used the concept of the Anthropocene to describe the time we reached, denoting the ever-increasing effect of humans on the earth. There is not a part of the world that is unaffected by the existence of humans, and this realization brings us to a still worrying, and sometimes moralistic, discussion about the role of humans on this earth.
With the acceleration of climate change, the many natural crises and the multiplication of garbage in our oceans, it is clear that we need to change something in the way we interact with our environment. We have created a disconnection system, where we no longer know how our household items are made. We do not know where they come from or where they go once we’ve used them. If we re-connect the links between production and consumption, we can begin to make connections to the way we interact with it.
If we knew what it takes to make a plastic bag and what happens when it is thrown, it could change the way we think. And it starts with ourselves, our learning and our understanding.
During the past year, Eden School has participated in the Eco-Schools program.
Eco-Schools is the largest and most comprehensive school curriculum that engages and educates young people about critical thinking, environmental thinking and sustainable solutions to the world’s biggest problems. The philosophy of the program begins in class and extends to the community. The foundation is rooted in action-based learning, a process that involves students actively participating in the systems that revolve around them; how they work, what role each student plays as part of the system and how they can change it.
Each school follows a seven-step process that gives these young people the means to lead and act wherever they can. Each school focuses on a topic or theme and explores the challenges it faces under this theme. After having thought about the different possible themes, we chose the waste. We embarked on a journey to discover our role in the consumer system and identify aspects we do not know.
The first steps in the process included the creation of a committee, semi-regular meetings to gather information about our waste habits and to find concrete solutions to some of the problems we face in school.
We engaged with the students and asked them to participate voluntarily in the process. The committee meets once every two weeks. The first few weeks were devoted to producing an environmental assessment of the school and its waste habits. Ideas from these discussions included calculated measures of waste, observations of recycling methods, measurements of the number of bins provided, etc. According to these measures, it was clear to the committee that an action plan was needed to improve the way we treat our waste.
The Eco-School Committee then conducted a school-wide intervention using different types of waste recycling, educating each class on the types of waste to be put in each bin and making sure everything is done. correctly. The next step is monitoring and evaluation. In the coming months, we will collect all the information and create a school-wide eco-code.
As the work of the committee progresses, how are other students involved in this process?
With this mission in mind, we have engaged in various projects through the school curriculum; we started to become more aware of our ecology, our domestic consumption, the waste journey and our planet. In science, we have tried to understand what promotes a healthy and balanced ecosystem.
In mathematics we have calculated how many kilos of waste we produce at school, in art we collected recycled materials and experimented creatively with other ways of using them.
« I think it’s a very good idea. I think it’s a very good project because it tells me what I do at home and at school. – Kelys
Our participation in the Eco-Schools program not only made us aware of the ecology and responsibility of our actions, but also allowed us to focus on an annual school project. We were able to engage on the topic of waste in the different classes. It nourished the imagination and curiosity of the students and created a common mission for the whole school, a community with the same values and the same goal.