Sustainability is one of the Five Streams of Leadership at SMUS.
Before the break, anticipating Earth Week in the middle of April, I had the pleasure of talking to some Junior School students on the “Green Team” and asking them questions about the environment. I will be interviewing students at the Middle and Senior Schools next week.
The Green Team
Mrs. Nason asked some members of the “Green Team” to meet with me in the library and I had the pleasure to speak to Grade 4 students Meredith S., Terra, Emma J., Isabella, Fionnuala, and Christopher E., as well as to Grade 5 students Emily H. and Saisha. These students are on the Green Team because they “care about the environment and want to make it better” (Saicha).
Recycling and Composting
This focus on the environment is reflected in the expansion of the recycling program at the Junior School and Christopher’s goal is the same as the rest of the school because he “wants to recycle and not put anything into the dump.” Concerned about the habitat for animals, Emily also wants to protect nature. Isabella knows that “we can help the environment through better recycling and composting” and explained that the Junior School is using a new composting and recycling company that will now be able to accept much more into the compost to avoid having it go to the landfills. In many classrooms, there are stackable bins that provide space to sort waste from lunches and classroom activities. These bins can be emptied into larger bins that will be collected regularly. Terra suggests that “if you know something can be recycled, put it there.” Fionnuala shared her advice with the rest of the students to “try your best to look to sort your waste before it goes in the garbage” while Saisha and Emma add that we should all “pay attention to where you put your garbage, try to see if the material goes into recycling first and then go to the garbage.”
Emily had the catchy phrase: “Think Before You Throw!”
The Junior School students have all received a blue SMUS Eco Bag. The funds for these bags were generously donated by the Parents’ Auxiliary, designed by art teacher Chris Bateman and organized by teacher and parent Laura Keziere. The bags will be a good reminder that as a school, we are trying to reduce our ecological footprint. A significant piece to limiting the amount that ends up in the landfill is to reduce the waste (like plastic bags) we are producing says Isabella.
Meredith knows that another way to reduce our waste is to “try not to bring litter in our lunches.” The students made suggestions such as using containers that can be reused and buying things that have less packaging.
I found this short video on packing a waste-free lunch that I found helpful: