Our surroundings are indispensable to our survival. Hence, environmental conservation has become a high priority the world over, owing to climate crisis, pollution, land degradation, etc. Environmental awareness can be attained by changing the attitude of our youngsters. They need to become skilled enough to understand the intricacies of environmental degradation with a problem-solving mind-set. Education institutes can play a vital role in skilling and inculcating a positive approach among them.
At St. Edmund’s, we began working diligently in this direction since 2015, when we got associated with the Green Schools Programme of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), New Delhi. Their initiative engaged our young Edmundites and staff members in various projects and offered them a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding the environment.
One such project was about waste-to-wealth, which sensitized our children towards waste management. Children tried to visualise and analyse how different waste materials can be reused or recycled in different ways. They also developed an entrepreneurial instinct, under a school activity whereby they were encouraged to start an enterprise. They began their venture with a zero sum balance with each student contributing either old newspapers or plant saplings to the enterprise. They sold the newspapers to a rug shop and saplings to customers during a parent-teacher’s meeting, and collected almost Rs. 5,000. In this way, they learnt the importance of money and how to generate it. Such skills are encouraged under our courses on financial management and literacy, where students inculcate them through learning-by-doing. Funds generated through such activities are used for hosting community service projects, which orients the young minds towards social service.
The waste-to-wealth project fulfilled various learning objectives, like environment protection, practising green habits, money management, teamwork, and much more. That’s how our children have become young waste warriors. Currently, we are also aiming to teach organic composting to them. Children who bring fruits or their peels in lunchboxes are asked to dispose them in a compost machine to make manure. The fruit seeds are used for growing saplings. Thus, subjects like Science, Biology, and Chemistry become more interesting and practical for them. Such experiential learning also eliminates the phobia about these disciplines.
With CSE’s endeavour, our students have transformed into enlightened green ambassadors. Our teachers have benefitted from their Climate Change Course and our school has even won the prestigious Green School’s Award. As this journey continues, we look forward to evolving new ways of combating the imminent environmental challenges.