We are year two eight students at the British School in the Netherlands and we have chosen to focus on Sustainability Day in Equality Week. More information about our Equality Week can be found in the article ‘Equality week blog!’. We wanted to focus on sustainability because we think it is important that the younger generation is aware of the environment and knows how to protect it. We are proud to be at a school that has committed to reducing their carbon footprint together with the students.
At the BSN, we strongly encourage ecologically friendly behaviour. We are very focused on reducing our carbon footprint. This article will focus on the Sustainability Day in our yearly Equality Week and some recent actions of our school. Equality Week is a week where awareness is created for important topics such as mental health, internationality and sustainability. This year’s Equality Week took place from the 7th March to the 13th March. The week was a huge success and there are photographs and interviews taken that can be seen below.
On the 8th March we focused on equality and respect for the environment. This year it was mainly about ocean pollution. It is important that awareness is created for ocean pollution as this is a huge problem for sea animals. Each year a stunning amount of waste including oil, fertilizers and toxic chemicals. This of course has a huge impact on sea inhabitants and workers such as fisherman. 80% of all marine pollution comes from land based sources such as oil and vehicle waste caused by humans. Over one million seabirds and one hundred thousand mammals die each year from ocean pollution. Isn’t that a reason enough for us to act? It is shocking that all these animals have to suffer because of humanities incapability to get rid of our waste in an ecologically friendly way.
“The kids are the future.” – WWF representative
This is why it is so important that schools like the BSN inform their students about the environment and how to lead a sustainable life. The World Wildlife Fund also informs other age groups as well as visiting schools and universities. Throughout lunch break, the students could participate on a collage made from plastic waste that often ends up in seas. Plastic is the substance that is most found in oceans causing huge problems because it takes 450 years to biodegrade. It is also often considered as food by sea animals who can then choke and die. Save an animal: reuse your plastic bottles!
During the Sustainability Day, some volunteers from the WWF came to visit us and talk about their aim. They talked about how we could improve the marine wildlife with very simple actions. In our interview, the representative gave us a very simple advice on how to reduce our carbon footprint.
“Anything that has a high carbon footprint, you can avoid.” – WWF representative
Some other top tips were to look out for what we buy for food, how we travel and recycling. When we buy food, it is always better for it to be seasonal or regional as it means that it didn’t travel very far to get to you. When you are travelling, it is always better to go by bike, or if you are travelling far, by public transport. We encourage other schools to adopt paper and plastic bins so that we recycle more.
One of our recent actions towards reducing our carbon footprint has been that every member of the school, students and teachers, have planted a tree at the back of our school pitch. There was a different range of trees to choose from such as the Mountain Ash or the Blackcurrant Tree, which were both very popular. The plants have been growing each day, motivating the students to take more action in reducing their carbon footprint. We are fully aware that alone our act is not powerful enough, but our hope is that if we keep doing actions like these, other schools in the world will start replicating these events, and then it will create a real difference.
We interviewed many people on whether they thought that this act had been useful or significant. A few of the answers given summarized very effectively what we have been hoping to achieve.
“We talk about doing really good things for the environment, but here we get the opportunity to actually change something and see what it does to the world.” -Amelia, Year 8
We are looking forward to taking part in many of these activities in the years that follow, and we hope that step by step, we will have a real impact.
By Marlène & Franziska