Sustainability has many facets that go well beyond carbon offsetting and the use of electric cars. It embodies everything from intellectual growth and social responsibility, to emotional maturity and physical wellbeing.
‘Going green’, as it’s often called, involves some effort. But the effort is worth it, since it can also have a positive affect on your school and students in the long-run. Whether that means better food options at the cafeteria, or reduced waste costs and much more.
We at CAS Trips are on the cusp of a huge new sustainability announcement – stay tuned for our website update! In the meantime, we have put together three simple things that can be done to become a more sustainable school.
What is Sustainability?
Before we get into the details – let’s take a minute to define sustainability. It is a hot topic, and definitely a buzzword. It is discussed in corporate boardrooms and at global conferences like The World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, where leading corporations and politicians discussed the most pressing issues, including global climate change.
Greta Thunberg, an environmentalist teenager, who attended WEF said “We owe it to the young people, to give them hope. I want you to act … as if the house was on fire. Because it is.”
Global climate change is a major concern in our countries, cities, towns and local communities – so we have to act now to make the world a better place for the generations to come.
Below you will find the top three things that your school can do to become more sustainable:
1. Upcycle & Recycle
Yes, we know – schools produce a lot of waste and not all paperwork can be done electronically. But no worries, there are many ways you can work around the problem. For example, you can upcycle: meaning reusing something for a new and greater purpose!
The goal of upcycling is to prevent wasting potentially useful materials by making use of existing ones. It may be the perfect opportunity for a school art project.
The classic recycling is also a great opportunity, especially with the amount of paper a school uses. Just turn over the page and use it to jot down notes, give it to your students for a quick quiz, etc. Also, before printing make sure you really need to print what you’re about to, and don’t print too many copies.
2. Reduce Food Waste
Food waste is the food that is discarded or lost because we are not eating it. The causes of food waste are numerous, and occur at various stages of producing, processing, retailing and consuming. Global food waste is estimated to amount to between one-third and one-half of all food produced. That’s a huge amount!
The majority of schools are at the last stage of the food chain – i.e. consuming. Why not start a food waste project that involves various subjects from the curriculum, including math and science, for example?
Have a team of students lead the process of finding out how much food waste the school has, what type of food waste it is, and find solutions. Maybe you could work together with a non for profit organization that comes to collect food that would otherwise go to waste, and donate it to the poor. This is also a great opportunity to participate in our famous Changemakers Challenge – a framework to give students the guidance to collaborate, create and implement a long-term project that will make a positive difference in your community.
3. Add Sustainability to Your Curriculum
Besides recycle programs and reducing food waste, there is one thing that every school should be doing: incorporating sustainability into the curriculum. We find ourselves learning all about a the human heart, the strengths of different bridges, the causes and consequences of World War I – but what about our future?
What about teaching how we can live in a globalized world that will exist after we no longer do? By incorporating sustainability into the curriculum, you will give students the opportunity to learn something for life and shape them to become better global citizens.
At CAS Trips we base our sustainability efforts on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). There are a lot of online tools that help schools integrate the UN SDGs into their surrounding. From primary to to high school – there is a lot to be done.
We hope that this blog post has inspired you to inspire your students to commit to change. Every effort counts in order to ensure that our house does not catch on fire.