The future belongs to our youth at The International School of Paphos. We believe only by engaging our students in environmental awareness can we hope to help our planet survive. This care for our planet starts at a young age and as we teach students from 2 ½ to 19 years old, we have the unique opportunity to nurture a child’s development by making good life choices for the ecology surrounding us. As educators, it is our duty to illustrate the consequence of options, not just now but also in the future, in order to develop rounded, positive global citizens. Many people rise to a challenge and therefore a challenge that anyone however young can engage in, was the key to our action for the environment this year. A challenge to a person, or family under pandemic conditions has to be thought through, but if channeled appropriately can alter the family’s way of life and make significant impact on the environment taking into consideration the contribution by the number of families in a school.
We continue to be an Eco-School, and after 10 years of challenging our students to accentuate their contribution to our planet, we have to be creative in how to engage our students, whilst continuing to challenge them into new ways of reducing their carbon footprint, reducing their waste, decreasing their consumption and increasing the ‘green’ around them. The Philanthropy Club, run by students online through our Microsoft Teams platforms has continued to perform throughout the year being involved in projects and activities. Many of these ideas this year linked to the Eco-Schools activities.
The month-long Environmental Challenge was run during March – April and started with Earth Hour, encouraging all to switch off their lights and share the message on 24th March. From this date onwards, each day there was a different challenge designed by students for others to participate in. These activities varied from looking as well known recycling projects to lesser-known pollution issues such as noise and light. Each activity / challenge was designed in such a manner that an individual or family could participate at whatever age. Hopefully some of these actions would be small enough to become part of the daily lives of the families and students due to our encouragement. The students who participate will also receive a sprout pencil as a reward.
One of the challenges is to full the turtle ‘Kosmas’. The turtle was donated by the Eco-School’s team to collect plastic. The initiative of this is to ensure that the plastic is not only recycled, but also that the amount that we generate is on view so students are aware of how much we are impacting the planet.
Another challenge is RESTORE OUR EARTH Field trip in school. This is for our students (age 7-14) to participate in a field trip, although due to COVID restrictions we cannot leave the school. During the day, students participate in planting seeds, cuttings and each year group will plant and adopt a fruit tree to look after during their time at school. The graduating class will then pass this tree onto the newest students care for to. During the day, students also learn about the parts of a plant we eat, why we need insects, look for these insects, build an insect hotel and make coral polyps to understand that the environment is not just on land. The students will have a chance to clean up different areas around the school and learn why recycling is so important.
All of these challenges and activities have to be interesting to motivate our students to get up and do something. They also have to be small enough to be manageable and important enough that the students see they are making a difference. This is the key, by working together, taking small steps, we can make a difference. By maintaining this momentum, we can make it the norm and therefore create a generational change.