The impacts of climate change and the awareness of the devastating effects that rubbish – particularly plastics – and pollution can have on our health, nature, and the oceans are becoming well known. However, there is still much work to be done, and for there to be a substantive change, great efforts need to be made by everyone — young and old.
Informing children from an early age about the importance of protecting our local, national, and global environments is extremely important. This is why the students at YCIS Pudong Primary recently took part in a school-wide Environmental Awareness Week to not only learn about this topic, but also to be equipped to inform others about how everyone’s individual choices are impactful and can affect plants, animals, ocean life, people, and more.
The week began with ‘Meat-Free Monday’, where students ate vegetarian options during their mealtimes. This was a great way of showing alternative diets to the students and helping them to learn more about the environmental impacts of meat production processes. The students enjoyed trying some new foods and appreciated being able to see how they could make choices that would benefit the planet.
During the week, one of the students’ efforts to raise awareness was through an incredible display – housed in the indoor courtyard at the Regency Park Campus – adorned with colourful animals and facts about the environment. The display also complimented the students’ UN Global Goals designs which are featured on the windows of the second floor of the Primary building. The Global Goals posters feature themes such as protecting the oceans, recycling, and building better cities. Although these were created before the Environmental Awareness Week, they demonstrate the students’ broader learning and understanding of this far-reaching topic.
The week culminated in a whole-school assembly, where the students gathered together to reflect on their learning, share their findings with their peers, and enjoy seeing everyone wearing incredibly creative home-made animal and environment-themed costumes that the students and their parents made for the event. Awards were handed out to recognise the creative costumes, and the week drew to a close with our Primary students having a greater understanding of what just one person can accomplish to make the planet a better and healthier place for all living things.
At YCIS Pudong, there are many opportunities for students of all ages to learn and do more when it comes to protecting the environment. Along with Environmental Awareness Week, there are subject-focused assignments and school-wide efforts that bolster students’ knowledge. In Secondary, one such example is the ‘Stop Single-Use Shanghai’ campaign, which began as an objective from the school’s Global Issues Network (GIN) Co-Curricular Activity (CCA) and is now overseen by students from another popular CCA, the Environmental Awareness Committee. The students have designed and hung posters around the school to raise awareness, have sold mugs to stop single use of tea/coffee cups, and are currently working on designs for an environmentally-friendly re-usable water bottle.
Another tremendous initiative has been the development of a portable eco-garden, something that was started from scratch at YCIS Pudong Primary and has been adapted by Secondary students from the Environmental Awareness Committee, who are hoping to develop a permanent eco-garden that can grow plants and utilise food waste to make organic compost. This work, again, represents a forward-thinking, collaborative, and caring mentality when it comes to sustainability and environmental awareness at YCIS Pudong.
Finally, the school is deeply committed to working with the Shanghai Roots and Shoots organisation on their ‘Million Tree Project’, which, as the name suggests, aims to plant millions of new trees in China. Not only have funds been raised at the school toward this great project, but YCIS students from Year 12 have also visited Inner Mongolia a number of times to assist in the planting of trees personally, and students will be going again in early March to help personally make a difference.
Students at YCIS learn from an early age that the future is theirs and the world is a beautiful and diverse place to live. The school provides students with much food for thought and aims to assist them in becoming globally-minded citizens, and having opportunities such as Environmental Awareness Week, to create their own initiatives that improve the lives and environment of others. This fits perfectly with our school motto of “aligning with love and charity”.