Yesterday, April 22, may have been the official Earth Day holiday, but why celebrate just once a year when you can do so the whole month? That’s just the question students are asking themselves at International School of Beijing (ISB) where April has been deemed “Earth Month.”
At ISB, student-led green programs at all levels called on their fellow students and families to do their part on behalf of the environment. One of these groups is the elementary school’s division of Roots & Shoots (R&S), a club leading the way by coming up with environmentally friendly activities each day of the week in April. With the help of their mentoring teachers, ISB elementary school R&S members have asked their parents and peers to take part in No Meat Mondays, Stinky Tuesdays (shorter or no shower), Recycle Wednesdays, Earth Color Thursdays, and Green Transport Fridays, where students are encouraged to walk, ride a bike, or carpool to school. Click here for more information about the elementary school’s Earth Month agenda.
In ISB’s middle school division, the R&S also organized a “Reuse-a-thon,” a collection drive of clothes, shoes, school supplies, books, electronics, and toys either to be donated to a local orphanage or Roundabout, a non-profit organization run by volunteers that accepts donations from the community and distributes them to people in need. The middle school has also been holding “Upcycle events,” throughout the month; after school crafting evenings where students learn how to turn old t-shirts into new reusable items.
At the high school level, an ISB specific organization called the Green Keepers, organized its second “sleep out.” For the event, students camp out over night at school and experlive green for the evening without the use of technology. Money for the event will go to a river clean-up project the group is launching. The Green Keepers was set up by a student from Grade 7. Other environmental initiatives of the high school included meeting with mentors to consider the unique environmental challenges of running a school and collaborating to establish ways to operate in more sustainable ways.
Roots & Shoots has been active in the Beijing community for 20 years, this past Saturday marking the first student organized Roots and Shoots Earth Day hosted by BSB Shunyi. Participating schools included YCIS, BCIS, ISB (although ISB was unable to attend), and BSB. The event celebrated the work of Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots organization on its 20th anniversary in China. Read more about the R&S Earth day event.
Fortunately, ISB is among the many international schools in the Beijing community adapting the idea that individual actions can result in changing behaviors permanently. These sort of winning attitudes are just what mother nature called for.
Photo courtesy of ISB