So Green School Bali is quite the pioneer when it comes to education on sustainability and innovation. It has gotten international attention and recognition and many, small and great, environmentalists wish to visit and get involved. But for different reasons, not everyone can arrange to pay a visit. So in this article I am going to attempt to give advice on bringing the Green School philosophy, to you!
Here are some of our ideas that anyone can (and should) adopt in their own school or institution to create a holistic environment like Green School. After all, simple habits make the greatest impact; Bali weather and a Bamboo Catheral are not reeeeeally required (though I admit, I’m not complaining).
1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
- Separating waste is about the easiest way for a school or company to contribute to the prevention of resource depletion.
- Start a compost centre! All of the food leftovers, as well as the banana leaves we serve food on, can be piled up with manure and used to create a soil fertilizer. This one is especially relevant if your school has a garden.
- Make a whiteboard out of a car’s windscreen.
- Buy the minimal amount of school supplies. Especially at the start of a new school year, consider wether you really do need a whole new pencil case + content. Green School notebooks are made from recycled paper, but in the high school, we mainly use laptops.
- Design a water catchment system, to generate hydro energy and recuse (grey) water. To be honest this plan hasn’t gone into operation yet, but in my Permaculture class, I and a bunch of other students are working on getting the resources together.
- Carpool to school with students living close to you, to save fuel. Some of the cars in the Green School parking lot, provide transport to students of six different families. But obviously if you can go to school by bike or foot that’s even better.
- Don’t abuse the air-conditioner (or the heater). Open (or close) the windows to control the temperature. If you are in a building with uncontrollable windows, at least check that it is well insulated (so the minimal use of airco/heater has an optimal effect). As most of the Green School buildings are open, natural breezes come in so we don’t need air-conditioning. On a sweaty day, there are a bunch of vans that people might turn on, but due to smart architecture Green School has become extremely cost and energy efficient when it comes to managing the temperature.
- Don’t abuse the light switch. If no one’s in a room, turn it off; if the sun provides enough light, turn it off. Again, since most buildings here are open, the lamps are hardly ever on. But since Green School is quite unique and most school buildings don’t have open classrooms, you might just want to advise the head of your school to switch from incandescent to fluorescent lightbulbs.
2. Plead for learning outside of classrooms
- Plead for classes that involve going out into the world and practicing physical and social skills. Some examples include: gardening (Permaculture), carpentry (Building a Go Kart), sales & surveys (Sociology and Enterprise Studies). It’s refreshing to work on projects that require both sophisticated planning and peaceful elaboration.
- Plead for service (field)trips: Now, we have the advantage of Enrichment Wednesdays, when all high school students are given time to work on innovative projects (most of them for a charity purpose) that include many visits to the Bird Park, local schools, orphanages, gardens. But not every other school system believes in that philosophy. They may say, their schedulles can’t afford to spent a full day enriching (though, what else is the point of school). But you can also plan a week-long service trip (possibly during a holiday). We, for example had our MUN-team go to Taiwan last week and another group is going to India soon, to visit a Women’s Rights Drama Festival.
- Start the morning with some meditation or stretching exercises, depending on wether you feel stiff or stressed.
- Celebrate all there is to celebrate! Since I enrolled in Green School in January of this year, I have celebrated Carnival, Sariswati, Nyepi (Ogoh Ogoh parade), Spirit Week, VDay, Battle of the Bands, International Food Day, Bill Bailey showing his documentary, basketball tournaments and so on. There are extra-extracurricular activities going on all the time. Most of which are organized by students. I, for example, was actively involved in the planning of the Carnival, VDay and Earthday, which is coming up.
3. Eat Healthier
- Insert a day in the week everyone eats vegetarian food. It loosens up the diehard carnivores and it saves carbon emissions, which prevents global warming a tiny little bit!
- Replace the vending machine by a fresh snacks-stand/warung. During break and lunch and after school one of our on-campus-warungs bakes the best banana bread, brownies, quesadillas, etc. and sells it, as well as nuts and fruits. And all that under the school’s ‘No Sugar’ policy, which means they use alternative sweeteners like honey. Besides the drinks aren’t bottled and the snacks aren’t packaged, which reduces plastic consumption once again.
So there you have it. Now go out there and inject your communities with some Green School habits.