A sustainability pop-up was held in 2018

Last year Elphin students came to the Penquite campus and held a Sustainability Pop-up to highlight the actions we can take to minimise our effect on the environment and combat climate change in our part of the world. At the same time, a group of Year 10 ‘Eco-warriors’ were looking at waste and recycling on the Penquite campus. In March this year, the College held events on the ‘Day of Action for Climate Change’ and a representative group of senior student leaders attended the rally at City Park.

In a local action to address this global issue, the Elphin campus recently completed an audit of all the rubbish that the Junior School produces in a day. This was done at the start of the week to get a baseline quantity and then again at the end of the week to see if collectively, the students and staff could reduce the waste they produced. Since then, rubbish bins have been removed from the playground. When it is no longer easy to just throw our rubbish in the nearest bin, it makes us stop and think about how much rubbish we actually produce and the behaviours we have to change to reduce waste. Whilst recycling is great, it’d be even better if we didn’t produce the waste in the first place.

As the election campaign has gained momentum, the issue of climate change has shone through as one of the, if not ‘the’, key issue of the election, especially for younger voters. This was reinforced by a conversation at a Year 11 lunch this week with the students confirming it as the big issue facing the world at the moment.

Our students have made a number of collective statements recently and now is the time to put in place long-term and sustainable actions that support what has been done on individual occasions across the College. It was agreed by the students at the Year 11 lunch that all of our senior students are leaders – the younger students look up to them and follow their lead. Collectively, they have an opportunity to effect real change in a local context with the bigger picture in mind – that was the challenge staff gave the Year 11s. The College will readily work with our students and support meaningful projects and changes that will have a positive impact on our environment. As Nic Draper said in his climate change video in March, “What will you do?”

Andy Müller