Yesterday afternoon, the student members of the TES tri-Section eco-committee and the heads of the French, German and British primary schools signed the TES Eco-School Action Plan 2018-2019. It consists of five concrete and measurable objectives that will be the starting point for a number of projects involving almost all of our students this school year.
These objectives were defined following last year’s Environmental Review of TES’ current practices, which involved investigations by primary classes and meetings between the TES eco-committee and the directors of TES, who answered the students’ questions frankly – no matter how tricky they were. It was an opportunity for all of us, including me, to find out more about the running of TES. Where exactly does all of our rubbish go? Why are we producing so much waste? What is our monthly electricity bill? Why, when it is 18 degrees outside do we set the AC to 25, and when it 25 outside, to 18? (No one can answer that last one for me.)
I know that the Eco-School project means a lot to our students (some of them are giving their parents a really hard time – criticising their every non-eco move. Let me reassure you, they are the same with their teachers, and I personally feel a pang of guilt every time I forget my reusable coffee cup). I know that our students are ready to rise to the challenges of the Action Plan: reducing waste, decreasing electricity use, involving everyone and collaborating with other schools.
The last objective is, in my opinion, an important one. We cannot save the planet alone. Children and young people have no choice but to get a handle on the environmental question – sustainable development features on almost every school curriculum in the world. Students learn by doing, which is why we attach such importance to the Eco-School project, launched and coordinated by Mr Dawson, and adhered to today by all of TES. It is a project that allows our students put their learning into practice, to take real, decisive, measurable action in the world of adults that surrounds them, to make a significant, lasting difference to the way their school is run and to do something good for their community.
It is a wide-ranging, ambitious pedagogical project that we should be proud of. It also demonstrates our desire to work with the other Sections of TES on a meaningful basis, allowing our students to experience diversity in a more tangible way than they do during other theme days and events. Which is not to say that the other events do not have their interest, it is simply that the Eco-School project facilitates working groups of students from diverse backgrounds. A child in a committee or sub-committee could find themselves working with a Swiss student, an Indian student, a Taiwanese student and a Danish one. They come together united by their desire to make the Eco-School project work, they make the effort to go beyond language and cultural differences in order to understand each other and find the best possible solutions to the issues they are facing.
As is often the case, it is the kids who are guiding the way; us adults need to shrug off our old habits and learn what the kids know already: that their world at TES is their world of the future.
Have an excellent weekend