For over 45 years, Earth Day has been bringing communities and organisations together to advocate for a healthier environment and a sustainable way of life. Now over one billion people in 192 countries participate in Earth Day activities, making it the largest civic observance in the world.
Here at Dulwich College Suzhou, students and staff are leading the way to ensure a healthy and sustainable future for the College. Here are some of our achievements so far:
- Reduced energy consumption in our Senior School by around 17% - that means 17% less carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
- We have reduced our paper consumption by 158,000 pages - that’s 19 trees saved. And we only use Forest Stewardship Council paper to make sure the wood used to make our paper comes from sustainable sources.
- Our coffee shops serve UTZ certified coffee, which supports the development of sustainable farming and the livelihood of farmers who do all the hard work to provide us with our cup of coffee.
- By collecting and recycling water we have saved over 14,000 tonnes of water - enough to provide our students with their daily water needs for 98 days. That's more than half the school year.
Our Eco Council students organised and planned many events and activities for Earth Day. These are some of the activities:
- DUCKS and Junior School students attached their environmental pledges to a Green Promise Tree. “I will recycle and make a robot using recycled boxes,” promised Sophie in Year 2. “I will turn off the tap when I brush my teeth,” pledged Eun in Year 1.
- Contributions from a Free Dress Day on Earth Day provided funds for future school projects. The students wore Earth Day colours.
- Students held a sale of plants and baked goods from the DUCKS garden in DUCKS and Junior School. The proceeds were donated to the World Wildlife Fund for animal adoption and to SAPA, a local animal shelter.
- Eleven trees were planted in our sustainable forest.
- There was a vegetarian menu in the restaurants for lunch that day.
- Junior School students held a trash fashion competition ending with a fashion show.
- There was a full day of events in the Senior School involving planting, cooking, bird box making, filmmaking and a trash fashion show.
- Tours were held for the Senior School students around the campus, providing information about our carbon footprint, and debates were held on sustainability and the environment.
Green Tigers Go Vegetarian
At our Climate Conference in 2017 students from across the Dulwich network came together and agreed to eight commitments to reduce our impact on the environment and improve sustainability. Two of these commitments related to our food:
Commitment 3: Reduce our food waste.
Commitment 4: Eat more sustainably by eating more vegetarian dishes, more organic food and less red meat, and by growing our own.
Our Junior School students found out some interesting facts about the impact on the environment of eating meat, red meat in particular. Land used to raise animals rather than crops means precious water and soil are lost, trees are cut down to clear the land and untreated animal waste pollutes rivers. It has a devastating effect on all aspects of our environment and is listed as the second biggest environmental hazard facing the Earth by the Union of Concerned Scientists. (Number one is fossil-fuelled vehicles.) It is reported that 51% or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture. Did you know?
- It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce a pound of meat but only 25 gallons to produce a pound of wheat.
- Producing one hamburger uses enough fossil fuel to drive a small car 20 miles.
- A typical pig factory generates the same amount of raw waste as a town of 12,000 people.
- The world’s cattle alone consume a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people – more than the total population on Earth.
The Junior School Eco Council were very enthusiastic about helping to encourage the whole school community to eat less meat but they felt that meant there had to be some delicious vegetarian alternatives.
Our Green Tigers came up with five healthy vegetarian recipes, which they thought we would all enjoy, but they needed testing. The dishes they chose were Spanish Omelette, Korean Glass Noodles, Cheesy Vegetarian Burgers, Skinny Carrot Fries and Stuffed Jacket Potatoes. Chartwells, our caterers, put together a cooking class for our Eco Councillors with their regional chef and nutritionist, so they could make the recipes for themselves and of course, get to try them at the end.
The food was delicious and the result is that these healthy vegetarian options, tried and tested by our students, are available in our restaurants.
Celeste, one of the students who took part in the project said, “It was a really fun day and something which we could do all together. We had loads of time to cook and eat and I can’t wait to eat them for lunch! I hope it will be on the menu because what we did was actually really tasty and good for the environment. Don’t eat too much meat!”
DUCKS creating Bird Feeders
Our Green Tigers have been designing and creating birdfeeders to use in their new playground to encourage more birds to the area. They started the project by getting some ideas from the internet. They noticed that most of the designs were created using plastic materials. Using plastic for the project was a great idea as it is waterproof and sturdy enough to be in the outdoors. Furthermore, this is a great way for us to recycle our unwanted plastic materials.