Earth Day 2016
For over 45 years, Earth Day has been bringing communities and organisations together to advocate for a healthier environment and a sustainable 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 the great 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.
Over the past few weeks our Eco Council students have been organising and planning many events and activities which were then implemented on 22 April, Earth Day. These are some of the activities:
- A Green Promise Tree in DUCKS and Junior School was set up for the students to attach their environmental pledges. “I will recycle and make a robot using recycled boxes” -Sophie Hallam EL2. “I will turn off the tap when I brush my teeth” - Ye Eun Year 1
- Contributions from a Free Dress Day on Earth Day provided funds for future school projects. The students had to wear Earth Day colours.
- There was a sale of baked goods and plants from the DUCKS garden in DUCKS and Junior School. Funds raised are going towards animal adoption with World Wildlife Fund and for SAPA, a local animal shelter.
- 11 more trees were planted in our sustainable forest.
- There was a vegetarian menu in the restaurants for lunch that day and no red meat dishes
- 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, film making 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.
At our Climate Conference last term students from across the Dulwich network came together and agreed 8 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, less red meat, organic food and growing our own.
Since then we have had two red meat free days in our school restaurants with another planned for later this month. We are also monitoring our food waste everyday so we can put plans in place to reduce it. However, our students still wanted to do more.
Last term 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 5 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 we will see these healthy vegetarian options, tried and tested by our students, available in our restaurants very soon.
Celeste, one of the students who was involved 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!”
"We would like to attract birds to our natural environment. We care for little animals so that they are well fed in winter. The birds can get ready and start nesting in spring"
-By Green Tigers DUCKS
The first Dulwich Climate Conference drew to a close on Saturday after an inspiring two days for students, guests and staff. Attended by over 100 students from across the Dulwich group, the conference included charismatic guest speakers and expert led workshops, but more importantly it was led by the students. They listened, asked challenging questions and worked together to identify areas where they could make a real difference in terms of sustainability and our impact on the environment.
Doug Allan, keynote speaker at the conference, is one of the world’s best known and respected cameramen with 8 Emmy’s and 4 BAFTA’s to his name so far. He specialises in natural history, expeditions and science documentaries in some of the wildest and most remote places on our planet from the polar zones to the upper reaches of Everest. He has worked for the BBC, Discovery, National Geographic and many others on series including The Blue Planet, Planet Earth, Life, Human Planet and Frozen Planet. Mr Allan shared his first-hand experience from the Arctic and Antarctic, the effects of climate change on our environment and the impact it is having on our wildlife. He also showed students to look at a picture or film and think how all the elements could be been woven together to tell a powerful story. He encouraged our students to follow their dreams, not to be afraid to make mistakes, learn from them, not to be restricted by convention and the expectations of others and in that way achieve a fulfilling and rewarding life.
Also speaking at the conference were Professor Jan Bebbington and Dr Shona Russell from the University of St Andrews, both respected experts specializing in research about climate change and sustainability. They shared their thoughts and experience about how the issues of climate change and sustainability can be tackled and what is needed to make a real change in the world. They encouraged the students to understand the many aspects of this vital issue and how to convince others of the changes that need to take place.
At the conference were Fraser White, Executive and Founding Chairman of Dulwich College International (DCI), Christian Geurtler, CEO of DCI and Brian McDouall, Director of Schools at DCI. This reflected the commitment of the Dulwich group to be a more sustainable organisation and their determination to empower Dulwich students to make a difference.
On many delegates’ minds was COP21 taking place in Paris this year. There is now an unprecedented world-wide effort underway to combat climate change with nations being challenged to meet their stated objective of keeping a global temperature rise to under 2 degrees C. Mia Oenoto and James Guo, two students from Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University in Suzhou, will be delegates at COP21 representing their respective countries of Indonesia and the People’s Republic of China. They joined the delegates at our climate conference and were able to inspire our own students that young people really can make their voices heard on a global platform.
By the close of the conference the students had agreed on 8 commitments that they would each take back to their own Colleges.
At Dulwich College Suzhou, we believe that engaging with nature and respecting the environment are important. We are mindful of the impact we have on our environment at The College and believe we have a duty and a responsibility to help our students become leaders and innovators in sustainability so that they understand the effect of their lifestyle on the climate. Our young people have the opportunity to make a positive change in the world and through giving them time and space to think through the challenges and opportunities, we hope that they will become driving forces for positive change. From these 100 hundred students attending the Climate Conference the message can be spread to another 6,000 students across Dulwich and then further still. Our students now have a powerful belief that they really can change the world. Their hope now is that they will inspire the worlds’ leaders to have this same belief as they go to COP21.
1. To remove plastic bottles and disposable containers from our schools.
2. To reuse and recycle more - books and clothes as well as paper.
3. To reduce our food waste
4. Eat more sustainably - more vegetarian, meat free days, organic and grow our own food
5. Review how we travel and act more sustainably.
6. Challenge our colleges to make the buildings more efficient.
7. Get more students involved - house competitions and awards.
8. To be taught more about sustainability in the curriculum.
At Dulwich College Suzhou, we believe that engaging with nature and respecting the environment are important. We are mindful of the impact we have on our environment at The College and believe we have a duty and a responsibility to help our students become leaders and innovators in sustainability so that they understand the effect of their lifestyle on the climate. Our young people have the opportunity to make a positive change in the world and through giving them time and space to think through the challenges and opportunities, we hope that they will become driving forces for positive change.
The Climate Conference aims to inspire students from across the Dulwich network. The conference gives them a unique opportunity to learn from renowned experts in the field who have witnessed and researched climate change, and who have a clear understanding of how to live more sustainably. Amongst our key speakers is Doug Allan, a freelance wildlife and documentary cameraman with a string of high profile award winning films and series for the major TV networks worldwide, including the BBC’s The Blue Planet, Planet Earth, Life, Human Planet and Frozen Planet. Mr Allan will share his first-hand experience from the Antarctic, the effects of climate change on our environment and the impact it is having on our wildlife.
Professor Jan Bebbington and Dr Shona Russell from St Andrew’s University, respected experts in the field who specialise in research about climate change and sustainability will also be speaking at the conference.
Our LEED certified Senior School is one of the most environmentally friendly buildings in Suzhou. We have made significant investments in filtered fresh air systems with energy saving technology to provide a safe and secure environment for our students. This summer we opened our new inspirational learning space for our Early Years students. Described by many as being the most amazing playground they have ever seen in an international environment, this natural play area has been designed to connect our children with nature and to develop their understanding of the natural environment. Filled with natural materials, lots of greenery and exciting spaces for our children to explore, it fits in perfectly with the broader strategy of sustainability at the College.
We want the College to be an active science lab, where the students can engage in learning activities based on sustainability issues, think about solutions to challenges, and to feel empowered to take action. Our first Climate Conference will set Dulwich College International students on the path to return to their own College ready to take the lead with practical ideas that will make a real difference both now and in the future.
Over the summer the Green Gardeners have grown a batch of fresh, organic carrots and we're excited to offer them for sale to students, teachers and parents. Profits will be used for the maintainence of their garden to start fresh projects during this year to make the Dulwich College Suzhou campus greener, healthier, and yummier.
On September 25th 2015, 193 world leaders committed to 17 Global Goals to achieve 3 extraordinary things in the next 15 years. In recognition of this momentous occasion, students in Dulwich College Suzhou took part in the ‘World’s Largest Lesson’, an initiative where students across the world have been inspired to learn about the Global Goals for Sustainable Development (also known as the SDGs). With Sustainability being a key focus for the College, the students at Dulwich College Suzhou spent time watching video clips, thinking and discussing their ideas to make our lives more sustainable and learning the meaning of their ecological footprint. After finding out more about the 17 Global Goals they chose their favourite and created pictures to represent what it meant to them. More information about the ‘World’s Largest Lesson’ can be found at:
During the day, the students learned that the aims of the SDGs are as follows:
- End extreme poverty.
- Fight inequality & injustice.
- Fix climate change.
The 17 Global Goals for sustainable development, which are shown below, could get these things done, providing everyone works together in all countries – that is why the ‘World’s Largest lesson’ is so important in helping young, global citizens learn more about them.