Every Day is Earth Day

The 22nd April was the 51st Earth Day. This year, the theme was ‘Treasure the earth, people and nature living in harmony’. As we continue facing the worldwide impact of an epidemic, it was a great opportunity to think about our relationship with nature, and how we can help. In this case, BWYA students’ answers came in the form of action.

Student Personal Project, Helping the Environment

For her personal project this year, Grade 10 Melinda Xu created her own environment protection bag to help the marine ecological environment. This project was inspired by a video she saw, showing the effect of human waste on the maritime environment. Through further research, she learned how plastic waste takes a long time to degrade in the ocean, and as such poses a great threat to sea creatures. In time, waste consumed by sea creatures can then circle back to humans on the dinner table.

“We know the severity of the environmental issues nowadays, however we don’t know what we can do for these marine animals.” Melinda’s first idea was to raise awareness by making and sharing videos about the harm caused by plastic waste. However, after more communication and under the guidance of her supervisor, she moved on from her initial vision to making something more environmentally friendly herself, thereby reducing the creation of plastic waste. “Many times we’re in a hurry and we don’t have time to buy reusable bags, so we prefer to use the plastic bags provided in the shops. What I want to do is to help more people know how to make reusable bags on their own, so they don’t need to buy them. People can make their own reusable bags out of old t-shirts in their home. Also, they don’t need to buy any other materials, so in this way more and more people will be willing to make reusable bags and they can gain a sense of accomplishment by making these. I sincerely hope these bags can change people’s lifestyles and reduce their use of plastic bags, and I’m also very proud of my courage to make some contribution to sustainable development.”

Video created and shared by Melinda
How to make an environment protection bag from an old t-shirt

Environment protection bags by Melinda
With various logos and text designs

Melinda’s personal project supervisor, Mr. Sam Rajesh commented, “Melinda was passionate about plastic pollution solutions and wants to address this phenomenon through her personal project. Her project showcased the role of plastics in our society and its impact on the ecosystem. I am glad that Melinda developed her academic understanding, empathy, and confidence to take action on global issues coming of age at a time of daunting challenges in the environment, including climate change and ice-melt. Melinda’s project to design and make reusable bags will create awareness, bring a positive difference, and can address the issue by reducing the number of single-use plastic bags manufactured and discarded every day. One of the positives from the MYP personal project is it opens the door for students to engage in global challenges outside the curriculum.”

Hope Field, Closer to nature with plants

Known to the students as the Cultivation Contribution Charitable Field Process, or its Chinese name, 世青希望田地 (BWYA Hope Field), Grade 7 Amy Zhao and Daniel Liu started the BWYA Hope Field project to get a little closer to nature. Their original idea was to recycle old clothes, but the sudden virus outbreak made this difficult to carry out, so instead the new idea of Hope Field was born. After preliminary communication with middle school SA coordinator, Ms. Loredana Giovanelli, and after solving a number of financial and longevity problems, with the support of their parents, they rented a small plot of land on the outskirts of Beijing, and have sown many vegetables and fruits, including radishes, lettuce, purple cabbage, celery, cabbage, and melon. Four weeks after planting, this small vegetable garden has started to grow with small shoots appearing.

Students learn about nature planting crops

“Our parents are all very supportive of our work; we always go to the field twice per week, and we are going to work harder. We are all working hard. Most of the organization is done by Daniel Liu. I am only responsible for the task of communicating with teachers and posters. He is the one with super organization ability”, Amy wrote in her most recent feedback. Amy and Daniel have been working together to organise and arrange all of the activities in the Hope Field. At the suggestion of their teachers, the students are also committed to turning the BWYA Hope Field activity into a long-term sustainable project. Selling the produce planted in their plot along with other activities to support different charities, they hope the Hope Field project will continue into the future.

Ms. Giovanelli shared, “I am really happy that this project can develop into a long-term project to provide students with even more opportunities for growth. Many Grade 7 students have participated and are still fully involved in this long-term project and, in so doing they have not only completed their SA requirements, but also learned new skills like collaboration, organization, and of course horticulture.

Waste Separation, Protecting the environment in our daily life

Sustainable green development has always been a topic of concern to BWYA. Whether it is the Roots and Shoots club that has been running for many years, the annual Earth Day event, hosting the “Green Future” environment themed postcard design competition, organising a visit to the Beijing World Expo, a “Recycled Fashion” project organized by students, or many more projects organised each year, we have always been keen to incorporate sustainability into our learning.

Yet environmental protection is not only limited to one off events, and should be incorporated into our everyday life. As such, we are actively responding to the implementation of the ‘Beijing Municipal Waste Management Regulations’, and are adopting a series of waste classification measures on campus, along with the production of information posters, to integrate environmental protection education with our daily lives. Additionally, we trust this will raise the environmental awareness and literacy of our young students even further, enabling them to see the world from a sustainability perspective, and see their own tomorrow.