Climate change: Starting ‘em young

Rizal Faisal

A group of Jerudong International School (JIS) students took centre stage putting forward action to address climate change at an environmental awareness event last December.

Ridwan Iqbal, Humaira Maiddin, Survesh Sivakumar, Lucy Richmond, Nicholas Morgan, Aaralyn Tan, Ferdinand Baur, Ibrahim Kashif, Nadhrah Melhan, Zainab Akhtar, supervised by instructors Jazie Zaini and Yvonne Follow-Smith, highlighted education for sustainable development, aiming to encourage students to be observant, by looking at what is going well in the world around them and consider what could be improved.

The Education for Sustainable Development (EfSD) plan also surrounds an enquiry-based approach, drawing on a range of skills (observation, data presentation analysis and evaluation, decision making, problem solving, design, communication).

The students explained that the team’s plan is holistic and promotes systems thinking – making connections between the natural environment, economy, society and individual well-being.

“EfSD is empowering, supporting those who wish to take action based on their learning,” the students added.

A Jerudong International School student unveils the sustainable development goals. PHOTOS: RIZAL FAISAL
The JIS team at the environmental awareness event

This is also initiated by the Brunei Darussalam National Climate Change Policy Strategy 10, which looks into integrating EfSD across the curriculum, highlighting the need for schools to raise awareness on climate change.

The JIS team also shared examples of their initiatives on taking action against climate change. The team investigated where the rubbish at Berakas Beach came from, while also collecting the rubbish only to find that most were plastic water bottles.

In a follow-up to this, they conducted a survey on the use of plastic water bottles in their school.

The survey found that 128 bottles were sold daily in 2016, and they set out on a mission to get the school to ban the sale of water in throw away plastic bottles, which was a success.

They suggested alternatives by encouraging the school community to bring their own reusable water bottles and the setting-up of a rainwater capture station at their school premises.

They also suggested national water refill stations across the nation.

In addition, through the Outdoor Discovery Centre at JIS, the school has also planted trees, monitored them and made compost.

An Annual Green Business Challenge has been implemented to complement the efforts, which so far has produced or started selling shaved ice, paper light box, butterfly pea flowers products, organic soap bars, recycled paper cards, upcycled pencil cases, dried flower press products, stingless bees honey and thrift items.

The team also shared the qualities of a student who is ‘Educated for Sustainability’ – someone with a sense of responsibility to the environment, to other people and to the future of both, as well as the will, knowledge and skills to translate responsibility into action in both personal and public life.

The team has also thought up designs for an ocean and river clean-up project with the likes of a mechanical whale shark for an ocean plastic collector, or ‘The Great Bubble Barrier’ which can stop plastic flowing past and reaches the entire width of a river or canal.

The Great Bubble Barrier has no effects on boats or ships. Fish and other marine wildlife can easily pass, while plastic will be directed to the surface and side of the river. It is created by pumping air through a tube with holes which is laid diagonally on the bottom of a river.

Encouraging the Eco-Schools themes will also encourage institutions to start thinking and effecting change towards environmental wellness.

The themes are linked to sustainable development goals to address the central issue – climate change – which connects to each of the themes.

These themes are ‘Biodiversity and Nature: Life on land and below water; Global Citizenship: Peace and Justice as well as Partnerships for the Goals; Health & Wellbeing: Good Health, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Good Jobs and Economic Growth, Reduced Inequalities, No Hunger and No Poverty.

Themes also included Marine and Coast: Responsible Consumption and Production as well as Life Below Water; Waste: Responsible Consumption and Production as well as Sustainable Cities and Communities; Transport: Innovation and Infrastructure as well as Renewable Energy; Energy: Innovation and Infrastructure as well as Sustainable Cities and Communities; and Food: Good Health, No Hunger and No Poverty.

Each of the themes could be explored in terms of how it relates to sustainable development: depletion/conservation of resources; pollution of air, land and water; quality of life; and the role played in ensuring a sustainable future.

The team also cited the Brundtland Report (Our Common Future) 1987; meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

This, the team explained, means improving our quality of life without damaging the environment.