From our Environmental Action Group
This year, perhaps more than ever, has felt particularly poignant for environmentalism.
As the world deals with a global pandemic, we all begin to realise the importance of working together to overcome a problem that affects all of us; no matter where we live in the world, none of us has escaped the consequences of Covid-19. This new virus has opened all our eyes to see the fragility of the world we live in, as we desperately try to navigate our way through this uncertain time. And although we have seen impressive reactions to this situation, such as the incredible efforts of the vaccination program, we need to consider how we can come together in preventative ways too.
Many would say that climate change and its innumerable consequences is the greatest problem of our time, yet if we let this problem continue to grow there will be no vaccine to save our sick planet. We have all seen the resilience, perseverance, and ingenuity of people all over the world in tackling Covid-19, and it is with this enlightened perspective we hope things can move forward to create a new ‘normal’ which encompasses us all protecting our environment to secure a future for our planet.
Although we have all faced a lot this year and things have even felt hopeless at times, I have been inspired by the girls in the Environmental Action Group and their unswerving energy and enthusiasm to continue doing what they can to raise awareness about important issues at St Mary’s and to make a positive difference in the world.
Despite being unable to meet across year groups, having almost a term in lockdown and being unable to run events in large gatherings, the girls at The Environmental Action Group have managed to find resourceful and inventive ways to engage the school community in environmental issues.
One of the first things the girls did was organise a whole school competition to design a logo to represent The Environmental Action Group going forward. The talent at St Mary School was very impressive and we had a difficult time choosing our winner, but in the end, we felt that Ziren S.’s design best encapsulated our values as a club and hope for the future.
Building on the festive spirit and showing each other love and appreciation at Christmas, The Environmental Action Group created ‘12 Days of Eco Christmas’ encouraging all to show love and appreciation to our beautiful planet by going about 12 Christmas traditions in an eco-friendly way.
Over the Lockdown period in February, The Environmental Action Group teamed up with the International Committee to bring St Mary’s students a collaboration of fun challenges to do over the half-term, focusing on the global challenge of becoming more sustainable. We had some wonderfully creative entries, especially from Emma G., Leah F., Eloise S., Temperance K. and Imogen H.
Weekly Ways to Eco Engage
One of our main achievements this academic year has been the launching of ‘Weekly Ways to Eco Engage’ which is sent to all students each Friday, in which the girls decide on an environmental issue each week and explain a bit about it, providing links to a range of information, articles, and videos. We have written about topics such as Fashion, Health and Beauty, Microplastics, Meat Industry etc.
Most recently the girls have worked hard with the nursing team at St Mary’s School to raise awareness about sustainable and eco-friendly period products. The girls have researched a range of products and created a student accessible display near the nurses to be used by the nurses as an additional educational tool when teaching students in PHSE lessons about such issues.
Perseverance and resilience!
The girls have displayed perseverance and resilience throughout this year, whether it is staying motivated to continue our environmental work in lockdown or being creative and finding new ways to engage students about environmental issues despite Covid-19 restrictions. The group has met every Tuesday lunchtime this academic year, almost without fail and throughout lockdown via Teams. The group is very good at co-cooperation and thoroughly enjoys collaborating with others, as we believe the key to making a difference with environmentalism is understanding we all need to work together, and the girls have been great at making the issues we explore as inclusive as possible.
As someone who cares deeply about environmentalism, I have valued the opportunity to work with like-minded young women to do what we can in our little part of the world to make a difference.
I am particularly grateful to all the hard work and involvement from our Chairwoman, Emma G. and Secretary, Emma B. Emma has said about her experience this year, “I have greatly enjoyed being part of the EAG, writing our weekly newsletters and helping organise projects. I believe it is very important to promote sustainable lifestyles, whether it is through our diets, transport choices or energy consumptions, to every student at St Mary's.”
This year has really shown what can still be possible despite obstacles, and re-enforced that however difficult, we must all continue working towards protecting our planet, and all life on it, for future generations.
Thank you to everyone who has been involved in The Environmental Action Group this year, whether organising projects, reading our emails, getting involved in our activities or in general, supporting our aims. I wish the group much success in the next academic year.
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