Only One Earth

This is the theme for this year’s Environment Day celebrations. The day is being celebrated on 5th June since 1974 though the Day was established in 1972 to raise awareness about the degradation of our environment and to encourage people to take positive actions in protecting our environment.
I have always been very conscious about the conservation of our environment and am very particular about not wasting resources. I don’t remember when it began, may be it was inculcated into me from the very beginning by my grandparents and parents. And sitting and having a deep conversation about a problem is not my thing. I would rather look for solutions and get to work. For me actions speak louder than words.
So, earlier too I used to carry my own cloth bag when I went shopping yet polythene bags would find their way to my home with regularity because these bags were not banned then. So, I would keep collecting them and pile them properly. And when I had enough I would give them away to the roadside green grocers or the nearby egg seller for reuse. This kept both the parties happy. The vendors would have a few bags to help them tide a week or so and I would get rid of the bags with a happy conscience to have done a bit for ‘My Planet’.
The current time is about innovation and startups are the norm of the day. A society that believes in addressing problems and finding solutions is more likely to succeed than the one that sits discussing problems. A popular Chinese proverb says, “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” It is important that the young minds are trained not only to identify problems but also be motivated enough to take proactive action in finding solutions to the problems they face and nothing better if it comes with a sense of responsibility towards the society and the environment. In my school, we keep challenging our students to identify and find solutions to the problems that ail them and society at large. It is through these efforts that our school has been instrumental in supporting student-initiated campaigns.
This year I encouraged my students of class 8 to find a solution to the menace of plastic disposal. We had many brain-storming sessions as they studied more about plastics in the chapters on Synthetic Fibers and Plastics as well as Pollution of Air and Water. We followed an inquiry-based learning approach and discussed all sorts of solutions. We discussed reusing the 2 litre soft drink bottles for vertical garden and also making eco bricks but they didn’t work for all types of plastic. Some students suggested about recycling plastic bottles into synthetic fibers. We found out how microfibrils from these cloths cause more harm to the environment and the idea was dropped like hot bricks. We also found out about plastic bricks from recycled plastic but didn’t know whom to collaborate with.
Finally, recycling of plastic was identified as the most suitable solution and we collaborated with projectmumbai.org. We found out that almost 200-250 kg of plastic is needed to recycle it into a park bench. We projected to collect about 400kg of plastic by creating awareness campaigns. The students named the project ‘End It!’ and designed a logo as well. It was fun storyboarding with them as they made videos, animations and also created a rap song. The highlight was the learning and fun that went on after school hours in our online interactions while working on the campaign. The students not only appealed but also collected plastic from their homes and from the neighbours. The teachers too participated actively by collecting the waste plastic and bringing it to school on the days they were to be present as the project kickstarted in August 2021 during Covid. In six months, we were able to collect 467kg of plastic, which has been recycled into park benches in collaboration with projectmumbai.org. Encouraged by their efforts the students intend to keep collecting the plastic and donate the recycled benches where needed in future. Together we learnt that a collective effort helps make every drop count and it is within our capacity to bring a change if we are moved enough to do something about a problem than to cry over it.
It is okay if you do not click the ‘Like’ button on this post or comment but do something concrete for our planet this World Environment Day.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. How wonderful that you did this with your students! We need more teachers like you! I love that it is project-based and action-focused. You let them think and discuss and problem solve. Kudos to you! We need to take time with lessons like this as you have done. I’ll be your students will remember this always and continue to do their part for Our Planet! Thanks so much for sharing (and, doing!) P.S. I am an environmental educator so this was right up my alley! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A. Shruti says:

      I feel that together we all can make a difference as it is the little drops that make the entire ocean. Thanks for the appreciation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So true! I am thankful for you and what you try to instill in the students. It is so very important – and yes, it takes a village!

        Liked by 1 person

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