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May 22 2020

G9 Students Earth Day Actions! G9 STUDENTS EARTH DAY ACTIONS!

Dennis Wang

From our Early Childhood Center's (ECC) rooftop garden engaging our youngest with the garden to table process, to our Elementary School (ES) Eco Warriors taking action for the environment in our community, to the schoolwide integration of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals into our curriculum – environmental awareness and sustainable development are central to learning at Beijing City International School (BCIS).

For Earth Day 2020, Grade 9 Individuals and Societies students created a series of projects that would go beyond raising awareness for Earth Day but deliver action to better the environment! Working online, students got into groups and developed project ideas that would lead to action in a chosen area. We spoke to three groups who explained to us how they took action for Earth Day and beyond.

Our first group, which included Lynn, Grace and Sophia, focused on water protection by creating an informative and inspiring video on what we all can do to help combat water contamination and shortages. By coordinating online and aligning their own personal interests, each group member focused on a different angle, which were compiled together in their final video. Grace exemplified how home water-use can be reduced by conserving and reusing water around the home, showing us all how we can contribute to water protection as individuals. Sophia performed detailed research on how water reuse and purification systems work in our communities, allowing viewers to better understand the processes behind the water that comes out of their taps. Finally, Lynn gave a video guide to buying sustainable seafood from a fish market and did a beach clean-up whilst informing passers-by of Earth Day. Their final group video was uploaded to Weibo, where it received 17,000 views, with 2,400 people watching the full video – an incredible achievement!

"Earth Day reminds us of how strongly we are connected to each other on this planet, regardless of our country, sex, religion, race, etc because we are all living on Earth and we depend on each of our actions." – Lynn, Grace and Sophia

Celia and Jessica decided they would take action through sharing and teaching with younger students. Together they produced a tutorial for BCIS ECC and ES students to create an Earth Day-themed artwork out of recycled materials. They plan to deliver this as a part of a class which delves into the processes of recycling, contributions students can make as individuals and that they are part of a global community that has a responsibility to care for their planet. Celia and Jessica's holistic approach to engage students both in the action of creating but also with the overarching theme of responsibility and community.

"To me Earth Day is a call on the public, a reminder of the amount of attention we shall pay to our Mother Earth." - Celia

Vivian and Anna held a series of reading sessions open nationwide to children aged 6 to 12, where they used existing connections to ensure they reached children in Wuhan, Hubei province, a city severely impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. In these sessions, they studied and discussed the structure of the earth, the climate, recycling, natural disasters and ways to protect the environment with students. The purpose of their thematic reading sessions was to help children who are trapped at home due to the coronavirus outbreak to improve their reading ability, and more importantly, reinforce the importance of protecting the environment. In these sessions, Vivian and Anna encouraged participants to demonstrate their understanding of this topic with practical actions, which they did through actions such as group litter picking, poster making for their local community and monitoring and reducing their electricity use at home.

"For us, Earth Day is not only a day to protect our Earth but to celebrate what we did to create a better home, to spread great ideas to our society, especially to the young generation, and make more people get involved, more importantly, to make every day Earth Day." - Anna and Vivian

Ian Deziel, the Grade 9 Individuals and Societies teacher, said of his students "I am very proud of what they accomplished, and many of the projects are ongoing... Just because Earth Day has passed, the initiatives don't stop!". The passion of these students shines through in their projects and we know that the impact of their efforts will be felt well into the future – truly inspiring!