The Eco-Schools concept was developed as a direct response to the United Nations conference on Environment and Development (Rio Earth Summit) in 1992. It was recognised that children and young people need to be involved in the sustainability and environmental protection of our planet.
Eco-Schools is the largest sustainable schools initiative and operates across the world. Its primary objective is to help schools implement a gradual educational programme for sustainable development. By challenging students to tackle environmental problems that lead to tangible results and by empowering them to take ownership of the project, they will develop the knowledge, skills and motivation needed to address the environmental challenges around them. They will see how their actions can make a difference in their school, local community and beyond, and the hope is that thinking about and acting on sustainability will become second nature.
Using a seven-step approach, students will take a close look at the school and work on a series of actions to make it more sustainable. This could include measures to save energy, reduce waste or make the playground a greener area. The aim is to obtain and maintain the international seal of approval for sustainable schools: the Green Flag.
The first step is to set up an Eco Committee. Students will be at the heart of the Eco Schools Committee, but they will also have some support from members of staff. M-C van Zundert, who teaches science and biology in MYP and DP, is taking on the role of Eco Schools Coordinator and has been the inspiration behind bringing this fantastic initiative to the International School Breda. She has already recruited 15 students from MYP and DP who will form the Eco Team. They will have a central role in deciding the direction of our focus on our journey towards obtaining the prestigious Green Flag. Their first task will be to carry out an Eco Scan around 10 themes and then decide what we will initially focus on. Students wishing to be on the Eco Team were invited to write an email of motivation explaining why they wished to be part of the team leading this drive.
Today saw the ISB officially launch its quest for the Green Flag to become a fully-fledged Eco-School. Marika Rath, our external Eco-School Advisor, delivered a short presentation about Eco Schools to the committee. The ISB Eco Team, together with M-C and our Head of School, Vibeke AsbjØrnsen, then signed the letter of intent. This was followed by the official unveiling of the plaque announcing us as an Eco School. We are very proud to have become the third school in the Breda area to become an Eco-School.
So it begins! We will be providing regular updates on the initiatives we take within and around the school to earn our Eco School label. We have every confidence that we are going to make a huge success of this project, if past actions such as litter picking in the streets in the immediate area around the school, recycling and planting are anything to judge by. Our Primary classes will also be getting involved as this is a whole school project and we look forward to sharing with you their steps towards making our school more sustainable.