The entire town of Karratha, WA is going plastic bag free thanks to the students from St Luke’s College who know that reducing their ecological footprint is crucial for their town.
Students were motivated to set up a petition and work with the Karratha environmental group when they heard a consultant talk about the impact of mining on the town.
Biology teacher, Rebecca Loftus said that although the talk was confronting, it was also an incredibly positive experience because students now know that what they do matters for their beautiful town.
“Sustainability is for here and now, not something in the future. That’s incredibly motivating for young people – and teachers, ” explained Rebecca.
Build your students understanding of sustainability by using these lesson plans: Defining Sustainability Year 5 & 6, The Pillars of Sustainability Year 7 & 8, Flipped Classroom Sustainability Year 9 & 10.
“The Pilbara is such a stunning region to live, there are so many beautiful places…and we have one of the world’s largest Humpback whales nurseries. It’s easy to want to protect it.”
“We rely heavily on mining, so we have a large carbon footprint. Students recognise that mining is needed and supports them, but also that there are so many things they can do to reduce their own footprint and balance the impact.”
“The Enviroweek message ‘Positive action everyday counts’ is perfect for us. By doing Enviroweek students see what they does matters.”
Living on 20 litres a day
Water is also a key issue for Karratha: “Our water usage is above a renewable capacity due the high use in mines to control air pollution” explained Rebecca.
“Enviroweek’s Water Lover challenge is perfect; helping students understand how to make the best use of the water.”
Rebecca has challenged her students to live on twenty litres a day – the minimum daily amount of water recommended by the UN in their World Water Assessment Programme.
During Enviroweek, students will be keeping water, food, plastic and electricity use diaries. Students will be asked to think about “how often they turn off unnecessary appliances and how often they eat meat.
The aim of the water usage diary is to see how long it takes them to use 20 litres a day” explained Rebecca.
“Through the diaries students will get an idea of their carbon/water footprint and then come up with ways they can change their habits.
“We will do a follow up – with prizes and incentives – with the diaries after Enviroweek to see where students have improved.”
Having already experienced the power of their plastic action, students will be taking it to the next level during Enviroweek. “They want to extend the plastic and zero waste message by designing a school canvas bag and stainless steel bottle to replace plastic.”
There’s also a survey going out to shop owners on plastic.
‘Life Cycle Thinking’ is an online professional development course that helps you and your secondary students undertake a life cycle analysis of plastic (and why it’s not so fantastic). There’s also a specialised course for primary teachers.
Water… in going vego?
Taking up the Foodie challenge, the canteen and food-tech classes will be going vego for Enviroweek.
“Students were amazed by how much water cutting down on meat saves…and that we eat double the recommended amount for optimum health!”
Year 9 Environmental Science students will be focusing their efforts on energy efficiency and designing posters to communicate the Sparky message. Meanwhile the wood tech boys will be preparing boards with graphics showing the components of our ecological footprint and how we can reduce it. Absolutely perfect for Enviroweek!