Go eco-friendly this Lent, urges School’s Environmental Action Group
March 9 2020
Words by Class 10 pupil, Roseanna Holbrook
The power of the people is greater than that of the people in power” this is one of my favourite quotes, because it reminds me that although I’m not in charge of running a kingdom, or country, or empire, I am in charge of running me. And it is up to me, how I choose to go about it.
At the end of last year, after attending one of the climate strikes by the parliament, I was sitting on the edge of the road with my friends, watching as the last few people gathered in their groups, some of them still chanting ‘hay ho, climate change has got to go’. One of the groups broke away and drifted over to the bus stop. As the bus came, and they slowly filed on, a guy at the back of the group, clearly deciding he had no further use for it, carelessly discarded his protesting sign on the ground, and got on the bus. Me and my friends watched in shock, as ‘respect your mother’ blew dejectedly across the grass in the wind. My friends were disgusted by this act, the pure irony of it as well. It was then that the thought dawned on me. How many people are actually aware of their actions, and what impact their actions can have? Do we know what we as individuals can do to help the environment by making changes in everyday life?
It was the week after that, that we founded the Environmental Action Group within the School. A group of students from a variety of classes including both the Lower and Upper School. We meet every Tuesday lunch time to discuss and make positive change in the school, by making it more environmentally friendly, and spreading information and tips on how to help the environment.
Although lent is specifically a Christian tradition, the idea behind it is something we can all participate in: Lent is about changing something in your life for the better, be that giving something up, or adding something new to your life, we gladly took the opportunity. We decided on a few key components of everyday life that could be improved on in order to help the environment. Then we researched these topics and gathered together 6 six challenges for us all to try out this Lent. Here are some of the things that can help you live a more eco-friendly life!
Transport – transport is a very big contributor to global Co2 emissions. However, it is something that we have choice in. Riding your bike or scooter to school takes up less road space than a car, and does not emit nasty chemicals into the air. It happens to also be a very good form of exercise and therefore keeps you healthy. Using public transports more, and car shares are also a good way of cutting back traffic numbers and air pollution.
Food – this topic is a broad and varied one. There is so much information on it, it is almost hard to sum it up well. The food industry is one that goes from 0 to 100 very quickly. There are some companies that are very ethical and respect the environment, and others that really do not. Some of the main beneficial things to look out for when buying foods are: Organic, Local, Fair-trade and low waste. If your foods are any of these things you are on the right track.
Energy – being efficient with energy is sometimes a little challenging, but there are ways in which you can be. The classic example of turning off your lights when it’s sunny or when you’re not in the room, does actually help. When boiling water in a kettle, only boil what is necessary, so as to avoid wasting electricity. Investing in energy efficient lights, that use less energy, or changing providers to a greener company. Getting solar panels to heat your water and provide electricity all from the sun is a big step, but would seriously help the environment.
Waste – its something we all have, some more than others. But we should all try to cut back on this as much as possible. It is said that only 30% of waste is actually recyclable. Because of this, it is up to us individuals to be more conscious when buying something. Ask yourself ‘do i really need this, is it good quality, will it go into landfill when it breaks?’ Reduce- Reuse- Repair- Recycle, the four R’s. It is something you can almost apply to anything in order to cut back on waste.
Clothes – the fashion industry has a surprisingly large carbon footprint, and it is not helped by this new style of ‘fast fashion’, and lack of quality. It is better both for the environment and long term fot your bank account to invest in good quality, long lasting clothes, rather than cheap ones, both in price and in quality.
Water – as heat waves and droughts are going to become more common, we need to be more aware of our water use. Things like turning off the tap when brushing your teeth, or again only boiling as much water as you need. Taking shorter showers, or even turning the shower off when putting the soap or shampoo on (although it is appreciated this is easier in warm countries).
There are many places in town that will help you support these six goals. Highlighting examples in Edinburgh:
- The Eco Larder, 200 Morrison St, Edinburgh EH3 8EB
- Real Foods, 8 Brougham St, Edinburgh EH3 9JH, and 37 Broughton St, Edinburgh EH1 3JU
- The New Leaf Coop, 23 Argyle Pl, Edinburgh EH9 1JJ
- The Refillery, 39 Newington Rd, Newington, Edinburgh EH9 1QW
- Napiers herbalist, 18 Bristo Pl, Edinburgh EH1 1EZ
- Shrub Coop, 13 Guthrie St, Edinburgh EH1 1JG
- Edinburgh Bicycle Co- oprative, 8 Alvanley Terrace, Edinburgh EH9 1DU
- The Bike Station, 250 Causewayside, Edinburgh EH9 1UU
- Change works
Good luck to all, and we would love to hear what you are doing to help the environment.
If anyone is interested in joining or finding out more about the Environmental Action Group (EAC): ECG@edinburghsteinerschool.org.uk
Many thanks and a Happy Eco-Easter!