Many small acts
Introducing Claremont High School’s Eco Committee
Anyone who cares about the survival of our planet has to think about the environment - it concerns all our futures. But sometimes the issues seem so big, so difficult, you don’t know where to start… One place might be your very own doorstep, at home and right here in school.
That is precisely the rationale behind Claremont High School’s Environment Committee, established by Ms Smith in October 2022 with a clear purpose: ‘To ensure that Claremont becomes a cleaner, greener environment.’ Its formation was part of the school’s application for Green Flag Status – an accreditation given to places that demonstrate good ‘green’ standards and practice.
The ‘Eco Committee’, as it’s known, consists of students and Ms Smith, who recently carried out an audit of ten ‘eco’ topics. These included biodiversity, global citizenship, energy, transport and litter. Based on this, they created an action plan for 2023.
‘Realising that recycling was a big issue, we started looking at ways to improve this,’ explains Ms Smith. ‘A recycling textiles bin was set up and students’ old school blazers and shirts have been donated to the school and are now available from Ms Constant. We’ve also placed plastic and paper recycling bins in every classroom in the main building and have ordered two large recycling containers from a waste company as our recycling needs have increased.’
In addition to this, LED lights have been installed throughout the school to reduce energy consumption and the Eco Committee recently joined forces with other local schools to complete a litter pick in nearby Woodcock Park. In total, thirty bags of rubbish were collected.
So why did the students get involved?
‘I’ve always loved nature, going to parks and gardens,’ says Sneha Bhudia in Year 13, ‘but when I saw the amount of litter around these places it disgusted me, particularly in my own area.’ Enuri Rathnanyaka, another Year 13 student, also wanted to improve the local environment: ‘I got involved in the Claremont Eco Committee to make our school greener and have a profound impact on the area around us.’
The Committee have only just started… Their plans for the future include: fifty new trees planted around the school before Christmas; plans to create an ‘eco garden’ behind the Technology Block; an outdoor learning area plus seating; and installing electric car charging facilities by July 2024.
So what advice would the Committee give the rest of the school about improving its environment?
‘Students and teachers can do simple things, such as bringing in reusable water bottles or printing double-sided,’ says Kishan Mistri in Year 13. ‘Many small acts are what will eventually lead to drastic change.’ Enuri agrees: ‘They can start by putting their rubbish in the correct bins, turning off lights and electrical equipment that are not in use.’
And what was the outcome of Claremont’s application for Green Flag Status? It was awarded this October! The Eco Committee are not only improving our environment, they’re working together to ensure the future of our planet. What could be more important than that?