As we become more aware of the impact of climate change on our planet, it’s increasingly important for everyone to take a proactive approach to environmental sustainability. Going green isn’t just a trend – it’s an essential step towards ensuring a healthy planet for generations to come.
Why Is It Important for Schools To Be Green?
Schools play a critical role in shaping the future of our planet. They have a responsibility to educate students about environmental issues and teach them the skills they need to become responsible and eco-conscious citizens. By adopting green practices, schools can lead by example and provide a practical demonstration of sustainable living.
Numerous studies done in the past have shown that schools are large consumers of resources such as energy, water, and paper, and by implementing eco-friendly measures, they can significantly reduce their carbon footprint and save money on utility bills.
Schools that prioritize environmental sustainability also tend to create healthier learning environments for students and staff, which can lead to improved academic performance, attendance, and overall well-being. Therefore, by becoming greener, schools can not only contribute to a more sustainable future but also benefit their students, staff, and communities in various ways.
How Are Schools Staying Green?
Schools are adopting various measures to stay green, such as using renewable energy sources, installing energy-efficient lighting, implementing waste reduction and recycling programs, promoting sustainable living methods like opting for non-plastic items when dining and shopping, and incorporating environmental education into their curricula
Here are some ways in which some international schools in Malaysia are prioritizing environmental sustainability. While some schools are members of the Eco-Schools Program which is coordinated by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Malaysia, others are actively striving to become more environmentally friendly.
MLKIS collaborates with the local NGO and town council to promote sustainable practices through various initiatives such as Recycling Campaigns, Stop Burning and Stop Plastic Bags initiatives, and planting and greening campaigns. Additionally, MLKIS has established its own enzyme farms and organic gardens, where students grow vegetables, herbs, and fruits. These efforts demonstrate the school’s commitment to sustainability and encourage students to take an active part in preserving the environment.
Epsom College relies heavily on solar energy as it provides 75% of the school’s power, contributing significantly to reducing its electrical consumption. The school’s Environmental Society, led by students, plays a vital role in educating staff and students about sustainability. Along with the student council’s support, the school also implements several energy and water-saving initiatives that serve as a driving force in promoting sustainable practices.
Seri Botani International School runs an Eco Club, led by both teachers and students, to promote environmental awareness among students. The club teaches the three R’s – reduce, reuse and recycle and encourages students to take action in preserving natural resources. The school has also established a recycling collection centre for students, parents and staff to contribute to recycling efforts. These initiatives demonstrate the school’s commitment to sustainability and encourage students to play an active role in reducing their carbon footprint.
ISKL at Ampang Hilir integrates sustainability into their daily teachings. It’s a member of the Eco-Schools Program and was awarded the Green Flag Award in 2013, in recognition of its outstanding environmental action and education internationally. In addition, ISKL is the first school in Malaysia to receive an award for its environmentally friendly construction from the Green Building Index Platinum program.
5. Sri KDU
Sri KDU Schools is a member of the Eco School Programme. To give the children the opportunity to be change agents in the everyday decisions made about environmental conservation efforts at the school, the school organizes a variety of programmes such as “The Recycling Project” and “Energy Saving Campaign”. The greatest benefit of their collaboration with the Eco School Program is that it brings parents, students and staff together to work toward a sustainable lifestyle that spreads to the surrounding communities in Kota Damansara.
Mahsa International School is committed to promoting awareness about climate change by engaging their students in sustainability initiatives. The school carries out regular assemblies and awareness programs to educate students about the causes and effects of climate change and offers a range of activities and projects for the students to participate in.
elc International School has an active ECO club, managed and run by students, that engages in a wide range of activities and projects aimed at promoting sustainability. Furthermore, the school’s annual International Understanding (IU) Day focuses on raising awareness about climate change and encouraging sustainable practices. Initiatives such as the ECO club and IU Day, reflect the school’s commitment to creating a community of environmentally responsible citizens.
AISM launched a Green and Sustainability Initiative called Living Headquarters (LHQ) in 2019, starting with ELC classes and gradually extending it to other junior school classes, and, finally, to middle/senior school in term 3 of 2023. The aim of this initiative is to take concrete actions to save the environment, starting from the school and spreading outwards to the community. The initiative started with a small-scale Green and Organic Recycling Station project to teach pupils how to green spaces and recycle biodegradable resources, and now the same concept is established at the middle/senior level. The ultimate goal is for AISM to become the first Green and Sustainable Campus within the Taylor’s Education Group and in Malaysia.
International schools outside Malaysia are also involved in combating climate issues. This included the Jerudong International School in Brunei.
JIS encourages students and staff to get involved in various sustainability activities
such as recycling, beach cleaning, and tree planting. The school also works closely with its maintenance staff in purchasing utilities from local companies that receive their waste paper for recycling. Additionally, the school also runs an Outdoor Discovery Centre where students grow fruits and vegetables, harvest rainwater and rewild – a practice of protecting the environment and returning it to its natural state by reintroducing animals and/or plants back into their natural habitat.
In conclusion, there are various ways in which schools can stay green, ranging from implementing eco-friendly practices in their operations and facilities to incorporating sustainability into their curriculum and engaging students in environmental activities. By taking these steps, schools not only reduce their ecological footprint but also provide a valuable learning experience for their students, teaching them the importance of protecting the planet and empowering them to become responsible global citizens. As the world faces growing environmental challenges, it is crucial for schools to continue striving towards sustainability and inspiring future generations to do the same.
Education Destination Malaysia would like to thank the following for responding to the survey on green schools:
• Ellis Lee, CEO, Maple Leaf Kingsley International School
• Mark Lankster, CEO, Epsom College
• Joey Thum, Senior Admissions Executive, Seri Botani International School
• Nur Sakinah Diyanah Binti Abdullah, Digital Lead & Advancement Manager, International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL)
• Wong Sin Yi, Marketing and Admissions Manager, Sri KDU
• Edwena Khor, Senior Manager, Business Development, MAHSA International School
• Gavin Hardie, Senior Services Manager, elc International School
• Isyanti Amalini, Manager, Marketing and Communications, Australian International School (AISM)
• Anne Dickinson, Head of Admissions and Marketing, Jerudong International School