#bethechange #teachersleadtheway #fixthefuture
As I have already mentioned earlier, in order to fix the problems in our world, we need a global shift in consciousness. We need to be motivated by something other than money. Now, I use the term “we” very loosely, because I know that teachers generally are not guided by money – we would have made a different career choice if that was the case. However, there is no doubt that we live in a world driven by consumerism, and teachers are incredibly busy, so we need convenience as well as economy. Don’t get me started on funding our classrooms because of underresourcing of schools, but you know what I’m talking about.
Unfortunately, the suppliers that fit our needs are some of the planet’s most irresponsible companies. We fill our classrooms and prize boxes with cheap stationery and gimmicks that will break and go to landfill not long after we hand them over. But it’s not just the landfill we are contributing to – consider the amount of water used to bring one cute pencil sharpener or felt tip marker to our room. Enormous amounts of water are required for the manufacture of the plastic, then the moulding, then crazy amounts of water required to ship products from China to Australia, and then shipping within Australia. Not only this, but every step of the process creates more pollution – both air and sea. Then we have the issue of what happens to these items after we are finished with them…
Thanks to WWF for this explanation of how our choices will affect the planet for generations to come…or even forever. You can read more here: https://www.wwf.org.au/news/blogs/the-lifecycle-of-plastics#gs.nm0rks
And then, the human cost. While we are buying cheap, convenient resources to help manage our students’ behaviours, children in other parts of the world are working for next to nothing, sometimes even dying, to build our smart phones (read here https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/oct/12/phone-misery-children-congo-cobalt-mines-drc ), not so smart, huh?
This problem can be so overwhelming that we find ourselves frozen with apathy. We say one person doesn’t make a difference, but if I start choosing stores like these ones: https://zerowastestore.com.au/ or https://www.buyecogreen.com.au/school-supplies-c104, I can talk to my colleagues about it, I can share it on Facebook, I can tell my students about it, and I can show them that I am taking action for their future. I can educate and explain options for the school community. I can be the leader and the role model. The movement has started already, but look at the power that YOU have to spur this change onward, just by walking the walk!
YOU CAN SAVE THE PLANET JUST BY MAKING PEOPLE CARE AND PROVIDING THEM WITH ALTERNATIVES!!!
Some other things that all teachers could be doing to set the example include:
* Using reusable shopping bags (of course)
* Using reusable produce bags like these:
* Purchasing larger items secondhand – Gumtree, Ebay, etc.
* Instead of prize boxes, have privileges, such as sitting in the teacher’s chair for a day, or 10 minutes computer time. I know casual teachers especially need SOMETHING to offer for their own survival!
* Buy locally grown/made wherever possible – it’s a win on so many levels.
* Spread the word about everything you learn. We’re only frightened of things when we feel we have no power, but this has to change. Tell people what’s happening, but also tell them what they CAN do!
* Teach your students about the costs of our lifestyle and show them what they can do. There are some links at the bottom of the page for lessons and resources. There are so many things out there now!
* Stop laminating everything! Use write and wipe pouches instead, or if it’s for display purposes, paper is fine! Every time you laminate something, that’s another problem for your grandchildren.
* Recycle! Is your school recycling? Are they accessing the Return and Earn scheme? Not only are you helping to save plastic from heading to landfill, but you can earn money for your school! Here is more information: https://returnandearn.org.au/. There are so many great things that can be made from recycled plastic – take a look yourself! https://www.wwf.org.au/news/blogs/17-cool-products-made-from-recycled-plastics#gs.nm2s9x
But, most importantly, stop and think. Ask yourself what happens to this after you have finished with it. That shiny plastic cutlery looks so beautiful for the Year 6 Farewell dinner, but is it really worth the environmental cost for one moment of viewing pleasure? Is there another way to meet that requirement?
I will continually post links and other cool things that I find that empower all of us to make positive changes. Really, this post has only scratched the surface, because there are so many aspects of the environment that we need to consider. We have to start somewhere though.
Go out and BE THE CHANGE!
Your water footprint: