Eco-Schools is a global sustainable schools program that engages 59,000 schools in 68 countries, and we are proud to be one of those schools! The goal of Eco-Schools is to inspire students to protect the environment and take ownership over their actions; Eco-Schools provides schools with Seven Steps that they suggest will help the school become more sustainable. These steps include: forming an eco committee, carrying out an environmental review, making an action plan, monitoring and evaluating progress, linking environmental activities to the school’s curriculum, informing and involving the wider community, and creating an eco-code. We used these steps as a guideline to direct our activity in a way that suited our community best and addressed the environmental problems we thought were most applicable.
The Eco-Schools journey at the American School of Dubai started almost three years ago when we decided that environmental activity at our school needed to be more streamlined and directed. ASD was already taking part in many meaningful service activities and student-run events, but we lacked a unified environmental goal. Furthermore, there wasn’t much publicity on these events and most people in the community weren’t informed of the initiatives taking place. We decided that joining the Eco-Schools organization would be the first step in streamlining environmental activities, publicizing the amazing initiatives that happen in our community, and gathering engagement from other students. We used the Eco-Schools Seven Steps as a general guideline, and as we progressed over the past three years we’ve been able to dive deeper into the issues that impact the ASD community and make real positive change. This resulted in us achieving the highest level of recognition from the Eco-Schools organization – the Eco-Schools Green Flag Award!
Our Eco-Schools journey has been made possible by the multitude of student organizations involved in sustainability initiatives, doing their best to create a meaningful impact on the community.
Some student organizations involved in this pursuit are: the Sustainability Action Team, High Tide, MS and HS Global Issues Network (GIN), Sustain Our World (SOW), and ES Roots & Shoots. These groups have run various eco-friendly events ranging from beach cleanups to plant sales to awareness lessons for ES students. As a step to become more sustainable, we created an Advisory Board comprised of students, faculty, parents, staff, and admin from all divisions to meet together and discuss how to best incorporate and document environmental change occurring around campus. When we first met as an Advisory Board, we selected two environmental themes that were most pertinent to our goals: waste reduction and energy reduction. Various community members worked hard to realize these goals and make substantial progress by taking action to reduce waste and energy consumption at ASD.
We are so grateful to the entire Eco-Schools Advisory Board for their ongoing support over the past few years. We see the Eco-Schools Green Flag as more than just an award; this is the beginning of a new direction of environmental action at ASD, and we hope that through bringing together a group of passionate and dedicated individuals the Eco-Schools journey carries on for a long time after we both graduate from ASD.
We also have a lot planned for this school year, including creating a more efficient system to facilitate the sorting of food waste, collaborating with focus groups to accomplish specific sustainable tasks across all divisions of the school, and publicizing our events and actions to the entire ASD community.
Learn more about sustainability at ASD; if you would like to be involved with Eco-Schools at ASD, please visit ASD's sustainability section of our internal site.