Care of Our Common Home
‘If we choose to ignore it, then we choose not to care.’ Axel Stapleton (Year 7)
Pope Francis’ encyclical letter, ‘Laudato Si’, on Care of our Common Home, is a theological response to the environmental crisis. He is calling not only the Church but the entire world to respond to the “urgent challenge to protect our common home” (LD#13), a home that is “falling into serious disrepair” (LD#61). He invites all of us to enter into new dialogue on “how we are shaping the future of our planet” (LD#14). He is seeking input and action inclusive of everyone, “since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all” (LD#14).
Pope Francis names our “throwaway culture” as a root cause of the ecological crisis. We face pollution and waste, scarcity of water, loss of biodiversity, decline in the quality of life and breakdown of society, and extreme consumerism with global inequality.
In response to Laudato Si, EREA calls for school communities to demonstrate leadership and proactivity to address key challenges which relate to the sustainability of the entire planet. This requires a strategic approach to creating a sustainable community, integrating ecological goals and outcomes into the intent of our planning, and developing partnerships with organisations committed to ecological and sustainable practices. (EREA Principal’s Ecology and Sustainability Statement)
So what are we doing at Waverley College in response to this call to action?
Under the skilful and energetic guidance of Ms Silvia Baylie, Waverley has a group of passionate students who meet once a week to plan and implement initiatives that aim to preserve our land and sea, and eradicate social injustice and inequalities. This group is called Students of the World Ecology Group, known as SOTWEG.
It was with great pleasure to present the following students with their badge pins at assembly last week: Luca Cornelius, Bertie Cottell, Tomas Crosson, Praman Gandhi, Lachlan Isaac, Oliver Isaac, Ethan Khatib, Oliver Lorimer, Taj Lynn, Max Sheehy, Axel Stapleton, Fox Stapleton, Oscar Wilson, James Peate and Kayden Baker.
Aligning with SOTWEG’s values around sustainability, the badge pins have been designed by the group and manufactured from wood, onsite at the College.
Axel Stapleton spoke with purpose and passion to the assembly, appealing to our collective responsibility to find ways to look after our environment, highlighting that “if we choose to ignore it, then we choose not to care.” He outlined some of the focus areas for SOTWEG.
Recycling – Be thoughtful in correctly using the clearly labelled recycling bins around the school.
Eliminating Littering – Take pride in your environment and remember that rubbish left on the ground ends up in stormwater drains and ultimately, our oceans.
Soft Plastics – Working with the canteen to find alternative packaging to eliminate single use plastic.
Reducing our water consumption – Sydney Water will complete an audit of the school’s water usage to find ways to reduce the amount of water use.
Increasing native gardens – Building on the existing gardens in the Centenary Quad to have more native plants in our local area to attract bees and wildlife.
Edmund Rice Education Beyond Borders (EREBB) Global Classrooms – Connecting with Edmund Rice schools in other countries to learn from each other and working towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development goals.
Ms Baylie reminded us that creating a sustainable future is not one person’s job, nor up to a few individuals, but rather, we all have a part to play. She challenged us to make one change to support the initiatives of SOTWEG.
I admire the passion, dedication and innovation of SOTWEG and look forward to the Waverley community supporting the group with their integral ecology and sustainability initiatives.
A reminder that SOTWEG meet weekly on Tuesday during lunch in C13. New members are most welcome!