Students of the World Ecology Group Collaborate With Students in South Africa
As Pope Francis highlighted “[e]veryone’s talents and involvement are needed to redress the damage caused by human abuse of God’s creation. All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.”
The Students of the World Ecology Group (SOTWEG) are trying to do just that. They are doing everything they can to protect our planet, environmentally and ethically. They are doing the heavy lifting as well as encouraging their peers to do the same. It’s not a small task but they are up for the challenge.
SOTWEG has been busy discussing issues on a weekly basis, every Tuesday lunchtime in Conlon C13 for those who would like to join us. They have been attending conferences to network with other passionate individuals, we are even collaborating with Christian Brothers’ College in Boksburg, South Africa!
Some key initiatives of SOTWEG include combating littering issues on school grounds, saving water and creating native gardens. As we tackle these issues, we will look to contribute to ethical topics also such as homelessness, modern slavery, and equality.
We encourage our wider community to get involved. If you would like to know how you can be part of this cause, please feel free to contact Ms Silvia Baylie directly.
Below are some snapshots from recent events, including some thoughts from our students.
Eco Conference at Edmund Rice College, West Wollongong
Students attended a conference where they networked with other schools, but they also facilitated a workshop that was very well received. Our passion for ecology was further fuelled by listening to Waverley College Old Boy, Costa Georgiadis (Class of 1980) (Gardening Australia host, Silver Logie Winner, landscape architect and environmental educator).
“The conference was extremely insightful and collaborative. We gained a variety of ideas from other schools to utilise in the future, as well as action plans to use as a path to implement them. However, something I believe was further instilled in us – passion – by Costa Georgiadis in a powerful and incredibly engaging way. Ultimately, the conference instilled a plethora of ideas for future initiatives at Waverley and ignited a spark of collaboration between Edmund Rice Schools. A true highlight of the year so far!” – Kayden Baker
“I had the pleasure of going to Edmund Rice College in Wollongong for the Eco ERC Sustainability Conference. The first session was an introduction of all the schools. Every school presented a three minute video about the initiatives they run. It was interesting to see how different schools focused on different areas of sustainability — litter, waste, water, climate change, recycling. The second session was a brainstorming session. Each school made a mindmap of different ways they could reduce waste in the school grounds, and presented it to the other schools. Some ideas were unrealistic and unhelpful, but they led to discussion that led to a good idea. The third session was a presentation by Gardening Australia’s Costa Georgiadis. He was a really engaging speaker and made me reflect on the best ways to enact change, and how to care for the planet while considering the next seven generations. Another highlight was the sing-along on the bus ride home. “ – James Peate
There were two initiatives that came out of the littering workshop that could work. More planning and design required but definitely potential! Here’s a short clip of James Peate talking about them.
Waste Management Audit
We have a lot of work here! Stop the littering in the first instance and then let’s recycle correctly!
Recycling Expired Rapid Antigen Test Kits
Instead of throwing everything into landfill, the students separated what could be recycled.
Energy Saving Initiative Signage
These signs have been installed in all of our rooms to help give everyone a friendly reminder to turn everything off as they leave the space.
Remember, all of us can make a difference. Small acts, large impacts.
Ms Silvia Baylie
Engineering and Science Educator, Ecology Coordinator