STORIES OF THOSE CHANGING THE WORLD
Earth Day Schools
Earth Day Schools are a global network of educators working for a better future. Every year millions of educators and students plant trees, host cleanups, participate in citizen science and advocate for climate action. Sign up as an Earth Day School to join the network.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
First Environmental Club of People of Determination
Ghayathi Center for Care and Rehabilitation
For Earth Day 2020, Ghayathi Center for Care and Rehabilitation in Abu Dhabi found exciting ways to virtually engage community members in the environmental movement. The center recently started an online forum for users to share their thoughts about the environmental movement, giving people greater opportunities to raise their voices to defend the planet.
The Ghayathi Center also actively works to include special needs individuals in the environmental movement. It developed the first environmental sustainability club for people with special needs in the western portion of the United Arab Emirates, effectively bringing together environmental activists, people of determination and other community members in Abu Dhabi for a common purpose.
They have accomplished this in part through their art program for special needs children. The program encourages participants to make original pieces of art using recycled materials, sending a strong message to all of us: regardless of our age, race, gender or anything else, we still can act to save our planet.
According to special education teacher Riadh Zammali, the opportunity for students with disabilities to contribute to the environment “is an opportunity for community participation, responsibility, social integration and increased confidence in them as individuals with national responsibilities.”
Al-Bayan Bilingual School
The students of Al-Bayan Bilingual School in Kuwait City, Kuwait are keenly aware of their responsibility, both now and into the future, to better look after the Earth.
“It is important as educators that we support them in taking action to address concerns that are important to them and their local communities. From diverse marine ecosystems to harsh deserts that can reach temperatures of 60°C in summer, our students can see the impact of climate change around them happening now.”-Kevin Fullbrook, Deputy Director of Al-Bayan Bilingual School
Despite learning virtually for most of 2020, students were able to assemble a mobile solar-powered charging station for their mobile devices. Students learned about circuits, photovoltaic cells, batteries and solar charging, and were able to construct and test different configurations for efficiency and charging capabilities. Students enjoyed considering the social impact of what devices like this might have for communities where access to reliable power sources can be a challenge.
Our School, Clean School
Kendriya Vidyalaya No 1 Roorkee School
For Vipin Kumar Tyagi, Principal of Kendriya Vidyalaya No 1 Roorkee School, it is important to make students aware about environmental issues and how to decrease pollution and the greenhouse effect.
Roorkee KV School has launched a planting project in which every student plants a tree on his or her birthday and takes care of it. As a result, more than 2,000 plants were planted this year and more than 12,000 have been planted over the last eight years. The school is also raising awareness about swachhta, or hygienic practices, among students to keep the environment clean and green. They have also developed two fruit gardens in the school.
“Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.”
Knowing Where I Live
I embarked on a project called “KNOWING WHERE I LIVE,” which lasted for two days and engaged students and tourists in birdwatching within a protected area (Becheve Nature Reserve). The aim was to let students and tourists use birds as focal species to help them understand what is happening in their environment. The participants enjoyed identifying different birds and analyzing their behavior.
It is important to teach students about protecting the Earth because man depends on the Earth for survival. There is a need for students who are future policy makers, leaders and conservationists to learn about and understand their environment so as to utilize resources sustainably. They must also do so to preserve biodiversity and protect against climate change and global warming.