Significance Of Small Actions
Guangwi C., Class of 2020
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), an estimated 18 million acres (7.3 million hectares) of forest are lost each year. This is very concerning, as forests help our society in so many ways, such as absorbing emissions of carbon, the creation of oxygen, and lives of plant and animal species, as well as human beings. Thus, forest reforestation is an important element in tackling climate change.
With the availability of carbon-offset funds collected from school trips and great passion for the environment, ISKL faculty members, Mr Naughton and Ms. Popovich decided to organize a tree planting trip for the ISKL community. The trip itself was an inspiring and fulfilling educational experience involving members of all parts of the ISKL community, students from ES to HS, faculty, and staff, for a fun half-day of tree planting at the North Selangor Peat Swamp Forest, located about an hour from ISKL’s Ampang Hilir campus. The NGO on-site managing the event was Global Environment Centre (GEC), and we were joined by about 180 more participants from other schools, universities and companies.
A Selangor Forestry Department officer explained the importance of forest restoration as it acts as a carbon sink and prevents forest fires. It was a very informative session as we learnt about the significance of our small actions. After the briefing, the team headed into the forest to start their tree planting day. Everyone was handed three tree saplings to plant. We all worked together as a team; some of us dug holes while the others planted the saplings. While there were some minor setbacks, such as rain that made the ground very muddy and squelchy, the high spirits of the team never faltered, and together we planted the trees in record time.
An additional bonus was the opportunity to meet people with the same passion from other organizations, and exchange ideas about environmental conservation. It was definitely an eye-opening experience for all the participants as the collective strength of a group was very motivational.
Service learning in action
Over the past year, Guangwi C., Arezu K., and Shreya U. Class of 2020 have helped manage and promote the event as part of their International Baccalaureate Creativity Activity Service (CAS) project. Their goal was to raise awareness about the importance of forest conversation and to empower youth to take positive action. The three Seniors share their insights:
“It is really important to take action starting with what we can do in our local community to raise awareness about the importance of forest reforestation. Looking around our school community, we found that the issue had not really been a concern to many of our peers due to the disconnection with the forests - many of us are not exposed to nature since we live in a big city and don’t feel a direct impact in our lives. Although our school has numerous clubs that promote a green lifestyle, we discovered that there was not really an opportunity for the wider school community to be exposed to the importance of forest conservation.
Therefore, this tree planting trip was planned as one of the ways we could actively get our ISKL community to become more environmentally aware, and participate in a small positive steps to alleviate this issue. By bringing people closer to nature with this event, we hope that our community and our peers will become more vocal and active regarding reforestation, and that this plants the seed for an even bigger push in ISKL for forest conservation.”
As their CAS project comes to a close, the trio hope that ISKL will make the tree planting event an annual tradition for the community and that it encourages more students to dedicate their time to helping the environment, a passion that is so important in our world today.