Planet Protectors: ISKL Celebrates Earth Week

ISKL embraces Earth Week with schoolwide initiatives that encourage the whole community to unify, acknowledge, and appreciate what the Earth offers and take the opportunity to give back.
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“The Earth Is What We All Have In Common” ~ Wendell Berry.

Earth Week is an essential observance, a globally collaborative approach to consciously raise awareness on how to take care of our Planet Earth. Every year in April, nations unite to advocate and promote environmental, sustainability, and conservation issues. The efforts, however large or small, do not go unseen. The forces behind the initiative rely heavily on all levels of community spirit, whether from world leaders, multinational organizations, educationalists, small-scale businesses, or individual endeavors.

The official theme for Earth Week in 2024 is ‘Planet vs. Plastics,’ aimed at fighting and reducing the central issue of plastic manufacturing, usage, and waste worldwide by 60%, with a target of 2040. This may seem like a significant time in the future; however, the daily steps to focus on making a difference for the next 16 years will hugely reward our planet Earth.
ISKL embraces Earth Week throughout all divisions. The initiaitve encourages a unification of the whole community to acknowledge and appreciate what the Earth has to offer and, with this, take the opportunity to give back.

Students brought their knowledge of Earth Week home, using the 5Rs of Refuse, Reuse, Relax, Restore, and Rethink, to encourage all families to understand how they can make a positive change daily. Schoolwide, students were encouraged to bring their blue and yellow plastics, which will be recycled into an end-of-year surprise for the Class of 2024.
Students used each day of the week to focus on the 5Rs with the following themes:

  • REFUSE MONDAY – Say NO to single-use plastics.
  • REUSE TUESDAY – Reduce plastics by reusing and recycling.
  • RELAX WEDNESDAY – Relax and connect with nature.
  • RESTORE THURSDAY – Rewilding helps plants and animals to reestablish habitats.
  • RETHINK FRIDAY – Rethink our food habits, wastage, packaging, and meat-free options.

Earth Week Schedule

Following is a summary of activities that students took part in each division:

High School

Over in High School (HS), the HS Service Council students created this year’s Earth Day Challenges to raise awareness of daily food waste and recycling with the message that every little action counts! They collaborated with a CAS project group to create an Earth Day Challenge website. The importance of Earth Day was introduced at an HS assembly as part of the HS Student Leadership Team (SLT)’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) campaign.

Service Council students also observed the amount of food waste collected in four bins with the House labels (Hornbill, Iora, Kingfisher, and Minivet). They weighed each bin for House points – with the Hornbill House having the least amount of food waste emerging as the winner.

Food waste collection

Another CAS project group led by students Emily (‘25) and Betty (‘25) made a ‘puzzle wall’ to portray ‘the detrimental impact of plastic pollution’. They decided to construct a puzzle wall portraying plastic pollution’s detrimental impact. They incorporated a variety of recycled materials, including plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and bubble wrap, all of which symbolize the environmental issues the world is facing. They shared, “We hope to achieve our objective, which is to cultivate a deeper awareness and understanding of the severe effects of plastic pollution, particularly its devastating impact on aquatic organisms.” They added that they hope to not only engage the school community but also to inspire actionable change, encouraging a more thoughtful and sustainable interaction with the environment.

Pollution Puzzle Wall

The Community Partnership Club Key Club (which supports the education of refugees) members enjoyed providing an eco-tour to their partner community, Zotung Refugee Catholic Learning Centre (ZRCLC), and arranged a ‘recycling game’ to play together. One refugee student shared, “The walk around the pond was lovely, idyllic, and fun with ducks, geese, and guinea fowl also strolling by!” All participants could reconnect with nature and each other, exchange ideas and take time to discuss environmental issues.

Key Club Eco Tour

Some Grade 10 students, as part of the Eagle Scout Project’s ‘Second Chance for Furniture’ initiative, successfully transported up-cycled furniture from ISKL to three local refugee learning centers. This ongoing enterprise, which recently concluded, was met with great appreciation from the beneficiaries. Katie Milton, ISKL’s Central Administrative Officer, commended the student project leader, Zhi Hong C. (‘26), for his excellent work clearing the main storage area. “This effort is crucial for the school’s ongoing initiatives to create innovative learning spaces on campus.”

Furniture Donation

Middle School
For Middle School, Earth Week occurred during the same time as Malaysia Week (MW). This was a fun-filled and immersive educational experience where all MS students enthusiastically took part in Earth Week challenges, which included engaging in Service and Sustainability opportunities.

These opportunities were not only educational but also fun, such as documenting a beach clean-up using TikTok, writing a letter to their future self about the state of the planet, and creating environmental art using natural materials with the forest or sand floor as a canvas. They also showed their commitment to the cause by brainstorming ways to eliminate plastic from their MW experience, such as purchasing snacks and drinks without using anything disposable and aiming for zero waste for the whole MW week.

Earth Week Trash Hero

Elementary School
Elementary School (ES) also enthusiastically participated in the school-wide Earth Week initiatives, recognizing their own Earth Hour by avoiding using electricity in the classroom for one hour. Each grade group also made Earth Week pledges focused on sustainability and eco support. With the help of some parent volunteers, students were invited to bring used clothing items into school for a ‘Swap Don’t Shop’ event. They were encouraged to participate in a Free Dress Day, wearing blue and green, an environmental-themed t-shirt, or pinning a pledge to show their commitment to Earth Week.
ES Principal Julie Olson shares, “Throughout this Earth Week, we have all been learning the importance of refusing, reducing, and rethinking our use of plastic and demonstrating responsibility for our actions.”

In essence, Earth Week 2024 is a continued effort to emphasize and pressure governments worldwide to continue mitigating the impacts of global warming. It is of pressing concern and increasing urgency for governments to consider how they can continue to implement and improve their national initiatives supporting the global program to preserve ecosystems and biodiversity.
With the advancements in technology and communication channels, Earth Week and its impact throughout any given year are more visible than ever. Individually, we can all engage in environmental causes, and with our increasing knowledge and understanding of what we CAN do, there is an incentive to spread the message of care for our planet.

Earth Week Clothes Swap

In the words of David Attenborough:

“It’s our responsibility to do everything we can to create a planet that provides a home not just for us but for all life on Earth.”

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