Every Day is Earth Day

Wednesday, May 04, 2016 | posted by Scott Gemmell-Davis |
April saw an assortment of activities, lesson, and projects, all focused on saving the planet, throughout the Global Playground community.  After a month of bombarding students with environmental jargon, challenging photos, and alarming statistics, we have reached a concluding consensus:  environmental education cannot be constrained to one month.  In honor of this insight, several of Global Playground’s schools are galvanizing their students to take initiative and spearhead a few sustainable projects.  

Take Vietnam for example.  This summer, students plan to transform the backyard of one of their private learning centers into a public garden, to be reaped and sowed by each student that comes through the center, from ages 7 to 17.  These same students hope to partner with the Asia Foundation and Barefoot Books, with the goal of constructing a local English library that, for every book accumulated, would sponsor the planting of a tree somewhere around the world.  Finally, students celebrated Earth week in a colorful and crafty manner.  First, dipping their hands in blue and green paint and leaving their mark on a cloth banner, they pledged to live environmentally conscious lives.  The banner now hangs victoriously before the aforementioned learning center.  Second, they healed the earth (pictured below).  Each student, on a Band-Aid, listed one sustainable lifestyle choice they could make, before proudly mounting their commitments upon a sickly Earth.  

Thailand has an equally impressive resume of initiatives.  At Mae La Noi Daroonsik, students feed and take care of frogs, pigs, and fish as part of their daily duties.  They also learn to raise chickens.  These animals are either sold locally, with proceeds going directly to the boarding school that hosts ethnic minority students, or become an organic option at the canteen.  This process teaches students how to ethically and responsibly raise animals, and students are able to see tangible results from their hard work.  There’s also a community vegetable garden (pictured below), maintained exclusively by students, that adds to the dining hall menu.  Finally, students can purchase water in recycled and reused bottles, and are expected to return all empty bottles to the store before making their next purchase.  

One of Global Playground’s students in Vietnam, a 14-year old named My, mistakenly referred to Earth Day as “The World’s Day” during one of her class presentations.  We think she might be on to something.  Wouldn’t it be cool if kids across the world could use the global crisis that is Climate Change to grow together; to unify around a singular evil.  Instead of letting the woes of the environment exacerbate partisan rifts, Global Playground is pushing its students and teachers to use Climate Change as a medium for productive cross-cultural dialogue; not just on Earth Day, but every day.