Registered: December 2009
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I believe that it is important to do your part in sustaining this earth we live on. So, I did a project at my middle/high school which I called '40 Days of Green'. For 40 days, I, together with my school, did different activities to teach and raise awareness about going green, helping the environment, and restoring the Kingdom of God.
The reason I did a 40 day going green period and not a month or a week or something is because of it's significance in the Bible. A 40-something time period, whether days, months, or years is always a period of testing, trial, probation, or chastisement (but not judgment) and ends with a period of restoration, revival or renewal. For 40 days we did different activities to help care for the earth we live on. However, for us as Christians it is not just about doing the cool thing of going green but it is also about living by Jesus' example and restoring God's earth.
On Day One of the '40 Days of Green' I went around the school, doubling the amount of paper recycling baskets found in the hallways. For the rest of the year, the students have easy access to paper recycling bins. If it weren't for the bins, that paper would end up in the garbage. To promote paper conservation we had a 'No Paper Handout Day', teachers were encouraged not to give any photocopied notes, worksheets, or any other form of handouts that used excess paper. On top of that, for one day, I removed the paper towels out of the bathrooms. My school has both paper towels and hand dryers, so for that day students were unable to use up the paper towels.
For one week the homeroom classes competed in a clothes drive. The class that brought in the most used clothing was the winner. Clothing brought in was donated to Bible's for Missions, where they in turn sell it and use the profit to make and give bible's to people in less fortunate countries.
One day, one person from each family got a paper bag containing 3 flower bulbs. Two daffodils, and one tulip. They were for them to plant wherever they wanted. They could use them to brighten up a street corner, or surprise their mother when it bloomed in the spring. Out of those I saved about 60 bulbs and planted them around our school property.
One week we did a coin drive. Monday through Friday students brought in change. The homeroom classed set goals as to how much they would like to try and bring in. Then at the end of the week they counted their money and chose off a list from Christian Reformed World Relief Committee what they wanted to buy. As a school of 170 students we raised almost $600. We bought nutrition kits, hygiene kits, emergency kits, fresh water supplies, lanterns, a well, a latrine, and many other things for less fortunate people in various countries around the world. It was very successful.
To teach the students ways of conserving water I started by learning how toilets worked. And so, one day I went and opened up all 23 toilets in our school and adjusted the float to reduce the water level. Our toilets at school have 13.2 litres tanks, and by decreasing the water level, we save about 2 litres per flush, totalling up to about 300 litres saved every day!
In homerooms I organized a focus on the necessity of water, and the role it plays in people's lives around the world. Homeroom teachers showed their classes a movie that teaches the importance of clean water. I also organized a contest as a fun learning activity. Each homeroom was given a 2 litre pop bottle cut in half, rocks, sand, cotton balls, and a cup of dirty water. Classes were instructed to try their best to filter the dirty water with the supplies given. The contest was a big success and the students were made aware of how lucky we are to turn on the tap and get fresh, clean water.
'Drain Watch' was a day in which you were supposed to be extra aware of what really goes down your drain. I turned it into more of a spirit day (like pajama day or crazy hat day). For 'Drain Watch' students were encouraged not to use hairspray, gel, makeup, excessive amounts of shampoo and many other products such as those. Eventually these chemicals all end up going down the drain, and while it is treated it is still important that we understand how dangerous it could be.
BC Hydro, the energy provider in British Columbia, has a 'Team Power Smart' anyone can join and commit to cutting down the electricity consumption by 10%. They also have a team that goes out to promote conserving electricity, I contacted them and invited them to come to my school for an afternoon. They came and did a presentation, played some games, had great prizes, and taught us a bit about our part in energy conservation.
As a school we participated in a 'classes in the dark' day. Our classes for that day were held in the dark, with optional assistance of flashlights. This idea was again used on the final day of the project as a sort of celebration. We had chapel in the dark. We sang some worship songs, listened to a speaker, and played a massive scavenger hunt/relay race game all in the dark. It was a lot of fun, and had a great response from students.
For most of these projects they do not make a significant difference on the environment, however the purpose of this project was not to create a perfect world in only 40 days, (as such would not be possible) but instead to teach and enable people to be better stewards of this earth. The picture I submitted is one picture with many different symbols to show the different things that we did. I myself am holding a calendar with 40 days on it, to show that this was an extensive period of time in which we did multiple activities. In the picture I have 9 packages of unused paper to signify the paper we saved, a bag of clothes as a representative of the clothes drive, a candle to represent the hours spent in the dark, a stack of paper towels to show for the paper saved by using blow dryers. There are two glasses of water, one clean and one dirty, to represent the information learned about water, and of course, a recycle bin.