Why is Sustainability a Priority at EMPS?
Sustainability is the minimum condition that the planet needs to continue to maintain all life and systems in the future. The main focus is the need for sustainability in human lifestyles, which includes all facets of human life, from the extraction of natural resources to the production of goods and services that we consume. Ensuring all our actions become more sustainable is crucial for the future of the planet.
Both the Federal and State governments recognize the importance of educational programs as integral to furthering the development of sustainability in Australia. The Australian Government has a national action plan for education for sustainability called ‘Living Sustainably’ and the WA Department of Education has the ‘Sustainable Schools Initiative’. Both of these plans encourage schools to embed sustainability within their school culture. They support whole-school approaches to education for sustainability that provide both immediate environmental, social, financial and educational benefits and encourage engagement with values, knowledge and skills in sustainability for the longer term.
However, the most important reason why our school has sustainability education as a priority is because today’s students are tomorrow’s citizens. To become more sustainable as a country we need future generations who are educated in environmental issues and who see the importance of adopting sustainable practices in their lives. These citizens of the future, today’s children, should live in a society where living sustainably is not an alternative lifestyle, it is the accepted and normal way to live.
Becoming a Sustainable School
At EMPS we have an ongoing focus on making our school a more sustainable place. To date, we have put in place many initiatives to reduce our energy use, our consumption of finite resources such as paper, our water consumption and the amount of waste that we send to landfill.
To save ENERGY we have installed solar panels and trained our staff and students to turn off lights, air-conditioners and appliances when they are not needed.
To save WATER we have installed ‘No Flush’ urinals and drinking fountains that are timed to turn off automatically. We have also put in a dam, with a solar powered pump, to provide irrigation for our oval.
To save on PAPER use we have a paper reduction policy. All paper is used on both sides before being recycled into ‘bricks’ that can be used as an alternative to wood in fires.
Since 2011 we have reduced what we send to landfill by two thirds. As well as recycling most of our paper we also recycle all of our food waste which goes either to our worm farm, to our chickens or into our compost bins.
STUDENT INVOLVEMENT IN SUSTAINABILITY PRACTICES
Sustainability is an integral part of our science curriculum with each year level having a sustainability learning focus.
- We have been an accredited ‘Waste Wise’ school since 2012.
- All our students, from Kindy to Year 6, are involved in sustainability practices at EMPS through the recycling of their used paper and food scraps.
- Many classes are also involved in growing fruit and vegetables.
- Classes take turns in looking after our chickens. They feed them the scraps from breakfast club and from the canteen, keep the chicken house clean and collect the eggs each day.
- We also have students responsible for maintaining the worm farm and compost bins, watering our vegie gardens and turning off appliances at the end of each school day.
- Our Year Six students collect all the waste paper (used both sides) each week. This paper is then shredded, soaked for a few days and then compressed into paper briquettes which are dried and later on sold as a wood substitute for fires.
Our School Cares About Recycling
To promote and recognize sustainable practices in the school we have a special award; the ‘Green OSCAR Award’. When a class has demonstrated an innovative way to ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ they are awarded ‘The Green Oscar’ at an assembly. They then become the custodians of ‘OSCAR’ until another class is awarded a certificate. The Green Oscar awards are a fun way of acknowledging classes that demonstrate that; Our School Cares About Recycling!