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Student Blog: Why Sustainability matters

11 October 2018

“Then I realised: I AM somebody…”

Surval is one of the growing number of schools where the teachers and the students are trying to maintain an ecological balance between our quality of life and the quality of life of other ecosystems in order to ensure that our style of living is sustainable; we want to be part of securing a safe future for the next generations to live in. 

So where do we get our motivation from? Our English teacher and chair of the Surval Sustainability club, Miss MacLeod, told us one story of her own personal experience that we are still influenced by: “In July of 2002, I spent two weeks in the French resort of Les Deux Alpes at a Snowboard Camp that took place on the ancient glacier there. At peak height of 3600 metres, we even got some fresh powder after a summer thunderstorm! “It was on one of the slopes here that I first learned how to carve a turn and, sixteen years later, I can still vividly remember the high (no pun intended!) of that moment. Last year, I returned to Les Deux Alpes for some summer snowboarding. It was oddly disorientating to return to a familiar yet changed place, and it took me a few minutes to realise that the red run where I carved my first turn was gone. The chairlift beside the run had been dismantled. The irrevocability of this was frightening. We read about the effects of climate change so often, yet this was the most powerful example of global warming that I had witnessed myself.”

The effects of global warming will be terrible and irreversible. Knowing this, I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about global warming; and then I realised - I am somebody. I can be part of that change, and hopefully inspire other people to change too. When it comes to global warming, everybody wants to change the world but nobody wants to change themselves. However, global warming threatens our economy, our natural resources, our health and our future - it is clear that we must act immediately.

Last term, the newly created Surval Sustainability club began its work towards positive change at Surval by planting a vegetable, herb and fruit garden, creating a recycling initiative for the students’ end of term clear-outs, and cut down on the amount of plastic used for pack lunches on our regular school excursions, including getting rid of plastic water bottles and ensuring students use their reusable Surval ones.

Besides our weekly club meetings, our first main event this term was on Sustainability Day last Sunday, where the club worked on creating a range of resources to further improve sustainability at Surval and raise students’ awareness. We sourced crates to be used on each floor of the school for recycling paper and plastic; made colourful cards with friendly tips on how to avoid wasting energy, which we will encourage staff and students to put up in their rooms; did research on which plants absorb carbon dioxide and thus create a healthier living environment, with a view to fundraising to buy these later on in the term; and wrote a “Green Classroom Pledge”, which next term we will work with the teachers in implementing. We have also contacted Protect our Winters Switzerland to ask if one of their ambassadors will visit the school to speak to the whole school at an assembly. Watch this space…

There are still some people, of course, who refuse to accept the enormous amount of scientific proof that humans are causing climate change. However, even if you don’t believe in climate change, wouldn’t you just prefer breathing cleaner air? Imagine standing in a closed garage with a car engine running. Now imagine that garage is our planet.

To me, the saddest, yet most truthful proverb I have ever heard is: “Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money.”

And so: forget about wealth and worry instead about our environment and the future our children will live in. Every single person in the entire world can make a difference. Believe in yourselves and don’t be afraid to take the responsibility to take action and change our frightening reality into a better future!