From 8 to 12 of May, the Green Team held a Green Week in the Secondary school. The focus of the week was to promote an awareness of environmental issues, encourage sustainable actions throughout the school and inspire the community to learn about ways to support the environment.
Throughout the week, the Green Team ran a variety of activities, including bee hotel and beeswax wrap-making sessions, as well as a movie screening and bake sale.
Our first activity, on Monday, focused on doing our part to help protect Australia’s native bees. Australia has over 600 indigenous bee species, which are under threat of losing their natural habitats. A group of students came together in the design tech rooms during lunchtime to make ‘bee hotels’ – shelters for our vulnerable bee populations in which they can rest and nest. The process involved sawing bamboo stakes into shorter lengths to compact them into various jars and tin containers.
The beeswax wrap-making session was definitely a highlight of the week! On Tuesday, students were involved in making their own beeswax wrap. The beeswax was grated and spread onto a chosen square of fabric and, finally, melted onto the fabric using an iron. The process was straightforward, simple, and fun! In just one lunchtime, all the students involved were able to make their own reusable beeswax wraps, which can now be used to wrap lunches, rather than using disposable zip lock bags, glad wrap, or aluminium foil.
During Wednesday lunchtime, 50 middle school students flocked to the theatre to watch a movie screening of The Lorax. Not only was the popcorn enjoyed by everyone, but the film also had an important message about individuals acting on environmental issues. As Dr Seuss said,
‘Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.’
Climate change and other environmental issues are overwhelming, and you may feel as if your actions are insignificant. However, we shouldn’t underestimate the positive impact of a small action. On the day, everyone was encouraged to bring a waste-free lunch – one zip lock bag may not seem like a lot, but if 800 Tintern Grammar students used a zip lock bag each day for a year, we would have sent approximately 300,000 zip lock bags to landfill!
Thursday’s theme was reducing electricity usage – ‘Lights Free Thursday’. As of 2021, 70% of Australia’s electricity comes from coal and gas. Minimising our energy usage is vital to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Students were encouraged to turn off appliances such as heaters, projectors, electronics, and classroom lights whenever they weren’t needed, but the day also served as a reminder to continue to be mindful of energy wastage in the future. Additionally, the Green Team took part in a lunchtime baking session where we cooked up a storm in preparation for the next day’s bake sale!
On the last day of Green Week, the Green Team held a bake sale to raise money for the Australian Conservation Foundation, an independent organisation combatting “two of the biggest challenges” we currently face, “climate damage and habitat destruction”. Deforestation is a huge issue in our country – regions of Australia’s native habitats that are the size of 26 Opera Houses are being bulldozed every hour! Students were involved in selling goods baked by the Green Team at home and on Thursday lunchtime. Thanks to the support of teachers and students we raised $461.80 dollars for this important cause!
It was so incredible to see the enthusiasm and willingness of everyone involved throughout the week. We’d like to extend a huge thank you to all the staff and students who helped organise these events and make this week possible.
Meleah Byth and Anika Mulemane | Green Team Leaders