Earth Day 2023: Invest In Our Planet

As a College community, we came together this week to celebrate Earth Day.

2023 Eco Justice Captain Kate Creasy, talks us through the significance of this day, some of the activities students were involved in, and how these activities will contribute towards restoring our planet. 

What is Earth Day, and why is it important we celebrate it as a College?

Earth Day is a day to acknowledge our planet, improve what we can do to care for it, and celebrate the progress we have already made. It marks a day in the calendar when countries across the world come together with a common goal – to become more sustainable. In 2023 the focus of Earth Day is Invest in Our Planet, with various key objectives, including Global Clean-up, Sustainable Fashion, The End of Plastics and Climate Literacy.

What were some of the activities students could get involved in on Earth Day?

Students were able to dress up in blue, green and brown tones to show their support for Earth Day and the Sustainable Fashion goal. This aligns with our message to reduce clothing waste, and prompt students to consider how they can reduce their impacts on the environment through everyday actions.

In homeroom, a video was shared with students to solidify why Santa Maria celebrates Earth Day. In period one, the lights were turned off for one hour to reduce power usage, saving 250 kWh of energy and 170 kg of carbon dioxide. This prompted our community to consider the effects of coal-powered electricity and the positive impact that using renewable energy will have.

Students engaged with guest speakers from the Kaarakin Cockatoo Conservation Centre at recess. This aimed at educating students about the endangered black cockatoo species, their importance in our local ecosystems, and how we can help. Stimulation toys made by the EcoSisters and Junior Sprouts, to assist with caring for cockatoos whilst in rehabilitation were presented to the Kaarakin volunteers.

Later on in the day, there was also a school-wide 10-minute rubbish pick up to clean our grounds and address the worldwide goal of Global Cleanup.

How will these activities contribute to restoring our planet? 

These activities represent the College’s contribution to the 2023 Earth Day messages of Global Clean-up, Sustainable Fashion, The End of Plastics and Climate Literacy.

The rubbish pick-up helped remove rubbish from our grounds, preventing contamination of local ecosystems, including the foreshore. This effort is enhanced by the use of the 3-bin system and the reduction of landfill waste. By turning off the lights, we use less fossil-fuel-generated energy and reduce the carbon dioxide that enters the atmosphere. Finally, by donating stimulation toys to the Kaarakin Conservation group, we assist in rehabilitating local wildlife and enhancing the biodiversity of South-West WA.

By positively impacting our local environment, we can reflect the universal goal of a sustainable future and enable the community to think bigger about the future of our planet and what we can do to improve it. By educating students about our daily negative impacts on the environment and what we can do to be more sustainable, we can empower the next generation to continue caring for the local and global environment and take hold of their future.

What was the highlight of the day for you? 

One of my highlights for the day was the Kaarakin Cockatoo Conservation Centre talk at recess. Many students came, particularly in the younger years, and were very engaged with the presentation. Mrs Marshall shared a wealth of information, and it was super interesting to learn about the amazing native wildlife of South West WA. It was also great to learn about how we, as students and members of the wider community, can assist Kaarakin in their work to preserve local biodiversity. The students loved the talk – especially Rex the Cockatoo – and were very grateful they could speak to us. Even students passing by were intrigued, and many stopped to take a closer look at Rex. It was great that the students could see a black cockatoo in person to understand the risks they face living amongst humans and the great work Kaarakin does to assist them. 

What impressed me the most was how the whole student community came together to recognise Earth Day. Being able to dress up in blue, green and brown clothes seemed to bring the College together and help students recognise the part they can play in working towards a more sustainable environment. Students were able to express their support in this way and were prompted to consider how they can reduce their environmental impact through fashion. In the morning, most students were enthusiastic about the day and enjoyed the SLC welcoming them with stickers and music. I believe that this sense of unity is the first step in achieving our sustainability goals as both individuals and a school community. 

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