Eco overview 2010- 2012

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Eco overview 2010- 2012      

Our GIS Eco Journey

In 2009, enquiries regarding participation in the Eco Schools project and the 7 step program addressed to the WWF head office in Europe lead to an invitation to join the Eco Schools Green Flag pilot scheme in the UAE, named the HSBC Climate Initiative, in conjunction with WWF/EWS and the Ministry of Education. The launch date was 23 October 2010.

In December 2010 and January 2011, during the annual mission and vision meetings at GIS and after surveying the opinions of students, parents and staff, the school’s mission was changed to include eco awareness. It was considered to be one of the most important new drivers of the school, and thus took prominent position in the mission statement.

During the subsequent year, students have had multiple opportunities to lead their classes, the school, activities and projects related to ecology.  From weighing and recording rubbish created by the school that lead to the recycling program being implemented in collaboration with Tadweer to taking to the stage in Festival Centre for Earth Hour and participating in a work weekend laying water pipes for Gaff trees and building a path around the wadi at EcoVentrue (linking to the community), to collecting rubbish on beach clean ups and releasing turtles back into the sea, GIS students have taken the lead to promote the protection of the Earth.  Included in the year’s changes to learning were multiple curriculum links, from all language art projects being linked to eco themes to math and to science links as well as numerous field trips to places like Wadi Wurayah and to the EMEG marine reserve.  Multiple experts linked to eco companies came to give talks and meet the students to answer questions about their company’s role in reducing their carbon footprint.  HSBC, Tadweer, Barakat,  MeVeg, DUBAL, Al Futtaim, EcoVenture, EMEG, WWF/EWS and EEG all passed on their wisdom to the students during the year.  Our eco gardens, created by collaboration between DUBAL and Al Futtaim as part of their corporate responsibility activities were conceptualized by the students.  In addition, eco leaders now have monthly meetings with the principal to discuss issues affecting them and that are hindering the reduction of our school’s carbon footprint..  Our year saw all the 7 steps met, and the Eco Code being created. It culminated in our eco pre accreditation meeting, which we passed with only a few recommendations.  In 2012, our full eco accreditation took place for the Green Flag – a prestigious symbol for schools related to ISO 14001, as well as being recommended by UNEP.  The Green Flag now flies in front of our school.  These are all prime examples of external changes leading to changes to the GIS mission statement leading to changes in the school. 

Our links to the community will be extended in the coming year with organized trips to other schools to explain what we are doing in our school to become ecologically friendly.  Linking to schools around the world as well as regularly contributing to the WWF/EWS blog and website will give students a platform to express and share ideas.   The year’s leaders are now training new leaders to take over when they leave to go to university or move to the high school section.  In kindergarten, a dedicated eco session linked to the science, social studies and health now forms part of the weekly schedule.  We all share one planet.  By working together and implementing small changes and keeping the vision in our sights, our planet’s future looks bright.  Our school students will continue to “Go 4 Green” in 2012 and beyond.

Amelia Joan Brown

Eco Team Leader

[email protected]

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