05 April 2019
Green Week 2019
We successfully ran the Sevenoaks School Green Week 2019.
We successfully ran the Sevenoaks School Green Week 2019, a group effort made possible by the collaboration of a team of dedicated staff and students from across the Middle and Upper Schools.
We ran a series of activities run throughout the week with the aim to inspire students to reflect on the concept of sustainability and the positive changes they can make to create a more sustainable way of life. The activities, which ranged from a debate about the meat industry to a workshop teaching students how to make their own deodorant, involved students of all ages and helped bring together the school community in a joint effort to reduce our effect on the environment.
The week kicked off with a taste test comparing real dairy with vegan alternatives, and discovered that over 52 per cent of those surveyed preferred the vegan options. This was an extremely valuable exercise as it taught us in an interactive way that choosing more environmentally friendly options does not necessarily correlate with losing out on taste.
This activity was quickly followed up at lunchtime with a group of student volunteers collecting food waste from the Dining Hall. Their findings, that 200kg of food is wasted during a single school meal, raised awareness of the huge impact that our school community has on the environment and the responsibility each of us has to make a difference, even if it is simply choosing to only eat what we know we can finish, or opting for the non-meat option more frequently.
These activities highlighted the terrible culture of waste that has embedded itself within our society and allowed students to see that even within our school, waste is a formidable issue that we are all guilty of.
The debate on Monday afternoon led by Tasha Dambacher, Sam Davison, Charan Peddu, Ellie Gilbert-Bair, Ellie Rowland and Rhiannon Durant, discussed the motion ‘In the name of sustainability, all meat should be off the table’.
This allowed both sides to raise well-researched and engaging points, allowing the audience to contemplate the intricacies of the meat industry and the necessity for agricultural reform, as well as the importance of individual dietary decisions. With each debater focusing in on the specifics of their chosen side, whilst fending off rebuttal from the opposing team and complex audience questions, the debate was both a test of oratory skill and constituted some important food for thought. A whiteboard was used to record some of people’s thoughts by the end of the debate.
Tuesday began with a fascinating assembly for the Sixth Form from two Old Sennockians, Will Hearle and Charlie Gilpin (Class of 2011), founders of Plastic-Free February, who then met with some of the Zero Plastics group to share their valuable insight and experience. Tuesday also debuted the lunch time eco-workshops, which ran throughout the week.
Later in the week, we held a rowing competition in which general household items were powered by the student body. These attempts, however, were deemed less than fruitful, with the winner of the competition – Joe Smith (L6) – powering 626 watts, short of the 1800W needed to power a single electric toaster. Though a valiant effort by Joe, this highlighted the immense amount of power needed to supply even our most generic day-to-day items with power and allowed for the student body to realise how our lifestyles are not at all sustainable or efficient. It was calculated that with Joe’s rowing prowess and pace, he would need to row around the circumference of the globe one and a half times just to be able to power a fridge for one year.
Wednesday’s ReFashion event, which saw students swapping lightly used clothing items, effectively allowed students to reflect on the harms of ‘fast fashion’ and consider alternatives, such as second-hand clothes sales and charity shops, as sources of clothing. The week culminated with Pledge Trees in the Science and Technology Centre, allowing students to express what they had learned throughout the week and what they would do in the future to help preserve the environment.
Throughout and during Green Week, a palpable tension was felt as students were exposed to new and interesting schemes to combat the irreversible damage being done to our planet, as well as the harsh realities of the status quo. Students and staff alike came together to showcase what can be done on a local and international scale, while also developing students’ outlook on diets, lifestyles and allowing them to engage at whatever level they please with the issue of anthropogenic climate change. The impact was clear. Students in every year learned valuable lessons through the metric of activities and constructive discussion.
“Green Week was really eye opening and I learnt a lot about how I can use natural ingredients that don’t affect the environment for beauty products. In the end, I really enjoyed myself and learnt so much!” Rose Spurling, Year 11
“Green Week succeeded to raise awareness while also being fun.” Daniel Naylor, Year 11
Whether or not this paradigm shift will help mitigate the effects of climate change remains to be seen, but it seems that Green Week at least succeeded in raising awareness and stimulated positive change in the Sevenoaks community, and we all look forward to repeating the event next year.
Tasha Dambacher and Theodore Godfrey, Year 11