Despite the tremendous efforts of both WCI’s Eco Club and ABCD, a combination of events beyond anyone’s control removed focus from Earth Week this year. Between Kiwanis, Festival of Strings, the Feeder School Leadership Conference, a PA day and many other activities, Earth Week’s message became lost.
One of the most severe blows to the cause, according to Aditi V., leader of the Eco Club, was “the fact that the assembly for Earth Week was cancelled. The assembly would have been a way to communicate with the student body about the environment in a more effective way.”
The annual occurrence is centred around Earth Day and is generally characterized by extra emphasis placed on the environment and various ecological issues. It promotes eco-friendly behaviour within the school community and teaches students about how they can “ultimately make a difference, even through small actions,” said Aditi.
This year’s Earth Week happened to fall on a particularly busy and short week, but events were still organized. Morning announcements were full of information on activities such as the playing of the documentary “The Day After Tomorrow” that was planned for Monday and Tuesday lunches, and a book swap during Wednesday and Thursday lunches in the lower foyer.
Aditi described the book swap as a way for “people to bring in old books they no longer want and exchange them with other people in the school.” Books of all types were welcome from anyone who wished to dispose of old reading material while also being eco-friendly.
Other environmental undertakings included the promotion of a new pilot recycling program through a signed petition, and trivia about global awareness that were broadcast over the announcements.
The scaled back emphasis on this year’s Earth Week is a continuation of a trend this year where the environment has been assigned less importance, which is unusual considering the WCI’s exemplary record for environmental awareness in the past.
When asked about the lower priority that the environment has taken over the past year, Aditi explained that WCI’s green record is likely going to suffer, in part because of Earth Week. “There have been a few other factors that have affected our record this school year, but the lack of emphasis on Earth Week this year is a big blow to the regular standard. WCI has been an Eco Gold school for multiple years and has always been seen as one of the schools that takes more pride in preserving the environment. However, it seems that this year we have taken multiple steps back.”
One major factor besides Earth Week that is contributing to this decline is the recycling program. Aditi explained, “Our recycling program was cancelled because of people not recycling properly. Now that the program has been brought back, there is a need to sell the idea of proper recycling and global awareness about the environment, which is what Earth Week would have done.” Without sufficient time or any spotlight devoted to the issues at hand, WCI might not be able to maintain its Eco Gold status this year.
Despite the setbacks for WCI’s environmental program this week and this year, WCI’s Eco Club continues to work to increase environmental awareness and concern throughout the school community. They advocate for making small changes to lifestyle choices like recycling properly, switching off unused lights and appliances, and trying to make use of natural light at home that can have a widespread effect.