Friday, January 23, 2009

Landscaping or a Living Campus? Perhaps the best of both worlds.

The following thoughts are those of Laurence Myers and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of either our school's population or that of the Green Team. They are shared in order to generate consideration and discussion as to where we want our school to go in things natural...

It is always hard to find a balance between natural green spaces and urban landscaped areas, particularly where many people are found in one small area, like here. I am an advocate of natural wild looks. I like the disheveled look on my daughters face to a head of tidy hair. I choose unkept lawns with wild flowers over rose gardens and, I must admit, as lovely as clean lawns are, they don't measure up to a natural stream and thicket in my mind. I am subjective.

The loveliest part of my walk to work at Ampang's campus is the stream and plants that separate ISKL from Mutiara International Grammar School along Jalan Kolam Air. I love to walk by and see the banana trees, the huge elephant-eared leaves and the standing pool with tadpoles rushing back and forth. In some ways I can't help but think that the only reason that this place looks so natural is that it isn't front and center of daily visits by students, parents, visitors, etc. It is one of those places 'missed' by urban sprawl, and it is lovely, despite also being used as a dumping ground by many of our visitors. Every once in a while the Mutiara landscapers come by and cut down the entire area, but then it has time to grow (amazingly quickly) back beautifully.

My secret dream is to see an area like this on our campuses as well. An area that is wild enough to be left alone (more or less), perhaps to be studied by science classes, or seen as a beautiful corner of campus. It could be there as a symbol that ISKL cares enough to leave this little portion of the planet (as small as it might be) alone to be. We have many such small areas around campus that could be utilized for beautification and scientific analysis.

Our school need not be separated from nature by turning it into a campus of lawns or well-trimmed gardens. Perhaps what we need is a living environment to surround us, to show us what ecosystems (even small ones) do and how they function. To teach our children that nature is not to be 'controlled' to meet our aesthetic needs, nor should it be, but rather to be revered and appreciated and respected and studied, allowing it to educate us in the process.

There is no reason why such a change cannot take place. Talks are already underway. Perhaps one day we can have our very own 'green space' on our campus, filled with endemic flowers and plants, with running water and fireflies and frogs and butterflies and birds. Allowing nature in might be a good way to allow our students to know what's out there. There is no better learning than one of experience. To allow nature in would make a massive statement that, even in schools, nature can co-exist with humanity.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January Recycling by the numbers

This past Saturday marked the first Community Recycling Drop Off for 2009. The following recyclables were collected:

  • Newspaper: 283 kg
  • Cardboard: 184 kg
  • Mixed Paper: 185 kg
  • Aluminum: 22 kg
  • Steel/Tin: 33 kg
  • Plastic: 65 kg
  • Tetra Pak: 33 kg
  • TOTAL: 805 kg

Thank you, once again, to all those who continue to support the recycling program at ISKL, and especially those who came for the first time! We hope to see more and more ISKL families as the need for change is recognized and we are more empowered to become stewards of our Earth.