Monday, April 27, 2009

Orangutan Rock

The now traditional Rockin' for the Environment took place on Saturday, this time in support of Urangutan Appeal UK, an organization that provides funding and support for the Sepilok Urangutan Sanctuary in Sabah, Borneo. For those who have had the chance to visit, this sanctuary provides an opportunity for our Malaysian apes to be rehabilitated and - hopefully - returned to a wild that is becoming smaller by the day. Urangutan Rock, organized by Lois Powell, Steve Northcott and Kenny Peavy, and supported by hundreds of adults and students alike, was another big success. Apart from generating necessary funds (RM 20,922 and counting) the event was able to bring together many stduent groups and visiting organizations and fun opportunities for our younger members of the community as well. This, of course, was in addition to the many musical groups (student, visitors and adults) who were the highlight of the event!

For the record, each year a specific organization is chosen to be the recipient of the Rockin' for the Environment fundraising. Starting small two years ago, the first Rockin' for the Environment, then named Turtle Rock, generated funds for SEATRU, a turtle research and conservation program based in Terengannu. Last year's recipient was MYCAT, a consortium of several NGOs dealing with the conservation of the Malayan tiger. Next year, who knows?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Eco Expo 2009 - A Wealth of Resources

Eco Expo 2009 was a smashing success! All told ten student groups, companies and non-government organizations were represented, bringing a wealth of knowledge and resources to ISKL's Ampang campus. Whether visitors were browsing reusable shopping bags, sustainable diapers, the large variety of orang asli wares, adopting trees or turtles, purchasing photos of Borneo or discussing home composting and water assessment options, the event allowed our community a chance to take a closer look at sustainable initiatives and lifestyle choices. Thank you to all the groups and organizations who participated!

The MS Global Issues Club invested much time in promoting reusable water bottles on campus and generating a signature drive regarding water bottle use on campus.

Bandar Harapan Organic Farm offers composting solutions for homes and (maybe) ISKL! Home-based composting bins are available for a small deposit.

Tetra Pak has been a regular participant at Eco Expo for three years now. Creating a playful display that allows students to participate and win recycled Tetra Pak prizes, this company has a highly recognized environmental ethic.

Gerai Orang Asli sells traditional crafts made by Orang Asli communities in Malaysia. Each item sold is identified by its creator and 100% of the proceeds go directly back to the artist.

Wild Asia promotes environmental education and the re-establishment of natural corridors where palm plantations have made a negative impact on local ecology. They also provide adoption of trees.

The WWF is widely known around the world. At ISKL's Eco Expo they were promoting their turtle initiative in Malaysia.

Noah of Jungle Voices has a wide array of high-quality photos of Borneo. Proceeds from the purchase of the photos go towards sustainable practices in East Malaysia.

Global Environment Centre promotes sustainable use of water, conducts water assessments for businesses. The Green Team hopes to establish a partnership with them allowing ISKL's carbon emissions to be partly offset by their tree-planting programs!

From cloth diapers to reusable bags and pencils made of recycled newspaper, Tiny Tapir is a small but veritable sustainable shopping paradise in KL!

TrEES has been integral in the creation of the Selangor State Park and also is ISKL's long-time recycling partner.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Earth Week Waterfall Hike

This past Sunday, April 19th, Charlye Woolman, Cecile Woolman and Lisa Nazim marched a group of ISKL community members up the back end of Zoo Negara toward a waterfall. The group of 43 people, largely comprised of Melawati students and their parents, was able to hike into the woods, cool off at the waterfall itself, and hike back out. All in all the hike was a huge success! A special thank you to those organizing, of course, but also to everyone who participated in this fun and nature-based activity!

Research has shown that such forays into nature are crucial in developing an appreciation for and an understanding of nature in youth. Evidence suggests that the earlier the chance to partake in nature-based activities the better one's sense of connection to the natural world as an adult. It is wonderful to see so many people hiking with Charlye, Cecile and Lisa (and her husband Jimmy!).

For pictures of the hike, please copy and paste the link below to your web browser:

Earth Week Community Recycling

Earth Week began with the customary Community Recycling Drop Off. This week's recyclables included the following:

  • Newspaper: 167 kg
  • Mixed Paper: 188 kg
  • Cardboard: 185 kg
  • Aluminum Cans: 36 kg
  • Steel/Tin Cans: 38 kg
  • Tetra Pak: 43 kg
  • Plastic: 112 kg
  • TOTAL: 769 kg

A big thank you to all those volunteering and organizing, including: Ronnie Wynne, Jill Maloney & Richard Laurence (who shared as leads), Lisa Nazim, Betsy & Paul Chmelik, Lois & Rachel Powell, as well as the Girl Scout and Daisy Scout troops. They really had a recycling workout!

Of course, a big thank you also to all those who donated their recyclable materials from home!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Eco Expo (Friday) and Orangutan Rock (Saturday)... back and better than ever!

Another fun and exciting Eco Expo promises to grace our Ampang campus this coming Friday, April 24th from 10 am to 1:30 pm. As part of the Earth Week festivities we are happy to announce that we have a number of visiting organizations ranging from composting to tree-planting to sustainable children's wear. It promises to be a great opportunity for parents, students, staff and faculty alike. Come support WWF or the Orang Asli artisans, ask questions about organic farming, check out the exhibits on energy use at ISKL or non-toxic cleaning agents. It's worth a visit even if you decide to leave with nothing but information.

But it gets better than that! Orangutan Rock is on Saturday, April 25th. This must-see event has been hugely successful in the past and this year promises to bring many of our community - young and old - to the Ampang campus in support of Orangutan Appeal UK. If, for some reason, you are unable to get to the Eco Expo on Friday, many of the booths will remain up on Saturday as well, so come on over! Better yet, come to both!!

Earth Week Tree-Planting: 95 tons of carbon offsets!

Saturday, April 18th was a normal sunny morning. Six ISKL students pulled themselves out of bed and got to school early to do their part in a grander tree-planting scheme organized by the Global Environment Centre. Naomi, Chris, Andy, Sofia, Mavendra and the veteran tree-planter Angelica took the 75 kilometer trip to the Raya Musa Peat Forrest Reserve where they would participate in the second tree-planting even that ISKL has taken part in. The students survived two and half grueling hours under the sun and jumped over irrigation canals, helping each other stay out of pitfalls and mud traps.

All told, the six students planted 95 trees. With each surviving tree estimated to offset close to one ton of carbon over its lifetime it seems evident that ISKL student have made a great start to Earth Week! Judging from the collective enthusiasm after we returned to Ampang all coated in mud, with smiles all around and statements of "it was awesome" and "I'm going to bring all my friends along next time" it would seem that we're off to a good start!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Value of Earth Week

Every year it happens. April comes about and people chat briefly about conservation of resources and saving the planet. Perhaps they plant a tree for Arbor Day. Perhaps they turn off a light for a while. Others try to walk to school once or twice. Others think about greening but never quite get to it, just like those ever elusive new years resolutions. Others manage to make a small yet significant change to their lifestyle choices. They buy local produce, perhaps, or purchase a reusable water bottle. They decide to recycle at home or purchase a fuel efficient vehicle.

Earth Week plays an important educational role in our school's culture. By now Earth Week is a known entity. It is a time that affords introspection for administration, staff, faculty, students and parents alike. If it is not, it should be. If it is, then the introspection allows for personal and informal assessment of what is important in the manner by which we, as human visitors to the Earth, live our lives.

On campus Earth Week is a celebration of applying what we know to what we do. It provides us with opportunities to go out to nature (appreciation) or plant trees (stewardship). It gives us the chance to turn our waste into a new generation of products (recycling) instead of going to the landfill. It gives us a chance to do our little bit to make a big difference.

But really Earth Week should provide us with a small glimpse of how we should be living on a daily basis. If you don't keep your energy use in check, then perhaps you should. If you don't keep your water use in check, perhaps you should. If you don't car pool, perhaps you should. We can all do better with what we have. At ISKL we try to reach all our students in making them environmentally-friendly citizens of the world. It is no longer a privilege to be so. As the information regarding human impact on the environment mounts it becomes increasingly obvious that we, as members of planet Earth, can no longer hide behind our collective fingers. Regardless of whether or not you personally believe in the human impact on global climate change it should be a no-brainer to recognize that environmentally-appropriate behaviors make smarter choices in the long run.

So, when Earth Week comes to pass on April 25th (Orangutan Rock - come visit!) we hope that the entire community will take the discussions had, the chats and the small improvements, and make them part of our lifestyle. If Earth Week can become a daily routine rather than merely a week-long celebration it would certainly be a sign that we have come of age as a community. The true success would be the realization that we no longer need such a week in the first place. But, for now, and as our collective environmental consciousness creeps just a little higher, happy Earth Week everyone!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Earth Week 2009 Schedule Released

After a good deal of planning and logistical deliberations we are happy to announce the schedule for Earth Week 2009. You can get a better look at the schedule by just clicking on the image of the schedule above. Feel free to participate at any extent that you can. Happy Earth Week everyone!