Monday, April 21, 2014

Real World Green Thinking

By the time Earth Week concludes on Friday, it will have included a compilation of nearly 20 different events from nature outings to sustainable initiatives, from awareness projects to academic outcomes. It will also have highlighted two speakers who were powerful in their message:  Green isn't about tomorrow. It's about today and the "real world" is already moving in that direction. 

Ruben Cortes representing an organization named Earthship Malaysia spoke last week to our MS students before they departed for Malaysia Week. His speech, lauded by everyone in attendance, was about building housing in such a way as to minimize energy and water use while using locally-sourced recycled materials. His participation in the Earthshop program recently took him to the Philippines where the Earthshop crew helped build a community center in a small village that was decimated by Typhoon Hainan.  The simplicity or the architecture was impressive and left a theatre full of middle schoolers and their teachers in awe of such possibilities. His point was simple: Sustainable building practices are "here and now" not tomorrow or the future. 

CK Tang, of Veritas Environment, who is involved in the planning of our new ISKL campus spoke on Monday to our HS student assembly about the vision of a zero carbon, zero waste, zero water community, highlighting the powerful interconnections between the many factors in being "green".  Though more analytical and detailed, his address none-the-less inspired the crowd, particularly with his ability to bring it all together - from waste to energy to algae and solar - in an impressive crescendo of how zero-carbon/zero-water/zero-waste communities are being designed and built. Of course, it would be hard not to be tickled silly by the fact that our new campus offers a fairly substantial step toward reaching that goal. 

By bringing representatives from Earthship and Veritas ISKL was hoping that our students will recognize the power of sustainability in career opportunities, real life technology, and urban development and their effects on personal choices. It was a chance for them to see sustainability from the perspective of the practitioner, and that makes a big difference. 

When the MS students were about to embark on their travels around Malaysia they were asked to "leave the place better than you found it". When the HS students left their assembly they were asked to partake in helping our campus be as sustainable as possible. When our students graduate from ISKL we know that a significant part of their "exceptional education" is generated through such high expectations.

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