Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Future is Now

Last week this column noted the collaboration between our school - in this case the Green Council and HS Earth Club - and delegations of other schools locally. Now that the 2nd ISKL Eco-Schools Mini-Conference is over it's important to take a moment to note the multitude of benefits that exist in local collaborative projects like this one. 

Research on service learning and community development will indicate time and time again that both service and learning benefit from on-going relationships that are aimed to a common goal. Similar to students in a classroom, these "eco" clubs and organizations often work within a larger setting (their school) but somewhat independently of the larger population that they serve. Events such as the Mini-Conference allow schools to engage here, now, on issues that are important to them with the necessary support of like-minded, but divergent thinking, students. 

Case in point, this year's conference participants identified "waste" as their central challenge. In student-led break-out sessions they "greenstormed" ideas to move forward, to increase awareness and to try to reach those outside the proverbial "choir" that participated in the conference. This "here and now" approach to making a positive change is what is crucial to the collaboration taking place between and within our schools. It is also a hugely beneficial for mutual action and reflection.  

The decision was a social-media based awareness campaign based on the Two Hands Project, which is founded on the principle that anyone can change the place they're in with their own two hands. By piecing together the KL version of the Two Hands Project, and utilizing Facebook and Instagram to tag and challenge others to do the same, they are hoping to make small differences everywhere, in the schools that participated and the world at large. 

Such collaborative experiences on the local level open doors to on-going relationships between children that would not normally interact much, but on whom the future of the world relies collectively. Thankfully for these students the future is already here, and in good hands. 

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