World Environment Day and World Oceans Day
Each year on 5 June we celebrate World Environment Day and this year’s theme was Beat Plastic Pollution. The theme continued into World Oceans Day on 8 June as plastic debris is an overwhelming pollutant of our oceans. At Loreto Normanhurst, we have been on our journey in the prevention of single-use plastic for some time and we celebrate the progress we have made in this area:
- Elimination of disposable coffee-cups and bottled water from the school canteen and cafe.
- Screening of Blue the Film to raise awareness within the Loreto Normanhurst and wider community. Additionally, ongoing environmental education is taught using the content from the documentary as stimulus across the school.
- Elimination of disposable serving ware at Loreto Day stalls.
- Increasing numbers of students bringing waste-free lunches to school. (We seek parent support in this area so these numbers can continue to rise.)
On Tuesday 5 June we took the opportunity throughout the day to highlight the theme of plastic pollution through prayer, advocacy and action. Unfortunately, plastic pollution is an ongoing problem in the school grounds with the most common items of litter comprising plastic food wrap, zip-lock bags, corners of cereal bar packets and straw packets from poppers.
During the morning announcements, two members of the Green Team challenged the community to get involved in Take 3 for the Sea an initiative asking us to pick up three pieces of rubbish each day. This initiative was revisited during the ‘Did You Know?’ item at assembly and was also the music for the school bell throughout the week. Staff and students learned of the UN’s global game of #BeatPlasticPollution which challenges us to use a social media platform to commit to giving up one type of single-use plastic and further challenge three friends to continue the game. The gong prayer at midday was an Examen through which the community reflected on the beauty and fragility of God’s creation and our responsibility to address our own behaviours that are not ecologically sensitive. To highlight the positive behaviours with regard to plastic waste amongst the student body, staff and volunteers from the Green Team rewarded students who brought a packed lunch free from plastic with Blue Merit slips. Digital signage and looped videos in the LRC were further reminders about good practice in the battle against plastic pollution as was the humorous, yet poignant UN Environment’s video .
At Loreto Normanhurst, we have worked very hard to ensure World Environment Day is not a stand-alone day, but rather it highlights what we have been focusing on throughout the year and is part of a much bigger campaign to educate our students, staff and the wider parent community.
Mrs Elizabeth Cranfield