BSA is proud to be the leading environmental school in Alexandria. We have many continuing initiatives, promoting sustainable development and mitigation methods for the global climate crisis. We firmly believe that climate change should be embedded throughout the whole curriculum. Our teachers actively look to investigate issues related to these topics. We felt that we had a moral obligation and duty to lead the way with what is possibly the biggest challenge to Egypt and the world in the 21st Century. There is no ‘planet B’!
We have been recycling paper for many years now in coordination with the Kafr Abdou Community NGO. This has been a very challenging endeavour, which has required a great deal of resilience. Many people in Egypt struggle to put litter in the bin, never mind recycling! We aim to change this and we are succeeding slowly but surely.
We have student initiatives such as the Sustainable Development Goals competition for COBIS where they are promoting the collection of plastic. Another group has started to promote bamboo straws rather than plastic straws. Other students are monitoring the use of plastic around the school, in particular, the school canteen. It is fantastic to see them take ownership and help drive the agenda forward.
We have coordinated our efforts with a number of local environmental NGO organisations such as Banlastic and Go Clean. We had our second school beach clean up recently raising the profile of plastic waste into the Mediterranean Sea. We even managed to persuade some of the local fishermen and community to help clean too. This is the next big focus, the mindset shift of the local community. We plan to provide food and drinks for any volunteers in the next beach clean up. Additionally, we have many guest speakers who come and present to the students from the NGOs and Mau, environmental and animal rights campaigner.
We started promoting our own environmental products two years ago. We sold a reusable water bottle with a logo designed by one of our students from a competition in a Geography lesson. The money raised from funded the next project, the reusable bag. This was also designed through another student competition. Any money raised will go into the next project chosen by the students making it a sustainable endeavour.
During our enrichment lessons, the ‘Eco-warriors’ group have been persistently promoting the collection of paper around the school, monitoring and collecting paper and plastic. The plastic is collected externally by Go Clean who pay for the plastic and recycle it. This money also goes into environmental projects. We recently created an Eco collection zone outside the Geography room to allow a smooth and effective collection to take place.
In Geography lessons, the students’ complete topics on plastic problems and use enquiry based learning to investigate the problems and try and create solutions for Alexandria and the community. They also explore the causes and effects of the climate crisis, again with possible solutions. They always present their findings to the class. The year 8 group will be visiting the Zabaleen Community in Cairo to experience how they collect and recycle plastic on a huge scale.
The gardening enrichment group have started to grow their own food to encourage us to reduce our ecological footprint. It’s clear that the momentum has swung into the favour of the environmental agenda. No longer is protecting the planet a taboo or a peripheral concept but more mainstream throughout the school and wider community. Assemblies promoting the role of Climate activists such as Greta Thunberg have helped to motivate the students to take ownership of the issues. Gone are the days when it was a handful of students and a few staff members driving the environmental agenda. More students have a real passion and it has become part of the ethos and fabric of the BSA. Recently in a Geography lesson, the students wrote emails to the Egyptian government, one of which was actually read out in English in Parliament by the Minister of Environment!
We would all agree that it is not something in the future but a clear and present danger today which will adversely affect Egyptians for generations to come, if not dealt with now. We are ready to take on that challenge and lead the way!