Responding to the climate crisis with purpose and hopeful action is vital for educators who want to equip students with critical and creative ways of thinking about the future.
At the International School of Kenya (ISK), this approach led to the creation of a collaborative and action-oriented network called the Carbon Neutral Alliance. This student network is now on a mission to make their school carbon-neutral in 2023.
The growth of the Carbon Neutral Alliance tells an exciting story about student agency and leadership, student voice and choice, responsive and open-minded school leaders, and community awareness and commitment to sustainability.
Tom Wallbridge is the teacher advisor for the Carbon Neutral Alliance. In the video below, Tom explains ISK’s work towards its carbon-neutral status. Tom also shares valuable details that other schools that want to improve their environmental footprint can apply.
Here are some of the critical steps that the ISK team took to create a campus-wide initiative with a tangible impact:
1) Student leaders from Students for the Environment liaised with several other clubs to create a student coalition and take action in response to climate change.
2) The student coalition (Carbon Neutral Alliance) drafted a proposal for the campus to become carbon-neutral by 2030.
3) Students presented to the board, and their proposal was accepted.
4) After updated climate change data was released, the student leaders revised the timeline for their proposal and made a second proposal to the board. This proposal was also accepted.
5) Students met with experts about carbon mapping and did research.
6) The school contracted an outside company to conduct a full external campus audit to evaluate its environmental practices and footprint. Students raised money to pay for this audit.
7) After the audit, leaders defined what carbon-neutral would mean at ISK and what parameters would be applied to their data.
8) Two community partners were established to direct carbon offsets to local settings in Kenya and allow students to develop meaningful partnerships for learning and intercultural understanding.
9) A plan for annual, ongoing assessment of day-to-day school practices and sustainability was created. Students have also connected with peers from other international and local schools to share ideas and resources.
10) The Carbon Neutral Alliance experience won an Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA) award as an Outstanding Service Project for 2022.
If your school community is interested in becoming more sustainable and decreasing its environmental footprint, check out these links for tools to help you begin.
Thanks to ISK for leading and serving as an example to other schools of what is possible!
Inspire Citizens: Global Citizenship Self-Discovery Tool for Schools
Green Schools Initiative: Multiple Calculators and Tools for School Sustainability
Earth Gen: Carbon Calculator for Schools
Compass Education: Assessing and Designing Innovation and Sustainability in School
The Association of International Schools in Africa is dedicated to serving its members throughout Africa. Please let us know if you require additional or specific information, resources and or support, and we will endeavour to assist you as soon as possible.