Tuesday, 14th November 2017 at 08:51:35
The education of young minds is a great start to overcoming the world’s waste problem
A few tiny hands were raised as a response to the question, “Who today didn’t produce any waste?”. The teacher, standing in the center of the circle, then approached and asked her pupils to show off their reusable lunch boxes, and a supportive clap from the rest of the mini participants ensues.
It was a routine school visit day by the Canggu Community School to the office and waste sorting facility of ecoBali where a group of adorable first graders were educated on how to help conserve the environment through proper waste management, teaching them to separate waste based on paper, plastic, and organic, and which bin they should throw the waste into. (When one child was about to throw a plastic waste into the organic bin, the teacher casually asked, “Can I eat that?”.)
“They are the future,” says the teacher, Claire Dusting. “And it is best to start young to instill in them the awareness that the choices they make will have an effect on the environment.”
Indeed a child’s brain works like a sponge—they will absorb and emulate what they hear and see. A common sight—without taking a second thought whether it is positive or negative—will soon become ingrained into their adult character. Which is why, if we want to create a nature-loving future generation then environmental education should be taught as early as possible.
Today several independent organizations have consistently tried to promote sustainable education to young kids such as the concept of Indonesian Green Schools or Sekolah Adiwiata as well as waste management companies such as ecoBali who has given more than 300 educational sessions to more than 15.000 students and 1000 teachers in the past 10 years.
One of their top programs that emphasizes waste management education is the Adopt a School sponsorship program that gives an opportunity for companies or individuals to help impart in children’s mind the importance of taking care of one’s waste.
So far, the year-long program has involved more than 20 elementary schools where they present waste management education materials (including posters and booklets) and waste bins. But, of course, the program doesn’t just end there—afterwards, they’ll keep monitoring the progress of the school’s waste management program, and pick up the already sorted non-organic waste and send them off to be recycled.
“Through the Adopt-a-School program, we want to encourage local students to care for the environment by separating their own waste,” says Ni Made Dwi Septi Antari, Education Coordinator of ecoBali. “We especially target local schools that have poor waste management system, those who simply just burn their waste in their backyard. Once we see that the schools have been diligent in taking care of their own waste then we would advise them to create a waste bank, which is another of ecoBali’s program.”
ecoBali has also education programs in collaboration with Tetra Pak Indonesia and AQUA, to increase awareness and provide the possibility to recycle in schools.
A fun and continuous campaign on waste management indeed should be included in school’s activities as the young minds are still prone to—and more likely to embrace—changes. “ecoBali was founded on the idea that we want to create a zero-waste lifestyle through the three R’s principles: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle,” says Pak Ketut Mertaadi, owner of ecoBali. “And one of the ways to realize that mission is to educate young children so that they are aware of the issue. Naturally, it’s easier to teach young kids rather than adults who sometimes don’t want to be told what to do. So the more they care about the environment from an early age as possible, the more willing they are to act on it.”