Recent years have seen outstanding success for environmental progress within St. Olave’s, a testament to the widespread change that we can bring about when we unite behind a common cause. In 2016, the founding of Environmental Society saw the rekindling of the desire to take action within the school community. The society became the steering group for the Eco-Schools programme at St. Olave’s, the largest international network of students and teachers in the world, spanning 67 countries and involving over 19 million students. St. Olave’s had achieved the Eco-Schools Bronze Award in 2009 but it was only a decade later, in November 2019, that Environmental Society’s commitment to ameliorating the school’s impact on the local environment and the wider world led to the achievement of the prestigious Green Flag Award.
After this achievement, we started 2020 with a spring in our step, with plans to purchase and sell reusable water bottles to students throughout the school, in an attempt to reduce our reliance on single-use plastics bought from the canteen. With money generously provided by Lucy Saunders’ Jack Petchey Award, we ordered an initial shipment of bottles but unfortunately these plans, like so many others, disintegrated after school closed due to the lockdown. However, by working closely with Alston in the canteen before school closed, we managed to dramatically reduce the amount of plastic being used in cold food, with the introduction of dishwashable pasta pots, and more recyclable packaging.
On top of our Eco-Schools work, we have continued our cooperation with Year 10 and 11 Duke of Edinburgh volunteers in the Biology Garden, growing vegetables, composting food waste, and conserving the garden’s biodiversity. The redevelopment of the Scout Hut offers another opportunity to improve the school’s environment, with potential for the creation of a wildflower meadow behind where last year’s tree saplings are now flourishing.
All this comes as a result of the tremendous amount of hard work, dedication, and time contributed by many people from across the school community, including students of all years, teaching and support staff, governors, and parents, to whom we all owe an immense debt of gratitude, but particularly Miss Benham, the staff Eco-Coordinator.
Looking to next year, Environmental Society is keen to build on the success of our most recent innovation of a school-wide EnviroBlog showcasing the best work of students and staff about the environment, with more submissions of articles and blog posts from anyone within the school community, on all things environmental. So far, we have covered topics as diverse as “Why learning a language could help save the planet” to the impact of climate change on women and girls. Alongside this, we plan to hold more talks and debates throughout the academic year, continuing with our virtual collaborations with other societies and a (Re) Love Our Stuff Competition once school resumes.
You may also like to get involved in our Upcycling Competition during the summer.
One other event which was sadly postponed was this year’s eagerly anticipated cross-Bromley Climate Conference, again due to the coronavirus. However, we have been undeterred in our enthusiasm, and plan to hold the event as soon as is safe, whether this April or next, once again on the anniversary of Earth Day. With this conference, and our Green Flag renewal, on the horizon, there has never been a better time to get involved – to be a part in generating change.
Please use our links to the left to discover more about us, our current campaigns and project work, campaigns and what we have already achieved and how to get involved.
Joshua Selfridge (Year 13) and Rohan Selva-Radov (Year 11), Student Co-Leads and Teodor Wator (Year 11) Deputy Lead.