“Everyone can make a difference” President Dr. Barkei of St. George’s International School said this on October 26 when the school unveiled their ambiguous climate pledge. The school, located in Luxembourg City, has committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions as a way to alleviate the burdens of climate change and broaden student understanding of the topic.
St. George’s International School is composed of 875 students, aged 3 to 18 years, and representing over 60 nationalities. The school fosters growth, provides a unique learning environment for each and every child, and prepares students for a life as a global citizen by teaching values such as mutual understanding and respect for all.
The plan was unveiled in front of two special guests, Carole Dieschbourg the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development, and Fleur Thomas the British Ambassador. Minister Dieschbourg stated, “Harnessing the power of education to combat climate change is crucial, but only when knowledge is combined with a sense of connection and caring, climate action can follow.”
The event also provided an opportunity for Ambassador Thomas to discuss the COP26, otherwise known as the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, which will take place on November 1st in Glasgow, hosted by her home government. COP26 and its participants are committed to implementing the Paris Agreement by joining force with private-sector stakeholders, civil society, and academia.
This pledge would not have been possible without Anne-Marie McHugh, the Sustainability coordinator at the school, and the numerous students and staff apart of the Climate Action team. The students’ and staff plan to start acting on this pledge through various projects such as reducing school traffic by carpooling to and from school, assisting with reforestation programs, green procurement, and weekly meat-free days in the school cafeteria. The school estimates that it annually generates an average of 600 tonnes of greenhouse gasses through school services. More than 100 tonnes of that can be eliminated with planned projects, such as the ones mentioned above. To put this in perspective, one meat-free day can save 500 kg of emissions, sustainable paper can save 10 kg per student, and carpooling or taking the bus reduces emissions by 30%.
We can see the excitement and drive for change in the students at the International School, Ms. McHugh states, “Our students are well-informed about climate change and their future, and they regularly ask staff what the school can do to tackle climate change.” Along with that, many of the primary and secondary students presented a musical number accompanied by a drama sketch to help explain the pledge. The artwork is composed of 200 clay leaves, each containing environmental promises written by the students. St. George’s International School is paving the way for a more sustainable future, one meat-free lunch at a time!