‘Greening Our Schools’
-YES Celebrates Earth Day in Tubmanburg
The Youth Exploring Solutions (YES), an accredited non-for-profit, passionate and voluntary grassroots youth-led development organization over the weekend celebrated Earth Day in Tubmanburg, Bomi County.
The event took place at the St. Dominic Catholic High School under the theme “Greening Our Schools”. It brought together cross section of students from three high schools in Tubmanburg City namely: C.H. Dewey Central High School, Anderson Weamah United Methodist High School and St. Dominic High School. Speakers at the event included: Mrs. Frances B. Saydou, Manager, Intersectoral Coordination of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who spoke on the topic “What Does Going Green Mean?” while Rickard Allreke Wählhammar from the Embassy of Sweden Monrovia presented on “How Can Young People Make Their Campuses Green”.
Madam Saydou indicated that going green means adopting five basic principles which involved reduce pollution, conserve resources, conserve energy, reduce consumption and waste, and protect the earth’s ecological balance.
“What does going green mean in practice is to reduce pollution, or the release of toxic substances into the environment. In our day-to-day activities, we actually release substantial amount of toxic substances into the environment. Think about the shampoo, soap and cleaning detergent that you use. Many of them contain chemicals that are washed down the sinks and pipes, into drains, rivers, reservoirs or even the sea” the Manager of Inter-sectoral Coordination noted.
She explained that as the human population continues to grow and technological advancements in mass production, transportation among others are helping to make more material goods more readily available to people all over the world, we consume more and more natural resources.
The senior EPA personnel said “More and more trees are cut down to produce more and more paper for the growing number of offices worldwide. More oil, coal and other natural fuels are extracted from the earth to drive our factory machineries, our automobiles (including our airplanes) and our homes. However, the world’s supplies of oil and coal will not last forever, and our use of these fuels is contributing to polluted air, acid rain and global warming”.
The Manager of Intersectoral Coordination then urged students to establish Nature Club and get involve in taking practical grassroots-led initiatives on campuses and in communities to create green schools and safeguarding the environment.
For his part, Wählhammar thanked Youth Exploring Solutions for organizing Earth Day event outside Monrovia and provided a brief description of Sweden. He also outlined how students in Sweden are greening their campuses through collective advocacy, research and action-driven programs that encourage behavior change generating energy, utilizing natural resources, growing food, engaging in fishing and protecting the environment.
Wählhammar pointed out different types of action that ought to be taking at the individual and community levels in order to create green spaces on campuses, reduce plastic pollution and saving the earth from environmental degradation.
The Swedish diplomat emphasized the need for school administrators and students to work together to establishing waste management plan at school campuses so as to enable students to know how and where to dispose their trash. He urged them to create environmental awareness among their classmates, families, friends, schools, organizations, businesses, religious institutions and the government.
“Don’t blame people when you see them throwing a plastic bag on the street. It’s possible that they don’t know their acts impact the environment” the learned Swedish Political Science and Biochemical Engineer with a focus on environmental questions and sustainability stated.
Speaking earlier, Mariam Tucker, National Program Coordinator of YES, “Green Space” is an area of grass, trees or other native vegetation set apart for recreational or aesthetic purposes in an otherwise urban environment.
The National Program Coordinator asserted that YES is helping to establish “Green Spaces” on campuses so as to create a space for studentstostudy, play and exchange ideas for the growth and development of their personal life, communities and the nation at large.
She further stressed that “Green Space” in schools empower students to make a difference and teach them environmental, social and health values that will stay with them for life in ensuring a clean and healthy environment for all while nurturing Liberia’s emerging environmentalists who will help make our planet greener, our water safer and our air cleaner.
14-years-old DorrisKollie of the St. Dominic Catholic School expressed delight about the Earth Day speakersand Coconut Tree Planting saying: “Today’s Earth Day lectures and tree planting activities made me fascinated to become an Environmental Volunteer to make my school green. On this day, my mind has been definitely unshackled and I have changed my understanding about the environment”.
Environmental Volunteer Dorriscontinues: “From this moment onward, I promise to work with my family, friends, teachers, community leaders, religious institutions, businesses and local authority to address some of the most pressing and critical environmental issues affecting the wetlands and mangroves”.
Meanwhile all the participating schools have agreed to establish Environmental Club on their campuses and work towards creating green spaces on their campuses, reducing plastic pollution and protecting the environment in partnership with all stakeholders.