Eco Ambassadors and Global Social Leaders | Nursery to Year 13
BSAK is committed to raising global citizens, who are aware of their world, their environment and how they can contribute to sustainability. In 2018 we decided that we wanted to nurture agents of change and created a plan to improve our community and develop leadership among our students to really make an impact on the world in the future.
We knew that we needed to tackle this challenge with education, leadership, targets, a plan, and fun initiatives to get everyone involved.
In 2018 the students conducted an environmental review as a precursor to becoming an Eco School with a Green Flag status. From the feedback of this review the themes that our students chose to address were plastic/litter, waste, energy, water and biodiversity. Specifically we were challenged by the use of ‘single use’ plastic in bottles, cutlery and plates, and the need to make the new primary dining hall environmentally sustainable. We also committed to learning more about our UAE marine and coast line and to share this with our BSAK community.
We have developed expertise in many areas of our school life at BSAK and threaded it into each year group and subject curricula. Take a look at some of the things that we do, and why we believe we are becoming trailblazers for our environment:
Sustainable development is a strategic goal at BSAK and through our passionate leadership team and supportive community, we have been able to embed environmental action into every level of the School and out into our wider community. Through a cascade of leadership roles at staff and student levels across all year groups, we have set targets and achieved them, and implemented eco-friendly practices into daily life, proactively advocating and celebrating every success through our communication channels.
At BSAK we have adapted as many relevant topics that are covered by the British curriculum to our local environment, with green learning programmes. For example in Primary the Year 3 humanities curriculum includes an annual eco assembly inspired by Bee Bus, learning about the UAE environment and indiginous wildlife, plastic waste, marine life, deforestation, pollution, litter and sustainability. Their assembly is shared with parents and all school staff. The Year 5 curriculum is based on knowledge and understanding of the world, and here they are learning about different types of plastic, recycling and the plastic problem, and this inspired our whole school plastic recycling campaign. The maths department introduced annual lessons on plotting graphs using data from annual CO2 emissions, to show the magnitude of the problem. In the Secondary school the physics and biology curricula cover renewable and non-renewable energy sources, and this is made relevant to our students with notice boards, posters, presentations, and video competitions. At A level and GCSE, geography, biology, physics and chemistry topics cover data, tables and graphs to analyse climate change, and present ways to reduce it. This resulted in our students running a campaign to put this into action in our school and community. These topics are also reinforced across many additional co-curricular activities outside the classroom, such as competitions, assemblies, leadership opportunities, community engagement, and influencing infrastructure and environment.
Our Global Social Leaders worked with architects in 2019 to design a sustainable primary dining hall. They researched water filtration units to be trialled in 2022 and initiated e-waste recycling and donation efforts.
They ran an online competition for the whole of Abu Dhabi on the UN Global Goals and this saw over 120 students deliver speeches on how we can work together to make these aims a reality.
We have a robust Eco-Committee across Primary and Secondary that is led by Eco Ambassadors from Year 3-13. They have ensured that our cafeteria and cafe uses recycled materials and put a stop to single use plastic items, banning plastic cups. Eco Boards surround the school and awareness campaigns about Zero Waste UAE are delivered during assemblies and through our social media. This led to a community Twitter campaign, recycling initiatives with DGrade Dubai and Emirate Environmental Group and we invited Zero Waste UAE and EEAD to run assemblies. The outcome was 180Kg of PET1 plastic recycled in December 2020. We ran an Eco week and celebrated Glocal Earth day. Events were held every day including waste free lunch boxes, making Eco pledges, running recycling competitions, and our eco ambassadors worked closely with catering to remove all plastic for a week.
Our students conducted an environmental review in 2019 and based on these results the School set targets and an action plan to tangibly impact our homes, school and community.
1/ To reduce waste and learn about the impact of waste, students engaged in campaigns to develop expertise in monitoring and minimising our energy and water consumption. Our Secondary School Global Social Leaders (GSL) led the schoolwide Flip the Switch Campaign to ensure that all staff and students are thoughtful in their use of resources, leading to a demonstrable 13% reduction in use.
2/ To learn more about our UAE marine and coast line and to share this with our BSAK community we have developed expertise in our environment, and now carry out the following: Nurdle hunts, EcoVenture beach clean ups, share our findings with the school community, learn from outside speakers about the UAE and global marine issues - EAAD and Araq to name just two. We became a Azraq member school, we won an Environmental Agency Abu Dhabi competition and were a finalist for Roots and Shoots UAE with Jane Goodall. Year 5 added Coastlines to their Science curriculum. To learn more about our heritage in the UAE and the local wildlife and flora / fauna, our students have also participated in planting Ghaf trees on Saadiyat Island.
We were recently honoured to hit the global headlines when some of our students met Prince William on his recent tour of the UAE. Read this amazing story here: https://bit.ly/3HJ9FEZ
Six BSAK Secondary students met HRH Prince William yesterday at Jubail Mangrove Park to hear his views on environmental issues and to share their passion on the subject. It's been amazing to see BSAK students in press articles around the world, and if you're keen to read the full story click here: As Prince William pointed out, our young environmentalists represent the planet's future and he encouraged them to keep planting and following their passion.
We started to challenge our students to think globally and entered global competitions to increase their exposure. To our amazement we won the British Schools of the Middle East BSME Race4Good 2021 and received fabulous press coverage. This Secondary school team of 22 students delivered the winning solution to sustainably uplift a rural community in Nepal. And their winning ideas were immediately implemented in the community.
Two Primary Year 6 students became "Wild Wisdom Global Challenge" Finalists, and were selected to represent the UAE in a live worldwide competition on 2nd December. Celina and Isaiah are Agents of Change and will be competing against other students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of climate change and how Sir David Attenborough's four imperatives can help shape our future.