Miss Louisa Burton reviews the activities that staff and pupils have undertaken to see how PGS can reduce it's enviornmental impact.

Climate change, water shortages and micro-plastics are just a few examples of global issues which we will all be affected by in the future. PGS pupils and staff are increasingly considering our impact upon the planet as a school community, along with ways we can reduce it. Lots of groups are doing their bit; the Sustainability Ignite Group, GeogSoc, EcoClub and Wildlife Club just to name a few, but we recognise that we need to do more.

Rafe Crane-Robinson, Olly Harris and Alice Hudson, accompanied by Mrs Sands, attended the Hopeful Earth Conference earlier this term (pictured). The event facilitated discussion about the environmental problems that current school pupils will face in their lifetimes, and provided attendees with lots of ideas about what their school community could be doing along with ways in which schools can support one another in this effort.

A small group of sustainably-minded pupils, including the Hopeful Earth attendees, have done some investigations to use as a starting point over the past half term regarding the school’s current paper, energy, plastic cups and bike usage, and the results suggest that improvements in all of these areas could be made. For example, on average each month the school community use over 200,000 pieces of paper and buy over 2,900 plastic bottles of water!

Moving forwards, the aforementioned “sustainably-minded pupils” have now formed an EcoCouncil which will also be made up from representatives from relevant clubs, such as the Wildlife Club, GeogSoc and the Middle School EcoClub. The main aim of the EcoCouncil is to be pupil-led and to create a centralised forum where pupils can raise and implement ideas regarding how the school can improve its sustainability profile. The intention of these meetings each week is to be action-focused; rather than writing long lists of what can be done, issuing small tasks that eventually will combine to make effective progress. One pupil from the EcoCouncil will also act as a representative within the Whole School Pupil Council so that sustainability becomes a factor considered in all areas of school life. It is the hope of the EcoCouncil that whilst making changes within the school community, we can work towards the Bronze Eco-School accreditation in recognition of the changes we are making. Already in only two weeks we have alerted the school population to the current sustainability situation of the school and formed an initial EcoCouncil, which has already started making habit-changing reminder-signs to put near light switches and printers.

It will only take the whole school population to make a few minor adjustments, and many of the figures quoted above with undoubtedly reduce drastically. So, come on, PGS! Let’s make a difference together!

Ignite! Sustainability group getting crafty making
bird feeders and windowsill herb gardens