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Environmental Initiatives with an Impact

Inspirational young people have brought concerns about our damaged planet into the mainstream. And youngsters are leading calls for more sustainable lifestyles, greener approaches to business and government action across the world. International schools are challenging themselves to tailor the education they offer to prepare their students to tackle the environmental problems we face.

"Educators must make all young people aware about sustainability as it's now a significant part of the culture students are growing up in. Moreover, children are increasingly interested in it," said Paul Schofield, the St Andrews International School Bangkok Head of School. "If schools don't get this right, where will we be in 15 or 20 years time?" he asks.

Young student leaders at St Andrews, a Nord Anglia Education school, fueled the initiative to develop an action plan focusing on the changes they would like to see which would have the greatest impact on sustainability in their school and community. The 7 to 11-year-olds worked tirelessly during after school club time to put their plans into practice. 


For example, after learning about the environmental effects of animal agriculture, children met with the school’s catering company to discuss lowering meat consumption. The students explained their reasoning to fellow pupils, teachers and parents during assemblies and events. All children provided feedback on the new menu and St Andrews became the first school in Thailand to implement Meat Free Mondays. 

The children were also fully involved in the launch of the country’s first school-based zero-waste shop. Members of the community can now buy snacks, toiletries and household cleaning products in refillable and reusable containers eliminating the need for single-use plastics. The students submitted designs for the layout of the shop, helped choose the shop’s name (‘Little Steps to Zero Waste’), and created an instructional video for parents showing how to purchase items. 

The children encouraged other students to take part in Precious Plastic, which is an ongoing project that supports a local NGO campaign to collect plastic bottle tops for recycling. To engage and maximise participation, a competition between the St Andrews Houses was introduced and promotion and collection sites were located around the school. The project organisers even brought their recycling machine into school for a special set of lessons.

The work of the students and the support of the school community was recognised at the 2020 International School Awards ceremony hosted by ISC Research in London this January. St Andrews won the coveted International School of the Year Award for supporting the far-reaching, community-engaging, environmentally-focused initiatives. Congratulations to these students who, as future leaders, promote responsible, environmentally-conscious choices to help drive the transition to a sustainable society.