School Promises to Make Environmental Issues a Priority

Saturday was a beautiful day to have a festival, with a nice breeze and a pleasant mix of sun and cloud. And the first Green Festival’s purpose was to announce that the International School of Phnom Penh would do its part to help ensure plenty of pleasant days in the future.

Organized by ISPP science teacher Brian Webster, the festival served as the launch of the school’s environmental issues advisory committee, a group that will try to bring green issues into every facet of ISPP, such as curriculum planning and future expansion plans.

The festival drew out a number of businesses that covered environmental concerns including recycled goods boutique Smateria, conservation NGO Wildlife Alliance and solar power business Yeji Group Solar. And to keep with the festival fun theme, there were green-themed games such as giving trash a second life as art and a scavenger hunt.

“At ISPP, the environment is an ‘area of interaction,'” Mr Webster said. “It’s a key and global issue.”

He added that area of interaction was originally focused on students ages 11 to 16, but other students, teachers and parents have all shown interest in working on the issue.

“A group of teachers two years ago started discussing environmental issues and we didn’t feel enough was being done. Then we found out that a group of parents had similar concerns. [The different efforts] were a bit piecemeal at first,” he said.

Soula Walters, an ISPP science teacher, said that the new committee would report to and from the school’s board of directors and that she hoped parents, teachers, Cambodian staff and students would all get involved so that the committee would have a range of outlooks on the issue.

“It’s a very global problem but we can approach it from a local level,” she said.

Andrew Mears, UNDP climate change advisor, gave a presentation about the large-scale consequences of climate change, such as the Earth’s rising temperature and sea levels.

“Climate change is real,” Mr Mears said.

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