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CMS Joins “Peace on Earthbench” Movement
By Mary Gamache 18-Dec-14
Students collaborate to transform waste into a monument to world peace, with a practical function Over ten thousand plastic bags, 796 students, and 256 single-use plastic bottles. How are these things connected? Through commitment, collaboration, creativity, and a desire to care for the environment, the Carol Morgan School (CMS) community of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic built a Peace on Earthbench! In response to efforts seeking to make the earth more sustainable and just, our school decided to stop selling single-use plastic water bottles on campus beginning in January 2014. There was a strong campaign to build awareness and educate the school community about the effects of plastic on the world, especially on the threatened coral reef ecosystems of our island home. At CMS, we decided to become “part of the solution, not the pollution” and built an Earthbench out of plastic bottle bricks for the Elementary School playground in order to symbolize this commitment. The mission of the international Peace on Earthbench Movement is “to empower youth and community members to clean up the environment, repurpose their trash into a building material, learn natural building techniques, and then create a communal gathering area—a Peace on Earthbench! An Earthbench effectively seals trash from entering the worlds’ oceans and rivers while serving a clear artistic, educational, and social function.” Over 750 Elementary and Middle School students at CMS worked together to collect plastic bottles and plastic bags throughout the community. After the materials were sorted, these pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade students worked together to pack each 20-ounce plastic bottle tightly with 30 to 40 plastic bags. Together, the students packed 256 plastic bottle bricks. CMS High School engineering students designed the plans for the Earthbench and worked on the construction phase of the project. Students in the High School ceramics course created colorful animal tiles and a commemorative plaque to cover the outside of the bench. As such, the project was a collaboration between students in the elementary, middle and high school divisions and the bench was dedicated at the start of the Global Issues Network (GIN) student-led conference hosted by CMS in March. In conjunction with the CMS Plastic Reduction Campaign and the 2014 Tri Association/CMS-sponsored GIN conference, close to 800 students packed over 10,000 plastic bags into 256 plastic bottles to join the movement and create their very own Peace on Earthbench! Mary Gamache is a Fifth-Grade Teacher at Carol Morgan School in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.To learn more about the Peace on Earthbench Movement (POEM), visit their website:www.earthbench.org
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