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INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL NEWS
Introducing... Malaysia’s First Green Flag School
By Laurence Myers 18-Mar-14
This past fall the International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) became the first Eco-Schools Green Flag recipient in Malaysia. WWF Malaysia, the national coordinator of the program in Malaysia, states that, “the Green Flag Award is a prestigious, internationally recognized and respected eco-label of high performance for schools with the best environmental education and management practices.” The award was presented to ISKL’s Green Council co-coordinators, Deanna Anuar and Tunku Alysha Alizan, by WWF-Malaysia’s Executive Director, Dr. Dionysius Sharma. During his award speech Dr. Sharma stated, “We applaud ISKL for being the first recipient of the Green Flag Award in Malaysia. “This speaks volumes of the initiatives the school has taken in inculcating environmental values and practices among its students to make environmental sustainability an integral part of the school’s life.” WWF Malaysia was particularly impressed that ISKL’s students “have continuously demonstrated commendable efforts in several environmental themes such as waste/litter management, healthy living, and transport/sustainable mobility in relation to low carbon offset during their local and international travels.” ISKL’s Green Council is the only student led organization on campus that represents the entire school community—students, teachers, administration, staff, and parents. It is also the umbrella organization for ISKL environmental efforts under the Eco-Schools program, ensuring that our school is utilizing the Eco-Schools seven-step methodology in our student and classroom initiatives. During the past 12 months ISKL’s Eco-Schools program has focused around the theme of “Nature and Biodiversity.” Initiatives and projects have included the creation of a Malaysian Garden, two tree planting events on campus, and a tree inventory (with data collected informing decisions for our new campus) as well as a hydroponic garden (with vegetables and herbs to be used by our cafeteria). In addition, to overcome the obvious environmental costs associated with our school’s air travel, we have committed to purchasing carbon offsets for all student trips. This year’s action plans include a partnership with a local community/government and WWF Malaysia to create a “Nature Education Center,” the creation of a tree nursery, closer ties with Malaysian schools and local city council for cooperative projects, and finding ways to keep waste out of landfills. Of particular note have been the leadership opportunities provided to our school’s Green Council and High School Earth Club delegations that ran a workshop at the Second International Eco-Schools Conference in Kuala Lumpur. Currently, plans are being developed for a parallel conference (one for teachers, by ISKL teachers, and one for students by students) aimed at supporting local Eco Schools member schools in moving forward with their own Eco-Schools plans. Looking forward to the next few years, it is hard not to be thrilled by the announcement that ISKL will be moving to a new campus. Part of the admittedly optimistic goals is that the new campus will satisfy the Malaysian Green Building Index (and possibly LEED) Platinum rating. With a planned abundance of natural and sustainable teaching stations, we are hoping the new campus will become a vital part of our learning. The hope is that the new campus will manifest abundant sustainable learning stations, where the associations are made between what we teach in the classroom, the ethos we hope to instill, and the practical, real-life example they will utilize each and every day. We are, of course, hopeful that our relationship with the Eco-Schools program will enable our students to blossom their relationship with the earth, their school, and community as we move in this direction. An essential part of our participation in the Eco-Schools Program is that it provides us with a framework that we can use to move forward in everything we do. For ISKL, the direction toward environmental and sustainability education was established years ago. The Eco-Schools methodology, however, presents a framework for moving forward in everything we do. A Green Flag is a great recognition, but it is just the beginning. For more information on ISKL’s initiatives and on-going updates, visit the following sites: SustainableISKL’s blog: http://sustainableiskl.blogspot.com. SustainableISKL’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/sustainableiskl. SustainableISKL’s website: https://sites.google.com/a/iskl.edu.my/sustainable-iskl.
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