From Rabat with Love
By Diana Boyle
To mark the historic 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the Earth Day Network identified six cities worldwide—Buenos Aires, New York, Shanghai, Washington, DC, Mumbai and Rabat—as “green cities.” Last April, Rabat hosted one of the largest Earth Day events in the world.
A week later, Rabat American School (RAS) had its own celebration, with hands-on activities that focused on local and global environmental problems. RAS teachers Tania Ash and Judi Meddoun have been facilitating RAS Earth Day celebrations for three years, and each year is better than the last!
This year, students in Grades Pre-k through 5 planted indigenous plants in a large garden plot, and learned about the environmental benefits of planting indigenous species. “You don’t have to waste a lot of water on them,” in the words of one Grade 3 student.
In another activity, students became fish and had to navigate a river with plastic and other litter “floating” in it. They learned first-hand how difficult it is for other species to live with our litter and waste.
In a third, mathematics were involved: students represented the gallons of water needed to produce various items. Did you know it takes 1,800 gallons of water to make a pair of jeans? Or 2,847 gallons of water to make that chocolate bar you ate? Using a “water droplet” stamp, the students created visual representations of these huge amounts of water.
Middle School students from the secondary Ecology Club ran an activity in which the Elementary children made seed balls. Seed balls, also known as “earth dumplings” or “seed bombs,” are a method of encasing seeds in a mixture of clay and compost. This protects the seeds by preventing them from drying out, being eaten, or blowing away; some North American First Nations tribes used seed balls to transport their seeds. More recently, seed balls have been used to add greenery to degraded urban areas in New York, Chicago, and now Rabat!
A local Moroccan glass artist was on hand to demonstrate his art, in which almost all of his glass is “used.” The children were enchanted with his beautiful little animal figurines, and the teachers with his jewelry.
A booklet of tips, also listing “green” businesses and environmental organizations, was given out to all RAS families.
Morocco is a beautiful country with endless natural wonders, and RAS students learned a few ways to help preserve them. In Rabat, Earth Day should be every day!
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