Throughout the month of November, JAGS took part in #NoWasteNovember. Pupils were asked to make an eco pledge for the month and there was also a school-wide clothes swap to promote sustainability. Here are two accounts from pupils about the pledges they made.
Aamaal, Year 12
My eco pledge this month was to start walking to and from the train station when travelling to school. Little did I know that making one minor change to my routine in order to be eco friendly would spiral into a trigger of other environmentally friendly techniques which will benefit our world.
Firstly, I had to make some adjustments to my daily routine, such as setting my alarm to wake up earlier in the morning. Considering I live around a 20 minute walk away from the station and I never get up on time, this was a big commitment for me to make. I even had time to make a coffee and take it with me in my reusable cup to school – another easy way to help reduce plastic waste as I usually buy a coffee from the cafe and always forget to bring my cup with me – this way I was saving money in addition to saving the planet.
Moreover, I came across a video online showing a DIY recycling paper where you take scraps of old paper and blend them with a small amount of water. Secondly, you pour the mixture into a strainer and soak the water out with a towel. Finally, dry the paper with an iron or a hairdryer and a nice textured piece of paper is produced. I decided to try out this challenge and it worked perfectly.
Overall, I think No Waste November is a great opportunity to explore new and different ideas and innovations in order to keep habits for good which is proven by Maxwell Matz, a plastic surgeon in the 1950s who discovered it took 21 days for a patient to get used to their new face and there are 30 days in November, thus a perfect opportunity to pick up a habit.
I wish to continue my new and improved daily routine and hope to encourage others to try out some of the methods I used to save the planet. If everyone does their bit, we can prevent the extinction of over 50% of plant and animal species which is expected in the next 10 years.
Elsa, Year 8
My no waste November pledge was to only eat homemade snacks for a month. Whether it was at school or at home, I was forbidden to go amongst the packaged and processed foods. My solution to this was to ask my mum to bake and make all kinds of things that I was then allowed to eat. Now, what is classified as “not homemade” you’re probably asking, well, I came up with a list of what I was not allowed to eat:
- No packaged foods—to reduce plastic and excess packaging.
- No processed foods- this includes crisps, granola bars, chocolate bars, basically junk food.
- No foods containing palm oil—probably quite self-explanatory, but to stop trees being cut down.
So, I had quite a wide range to choose from, so I guess I could say it wouldn’t be so hard if I wasn’t in the school environment 24/5. What I mean by this is that every day there was always something that I was kindly offered but had to refuse, which gradually became harder and harder. One example of this is when my friends and I were in the dining hall for rec and one of them offered me a bit of chocolate, and as I had only had a small snack, I was starving, but had to say no. Also, another time when I had just finished a 2-hour training session and was very tired and hungry, one of my swim teammate’s mum offered me a fruit roll, so I had to politely take it but then resist the urge to eat it.
However, these are the things that I was allowed to eat and that my mum made for me (I was too busy):
- Chocolate chip cookies
- Homemade granola bars
- Kale chips
- Cheese squares
- Shortbread domes
- Pita crisps
- Protein balls
As you can see, I had many delicious things to eat. I realized that this pledge forced me to choose the healthy, homemade option, instead of the processed, packaged junk food that I normally would have from time to time. Although it was more effort than just buying snacks, I still got the same amount of energy that I needed for the day but just in a healthier way. Another benefit was that I knew exactly what was going in the foods, whereas with crisps and sweets, you have no idea what sort of chemicals (like food colouring etc.) are going into your body.