As children spend a large part of their waking hours at school, a school culture that encourages sustainability is key to long lasting change. Fortunately, Bermuda’s schools have been building up their actions and reducing their environmental footprints with the Eco-Schools Bermuda programme, hosted by the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI).
Learning Globally, Acting Locally
Eco-Schools is the largest global sustainable schools programme operating in 72 countries and over 59,000 schools. It is an international recognition programme that provides students the framework to introduce sustainable principles into their school and awards schools for their hard work. Student-led and action-based, this programme supports environmental education starting with the classroom and engaging entire school communities. First established in 2013, Eco-Schools Bermuda currently has over 20 schools registered throughout the island.
Taking Seven Steps to Sustainability
The Eco-Schools programme provides an easy-to-follow 7-step framework that has been carefully designed to help students maximise their eco-school ambitions. Creating a student-led Eco-Committee and conducting an Environmental Review of the schools’ current state are the starting points for schools to begin to assess where they might make adjustments and take action. The projects that students undertake give opportunities to monitor and evaluate progress. Schools incorporate their work into the school curriculum and share their accomplishments with others. Through the entire process, a dedicated Eco-Schools Coordinator supports each school with coaching and links to the wider environmental community, fostering relationships and real-world connections.
Ten Environmental Topics and Learning from Local Experts
The Eco-Schools Bermuda programme offers 10 different sustainability topics that schools can explore each year to take action. Partners throughout Bermuda lend expertise as eco-clubs pursue their projects. For example, the Waste and Litter topic gives students the opportunity to learn from the Bermuda Government’s Waste Management programme on how to effectively reduce paper, plastic or food waste around the school. Conservation Officers at the Bermuda National Trust work with eco-clubs to identify invasive plants and non-native animals on their school grounds. With the Energy theme, students learn from experts at BeSolar about practical ways to increase energy efficiency and how renewable resources like solar energy operate.
Local School Recognition
School successes are shared widely, and eco-clubs are recognized for their work each year. The three levels of awards are incremental marks of progress in the Eco-Schools programme: the Green Seed, Green Shoot and Green Flag awards. The prestigious Green Flag is the highest recognition at an international level, and schools proudly fly the green flag on their school campus.
Overall, Eco-Schools Bermuda is a great local programme to improve our students’ understanding of how they can take positive actions for our changing world. Joining Eco-Schools is free of charge, with a dedicated coach and solid partnerships with local experts in their field – what a package! Ask if your child’s local school is a part of the Eco-Schools programme and how you can get involved to support our schools on their pathways to sustainability.
Main webpage: https://www.buei.bm/eco-schools-bermuda
Instagram handle: @ecoschoolsbermuda (https://www.instagram.com/ecoschoolsbermuda/?hl=en)
Facebook handle: @EcoSchoolsBermuda (https://www.facebook.com/EcoSchoolsBermuda/)