Wednesday 06 November 2019

Take the First Sip for a Better Future

The youth climate movement has never been as prominent as it is today with Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg’s Friday climate strikes for climate action resonating strongly with young people and the wider population, and expanding to millions of people around the world.

At Ivanhoe, students have been actively working on different projects for some time with a battery recycling program run by the Environment Group and biodynamic vegetable gardens to name just a few.

A recent development has seen two of our Year 9 students, Eva and Ruby working towards making our school more sustainable by raising awareness of single-use cups and providing more sustainable options at our school canteens. Take the first sip for a better future is an initiative with the aim of promoting and bringing attention to single-use coffee cups.

“Through our campaign, we are trying to help people understand the importance of the issue,”  Eva explained. “Our goal is to share our passion and hope that we can motivate others to care as much as we do.”

The idea was born from their involvement in Pitch for the Planet which was run by the Global Citizenship Centre in 2018. This cross-campus event involved students and staff entering their ideas on how to make Ivanhoe Grammar School more sustainable and the pitches had to reflect the Ivanhoe Learner Attributes – Innovative and Balanced – as well as the UN Global Goals Number 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and 13 (Climate Action).

Year 9 student Ruby is passionate about the environment and believes that young people can make a difference. “If enough kids come together, you would hope that it puts pressure on the issue, or at least raises awareness surrounding it. Scientists with the United Nations predicted climate change could become irreversible as soon as 2030. We are scared we are not going to have our adulthood – which is a pretty horrifying realisation. The world is slowly deteriorating beneath our feet, and if kids look around and see that small changes can make a difference, we could be surprised,” Ruby said.

Their pitch involved several elements of how to make takeaway coffee drinking more sustainable such as developing and strengthening the reusable cup program alongside a loyalty program and partnering with Simply Cups to help recycle disposable coffee cups. Their passion and determination paid off with their pitch chosen as one of the five winning pitches from across the School and gave them the opportunity to present to the School’s executive team. Since then Eva has also had the opportunity to speak at Let’s Start the Conversation another sustainability event hosted by the School.

Another winning pitch has seen the implementation of the Golden Lunchbox Award which is awarded to primary classes based on their use of nude food, composting, and following of class energy goals. This project has just been launched at both Plenty Campus and Buckley House and will be rolled out over the next months.

Eva and Ruby’s passion for the environment is infectious with both girls hoping to leave a legacy at University Campus after they graduate Year 9 and move back to their home campuses. With the implementation of a new canteen at University Campus in 2020, they see this as the perfect opportunity to make it as sustainable as they can. They also hope to be able to do more in this space when they return to their home campuses. “I would love to be involved in the process of building a new canteen and making the food choices as ecofriendly as possible. Considering how new the University Campus is I think it is a great opportunity to get off on the right foot,” Eva said.

The School is very fortunate to have students that care so much about the environment, so keep an eye out for this initiative at your local canteen.