by Midorin, the YIS Environmental Service Learning Team
From the Earth Day website:
"As individuals, we have the simple yet effective power to make our voices heard through our choices, our civic actions, and our personal interactions. What each of us does, and how we do it, has a huge ripple effect on our ecosystems, and on the pace of corporate and government action.”
For a few years now, we students have participated in a service group, dedicated to improving environmental awareness and action throughout the YIS community. This group previously known as the Environment Team is now the Service Learning team called Midorin. The name Midorin comes from an amalgamation of the sounds from three Japanese words: mi, for mizu (水) or water; do, from one of the pronunciations of the word tsuchi (土) or earth; and rin, for one of the pronunciations of the word hayashi (林), or forest, as they represent the three major elements of Earth. Midori is also the Japanese word for green.
Throughout the years, we have organised numerous events, activities and educational opportunities for students and teachers at YIS. This has previously included bake sale fundraisers for future events or non-profit organisations, beach cleanups, educational presentations and initiatives to add more greenery around the Yamate-cho campus.
In fact, in order to show YIS’s support for environmental awareness and action, we celebrated Earth Week last week by holding several events leading up to Earth Day on Friday, April 22. First held in 1970, Earth Day serves as a worldwide call to action for the protection of our environment. This year’s Earth Week has the theme, ‘Invest in our planet’. Earth Week at YIS opened on Monday, April 18th, with an assembly discussing the importance of environmental sustainability and its relevance in both a global and local context, and the announcement of the full event schedule for the week.
Encouraging the reuse and recycling of clothing, and in the process decreasing overconsumption and clothing waste, has been proven to reduce greenhouse gases and provide other benefits to the environment. According to the Earth Day website, Gen Z is leading the way when it comes to sustainability in fashion with 45% having stopped purchasing certain brands because of ethical or sustainability concerns and we want to further encourage this mindset at YIS. With this in mind, on Tuesday, as a collaboration with the service learning team Second Chance, both students and teachers were invited to come to school wearing second-hand outfits and outfits of earth-based colours for a Earth Week sticker in return. Second Chance set up their recycle shop where clothes could be donated and resold. The pop-up shop was a huge success thanks to many community members bringing in clothes to donate!
Service Learning Team, Second Chance, set up a pop-up stall for collecting and selling secondhand clothing.
While raising awareness through social media campaigns and other forms of advocacy have always been and continue to be an objective for Midorin, our capacity to carry out direct service activities has been limited in recent times due to the coronavirus pandemic. A neighbourhood clean-up scheduled for last Thursday was cancelled due to inclement weather, but has been rescheduled for Thursday, May 5, and is open to all Secondary Students. Events such as this provide the opportunity for students to directly engage with and help the local community. Finally, on Friday, marking the end of Earth Week & Earth Day itself, Midorin organised a vegan bake sale to make donations to the Canopy project supported by Earthday.org. This campaign aims to improve reforestation, by “plant[ing] one tree for as little as $1” in forests all over the world, which includes one in Nagoya, Japan. The team sold a variety of vegan foods such as cookies, muffins, and fruit sticks, while packaging them without the use of plastic, to keep with the spirit of sustainability and environmental awareness. From the bake sale, Midorin successfully raised ¥10,379, for the campaign, enough to plant 80 trees. All students were also encouraged to choose the vegetarian meal provided by Dragon Dining on Friday.
Vegan foods sold by Midorin on Earth Day.
Students were encouraged to purchase the vegan meal sold by Dragon Dining on Earth Day.
If you’re wondering what you can do as a family, here are some ways you can help support your child at home to make a difference…
🌱 Adopt a plant-based or vegan diet - if you don’t think you can adopt it completely, start off by changing one meal at a time to a plant-based meal.
🌱 Reduce, reuse, and recycle. When buying something new, choose to buy from ethical, sustainable & local brands.
🌱 Discuss environmental issues over the dinner table or watch environmental documentaries together (such as Before The Flood, The True Cost).
🌱 Lobby (petition, put pressure on) your local governors or other people in power to adopt green policies.
🌱 Encourage family members together to make sustainable changes to your household and lifestyle.
Explore more ways you can make a difference every day to the future of our Earth by looking through these helpful tips, 52 ways to invest in our planet, on the Earth Day website. This article by Imperial College London also outlines ways you can make a difference.