Penang Green School Award Programme is an annual environmental audit programme for both primary and secondary schools in Penang. It aims to educate not only the students, teachers but also the communities within and around the school on the importance of environmental conservation and protection. The programme was launched by the Penang State Government in 2010 and is a collaboration programme with both Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and Seberang Perai Municipal Councils (MPSP). Schools involved in this programme must inculcate
environmentally friendly practices and habits based on the 4 criteria set for the programme, namely:
(1) Resource Efficiency,
(2) Innovation and Creativity,
(3) Cleanliness and Greening
(4) Community Involvement.
The award programme is assessed at two levels, the District Level and the State Level. The District Level audit is carried out by both local authorities (MBPP & MPSP) at their respective zones and the State Level audit is carried out by Penang Green Council.
The goal of the program is to increase the level of environmental awareness by involving students. We started with 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) in 2010 and now we have evolved to 8R concept comprised of Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Re-use, Repair, Re-gift, Recover and Recycle. Some schools have been so passionate to the extent of upcycling; creating useful and functional products from old, pre-loved or discarded items. By incorporating green and sustainable practices, schools are able to create a healthy and conducive learning environment for everyone. In the long run, the school management will see a reduction in operating cost while playing an important role as a catalyst to promote environmental conservation. Our biggest achievement is when green schools took their passion to the next level by participating in national and international level Green programmes. With all this great work, we can proudly claim that the young generations are very keen to partake in environmental movements, be part of a notion for change and taking the ownership of the world they want to live in.
WHAT IMPACT HAS THIS PROJECT CREATED IN THE COMMUNITY / NATION?
One of the Penang Green School Award Programme is Community Involvement, whereby schools collaborate with local communities or organisations in their green projects. Collaborating with green organisations creates a ‘mentor-mentee’ platform, and engaging local communities will bring great sharing between schools and the community. This sharing can greatly help empower the local communities on their perception on climate change, to change their behaviour toward environment and be more responsible in making choices. Through Green School programme, schools can transform students’ behaviour, increase their awareness on climate change, and plant the awareness seed in students. By incorporating the SDG Goals into the Penang Green School Award, local communities are able to receive environmental education and awareness directly or indirectly. This is important and necessary to create a paradigm shift towards a more sustainable nation by taking practical climate actions.
HOW HAS THIS PROJECT HELP TO ADVANCE THE CHOSEN SDG?
In PGC, where the backbone of all projects runs in line with the chosen SDG, the Green School Award played a crucial role as
its target audience are no other than -children. If we see them as a clean, uncontaminated clay, waiting to be mould and
dressed, the outcome lies in the hands of us, parents, teachers, educators and leaders. The address of climate change underlies
in all our educational materials, be it to the general public, offices or schools. We have schools installing solar panels to generate
and store their own electricity, setting up rainwater harvesting system for non-portable use, making compost for landscaping
out of canteen’s food waste, carrying out recycling to minimize waste output and up-cycling. These green schools have certainly
gone out in their own ways to educate the people around them, especially their friends and families.
THE TAGLINE FOR UNITED NATIONS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (UNSDGS) IS “LEAVING NO ONE BEHIND.” EXPLAIN HOW YOUR PROJECT HELPS TO REALIZE THE COMMITMENT OF UNSDGS FOR THE FUTURE.
The key is Education. With that said, we don’t think that only adults have a role to play to protect the Earth but also children who will be able to take the lead for the world they want to leave in. The findings from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calls for global action towards climate change at all levels of society including schools. For all participating schools, every student and teacher are involved. It takes a collective movement and participation to realise a green school and not by just one soul. With increase in knowledge comes increase in practice for environmental practices. As levels of awareness increases, the demand to sustain sustainable living and lifestyle will increase too. We see that if from a young age and alongside our program, children grow up with critical technical and creative skills for a sustainable lifestyle. To cope with rising demands, more job opportunities and infrastructure will need to be created. If we look closely around us of late, minimal living has been the latest ‘in’ topic. Putting their habits into practice, coming up with business and products to suit the new lifestyle and moving market. Besides that, their knowledge in making homemade remedies such as soaps, cleaning agents, bags and etc will come in highly useful too.