The Yuk Go Green Club, an after-school extra-curricular activity for enthusiastic environmentally-concerned students, is on a mission to improve people’s plastic consumption behavior. Disappointed to learn that Indonesia is the second largest plastic polluter in the world¸ the club started a ‘water station’ system in the school corridors.
For many years the vast majority of students had purchased plastic bottled water, with relatively few students opting to bring in and use refillable drinking bottles. The Yuk Go Green Club decided to challenge this situation. They started by giving speeches on the environmental benefits of using refillable drinking containers, as opposed to one-time use plastic bottles, to each of the homeroom classes and information announcements during morning assemblies. Club members then took a petition to see how many students could be persuaded to start using a reusable container.
“I was at first very nervous when approaching my class, but everyone cooperated so willingly that I felt good about asking,” professed Alicia, Year 11 from Yuk Go Green.
Within days a pilot scheme was started with drinking water gallons placed at either ends of the corridor. Students were asked to pay one thousand rupiah into a (biscuit tin) trust box for a 600ml water refill.
The ongoing scheme has been very successful so far – certificates have been given to some classes where refillable containers are used by 100% of the students. Yuk Go Green has even purchased a range of reusable plastic containers, for sale, for students who are unable to source their own.
Later this year, the school canteens plan to adopt an identical scheme of water gallon dispensers.
Participating students learned some very valuable lessons from this experience. Other than building their confidence and practicing their public speaking skills, they also learned how to stay organised, account for money and further practice their techniques of persuasion.
‘This has been such a great experience for all of us. It has brought us out of our shells and out of our comfort zones. Against all odds, we have stayed together achieving our first goals. Everyone in the club feels accomplished, and we give our biggest thanks to our wonderful school community, the intercultural students as well as the teachers and helpers for their contribution, cooperation and acceptance of the challenge to make a difference in the plastic consumption of Indonesia.’ Yuk Go Green Club.
IGCSE Environmental Management is a mandatory subject at Taman Rama Intercultural School, Bali, where it is taught to all Year 9 and Year 10 students. And Advanced Subsidiary Environmental Management is an optional international examination subject offered in Year 11. The syllabus is wide-ranging and topics cover issues related to the lithosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and atmosphere. Students are able to create their own in-depth research projects based on regional environmental issues and concerns.
Past project submissions from our students have included; Testing the water quality at different points of Denpasar’s main rivers and canals; The environmental impact of a new hotel being built; Air pollution; The pros and cons for Balinese farmers growing various types of rice; Habitat loss for Indonesia’s orangutans, and Bali’s coral reefs, just to mention a few.
On five occasions, in 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2017, Taman Raman Intercultural School students achieved The Highest Mark in Indonesia for IGCSE Environmental Management in the annual Outstanding Cambridge Learners Awards.
A number of our alumni students have chosen to study Environmental Science-related university courses, some have even continued to Masters level, and several are now working as environmental consultants.
The school’s Yuk Go Green Club, with members from Secondary Year 7 to Advanced Year 12, is busy preparing its next challenges. They have already conducted workshops on how to convert old t-shirts into reusable bags. As they plan the eradication of unnecessary packaging and plastic bags!
By Tara Andayani and Michelle Serenity Tan, 11E
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