Eco Club and 'Laudato Si'
“Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.”
Pope Francis, Laudato Si, P217
‘Laudato Si’ and Caring for our Planet
‘Laudato Si’, the second encyclical of Pope Francis, invites us to protect God's creation for future generations. It asks us to embrace lifestyle changes for our own good as well as to take care of people who are poor and are more vulnerable. Pope Francis calls for all people of the world to take 'swift and unified global action'.
The Aims of St. Damian’s Eco Club
Inspired by Pope Francis' message in ‘Laudato Si’, St Damian’s Eco Club are a pro-active group of enthusiastic pupils who identify environmental issues around school and find solutions to help improve the school community and want to make a difference. They are passionate about engaging others to participate in meaningful projects, to drive change and raise environmental awareness.
The Eco Club is growing rapidly, includes pupils of all ages and meets in R36 every Monday after school. The Eco Club discuss not only issues in school, but also broaden their horizons and look further afield, considering national and international issues too. Members seek ways in which the school can be run more sustainably as well as encourage both staff and students to become more eco-friendly. In the long run, Eco Club members hope to achieve a cleaner school environment as well as to encourage students to voice their opinions and share ideas about how to make further improvements.
Eco Club Activities
Recent activities have included creating presentations to raise the awareness of school, local and global environmental issues such as plastic waste. Pupils have made plastic bottle plant pots for each form group to encourage the reuse of plastic bottles and to reduce plastic waste. The ‘Think before you print’ posters are part of a targeted campaign to encourage staff to reduce the amount of paper they use. Another initiative has been the prominent reminders in classrooms for teachers asking them to turn off their Clevertouch boards at the end of each school day to save electricity and preserve precious energy resources. The response from teachers has been overwhelmingly positive.
The school is very proud of just how many pupils are interested and want to take an active role in promoting environmental issues and sustainability. There have been many personal achievements as outlined by pupils taking part in the promotional video for St Damian’s Eco Club. Recently one Y8 pupil said with great satisfaction “I feel like I’ve done my bit to help raise awareness of plastic pollution.”
Guardians of Creation
Eco Club pupils will be taking part in a national study led by Ruth Walbank, a researcher at St Mary’s University in Twickenham looking at how we empower young people in schools to take action and live sustainably.
Working with a larger research team called the ‘Guardians of Creation’, researchers will be looking at ways we can implement ecological action in Catholic communities. As part of their work, they will be speaking to young people, teachers, and policymakers across the Diocese of Salford. The study will contribute to a national understanding of environmental issues in education and enable us to better empower and inspire young people to live more sustainably in light of Pope Francis’ ‘Laudato Si’.