In schools, we are taught the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) through participating in mass activities such as collecting newspapers, bottle caps, and going to parks to pick up litter to preserve our environment.
But, youths are still being constantly urged to participate in climate action for example during the National Day Rally 2019?
Are youths in Singapore really indifferent toward climate changes?
A survey conducted by Mediacorp in 2019 showed that nine in 10 Singapore’s millennials (those aged 18 to 34 years old) are willing to do their part for the environment. Just like 24-year-old 2019 SNCF Scholar Jonathan How, who started Sharetings, a community-centric Telegram channel to facilitate the giving and receiving of pre-loved useable items so as to maximise their value and use, and reduce waste in Singapore. He is a willing youth and has already begin his part to better the environment.
How about the youths who are below 18 years old?
They may be young, but some of them are already contributing their school’s effort in addressing climate change.
Broadrick Secondary School – After School Engagement Coop Club
The Applied Learning Programme of Broadrick Secondary School – “Broadrick Entrepreneurship in STEM” aims to nurture students to be enterprising, inquisitive, critical and creative thinkers. The students are equipped with necessary knowledge, skills and character through school-based Science and Design & Technology lessons which focus on addressing the challenges faced in promoting sustainable, renewable energy in the lower secondary curriculum.
Garden Greenhouse in Broadrick Secondary School.
Both Nick and Irsyad went through the Applied Learning Programme when they were in Secondary 2. Both 15-year-olds were part of the After School Engagement Coop Club’s Hydroponic Farming Interest Group under the guidance of Mr Shiek Farid and his team.
Broadrick Secondary School’s students with their hyrdroponic plants.
The process of harvesting plants, such as kangkong and spinach which take 18 days to be fully grown, was tiring yet satisfying for Nick and Irsyad. They have to put the seedlings on a foam board which serves as a culture bed for the seedlings under the hot sun before adding nutrients to aid in the growth of the plants. They have to observe the growth of their plants, and adjust the conditions accordingly in order for their plants to thrive. It took them three adjustments before seeing the fruit of their labours. It evoked the curiosity in Nick and he persistently approached his Science teacher for answers! What makes it even better is having friends who are also interested in hydroponic farming as it helps keep their motivation going.
Broadrick Secondary School’s efforts in hydroponic farming won them the Community in Bloom Award 2018 Gold award in Education Institution Category and Special Mention in Community Outreach.
Nick also shared that the school uses the solar panels to generate electricity for the water pump which helps reduce the carbon footprint as no greenhouse gas emissions are released and, in the process, helps conserve the natural environment.
A student from Broadrick Secondary School adjusting the aquaponics fixture.
Irsyad’s interest of cycling not just allows him to sweat it out, it also helps him to enjoy his estate’s surrounding and reduce the carbon footprint. He believes in the future of urban farming, and shares passionately his vision of every single building in Singapore having a venue for vertical farming.
Guangyang Secondary School – Green Club
Green Club develops members to become responsible and environment-conscious citizens by allowing them continual gardening interaction with nature. At the same time, learning to operate a sustainable co-operative business has also widened the students’ knowledge on social entrepreneurship with the social cause of being Green.
The Green Club Executive Committee members enjoy overseeing club members who are broken into smaller working groups to focus on the various harvests and sale activities.
Guangyang Secondary School’s Green Club EXCO members (partial).
Guiding the juniors or new members on how to handle the worm bin was rewarding to 15-year-old Libin who is the Vice-Chairperson.
How to make a worm bin?
- Take pond water from the pond.
- Add 500ml water to the worm bin.
- Feed the worm bin with fruit peels, fried leaves, paper cartons / cardboards soaked in pond water.
- Drain the worm tea (excretory products are to be removed)
As the worms digest the organic material, they produce castings filled with nutrients and beneficial microbes which will help boost plant growth.
Similarly, the crushed and grinded eggshells are used as a food processor to provide calcium for plants and keep the snails away!
The 15-year-old Chairperson Kenton shared that one of the challenges faced by the Green Club was to organise and motivate the club members to do their duty. Moreover, activities such as watering plants, spraying insecticides and applying worm tea to fertilise the plants could not be carried out during the Circuit Breaker period. Thankfully the guidance from teachers, Ms Angeline Liu and Mr Somsadeen over the years has helped Kenton to effectively plan and roster the members to diligently care for the plants. He also makes use of reminders to instil the discipline of caring for the plants among members.
Kenton watering the plants.
Fifteen-year-old Manjusha who is the Secretary through public speaking overcame her stage fright and has become more confident. She delivers green messages confidently to her members and public through the community event (like flea market) initiated by various Resident Corner where the Green Club has set up a booth to teach people about vermicomposting and on making organic detergent.
Guangyang Secondary School’s Green Club in the heartland flea market at Bishan.
Green Sale is one of the highlights for the Green Club where the sale proceeds is donated to one of the school’s beneficiaries – Bishan Home for the Intellectually Disabled. Through the Coop Club Programme (social entrepreneurship training modules which are conducted by Singapore National Co-operative Federation), 15-year-old Isabel who is the Research Topic in Charge, is able to understand and utilise the Marketing Mix on how to promote their harvests and share the meaningful facts about their product such as the benefits of worm tea as fertilisers. Their harvests such as sweet potato leaves, pandan leaves, papaya, luffa, basil, moringa, mint, kafir leaves are advertised to their school population a day before their sale. They will pack the harvests in a clear plastic bag with the plants’ roots wrapped with a paper towel before putting them in a styrofoam box with ice to maintain freshness. The produce is then lay out on the foyer on the actual Green Sale.
The SCOOP Portal team had the privilege to interview the six students from both schools virtually.
Sharing with you some of their green thoughts:
1. Why did you join Interest Group / Green Club? Have you always been interested in advocating for a more environmentally friendly world?
Nick: Broadrick Secondary School is the only school which has hydroponic and vertical farming which I am interested. Therefore, I joined the Interest Group along with my friends to learn more about it.
Irsyad: I always wonder how the future of Singapore will look like with a cleaner environment. Hence, when my teacher shared about this Interest Group, I was interested and thankfully my friends were interested too.
Kenton: Yes, there are endless possibilities to be environmentally conscious. I have participated in community activities such as flea markets where we sold our harvest to the community.
Manjusha: I am interested to know more about plants, herbs and gardening. I have also conducted workshops such as self-watering planters and air purifying plants, and making recycled papers from paper mash with my Green Club members.
Libin: I like plants! We grow and sell the fruits, herbs and vegetables in the school garden during our Green Sale which allows me to have the chance to learn more about the environment.
Isabel: I learn about the different types of plants so that we can know how to make them survive longer. It is environmentally friendly as we learn how to reduce waste and use them as fertilisers.
2. Do you think your Interest Group/Green Club has helped to raise awareness for others and/or yourself to have an interest and a passion for the environment?
Irsyad: I have presented my hydroponic farming journey to the school during the assembly talk and to the class. The plant harvested was either sold or given to the students, parents or staff. Through my sharing, others will hear of my experience and in the process they may become more environmentally friendly.
Nick: Sometimes, I will bring the vegetables back home. My parents will be asking me about the vegetable after they are served during meal. I will explain to them on we work to grow the vegetables.
Guangyang Secondary School’s Green Club participated in NXplorer Challenge organised by Shell where they had to submit their solution to address a real-world problem (involving food, water and energy) in a specific geographical location (e.g. Bangladesh, Jakarta, or Singapore) using NXplorers tools and NXthinking. This Challenge allowed them to monitor the impact of climate change on the way they live and adapt to the environment as they brainstorm for a solution that will benefit and solve the problem.
Libin shared ideas such as using PET bottles to make containers and germinating kits to the Green Club members. She also mentioned about using plastic bags to make flowers. This helps her to understand that one should be responsible for the waste collected and upcycling them into something useful, thereby extending their shelf life instead of throwing them away (i.e. reduce single usage of plastic).
3. In your opinion, what are the entrepreneurial qualities required for Interest Group/ Green Club?
Irsyad: Creativity is important because we have to think of how to improve the production of the work. Risk-taking is also equally important because if we don’t take risk, we will never move. Planning skills is another quality as we need to set goals and have a Plan B in mind.
Kenton: Being able to speak up and persuade people to buy green products is an important quality. Having a sense of honesty and responsibility in handling accounts or money collected is also critical.
Isabel: Being confident and outspoken, so that people know about these upcycled products.
Manjusha: Have a passion to grow edible fruits, vegetable and herbs. Knowledgeable is also a good quality as we need to know the medicinal and nutritional properties of the harvests. One must be a team player too and to be able to give credit and recognition to all involved in the harvests.
Libin: To be thick-skinned so that we can share about the product, knowledge and be able to answer enquiries from customers. Through our answers, we can educate others.
4. How does Science and Technology help improve the betterment of the community?
Broadrick Secondary School’s After-School Engagement Coop Club shared that Science and Technology help to conserve the natural material and curb the negative impact caused by people to the nature. Science and Technology also help to improve the betterment of our lives. Irsyad shared his passion of seeing every block of HDB flats to have a root-top garden where residents can grow their plants there. This promotes social cohesion with others through gardening.
Guangyang Secondary School’s Green Club would like to design an application where fellow growers can key in when their harvest are expected to be ready so that others can purchase them a timely manner. They foresee that there will be an increase in the number of community gardens with different harvesting dates, and this app will ensure the freshness of the harvest and reduce the wastage.
5. How would you continue to champion for climate change after graduation?
Irsyad: I love to cycle and have been doing it for the past few years. It thrilled me that cycling also helps to reduce carbon footprint as well. I do not stay near Broadrick Secondary School, so I cycle to school and park my bicycle outside the school. I hope that schools will have more bicycle parking areas so that many who cycle to schools will have ease of mind knowing that their bicycles will be safe.
Nick: I have been recycling plastic bottles in school and will continue this effort.
Kenton: I will study hard for subjects such as Languages and Sciences so that I can educate people about environmental issues in a more convincing manner.
Isabel: I will take up courses related to the environment after ‘O’ Level (i.e. biodiversity and conservation), voice out and influence others to reduce littering and carbon footprint.
Libin: I will like to study Art and make animations or comics that tell people about the environment.
Manjusha: I will use less plastics, take part in volunteering programmes (e.g. beach cleaning) and study about urban farming.
Both Broadrick Secondary School’s After-School Engagement Coop Club and Guangyang Secondary School’s Green Club provide these six students with an invaluable green experience. Share with us in the comment box below if they have inspired you to contribute in the fight against climate change!