Vaiala Beach School joins global climate justice march

Students from Vaiala Beach School (VBS) in Samoa were part of over 1 million students worldwide to joined the global march for climate justice on March 15.

The march was led by the school's ECO-Toa club with principal Lorraine Williams indicating that it was part of their “Fa’aaloalo” initiative to teach the children to not only respect themselves but also their environment.

“We have an initiative that we started off with fa’aaloalo which means to respect that when you respect yourself you respect your community and respect your environment, so this is all part of respecting our environment.

“We think about the rubbish that we put out and also we’ve cut down the amount of rubbish; we use to have monitors picking up the rubbish from around school we barely need the monitors anymore because there is not much to pick up,” she said.

Eco-Toa club president Isabella Meredith elaborated on how they handle their food wastes and what they plan to do about it.

“[Currently] people go and put their food waste in one bin and it goes to our teacher’s dogs, but we want to create a graph to show how much food wastage there is, so we can show the parents so that they know what their kids are doing with it.

“And the lunch orders are very big for the younger kids so we want to check if they have a size small and large so that there’s less wastage,” she added. 

Ms. Williams said they have cut down their rubbish from sending out three bins a day, to sending out one rubbish bin a day, by making the children take their rubbish home.

“So it’s really just making children aware that we have to look after our environment,” she said.

About the student’s participation in the global strike, she said was a great initiative from the children themselves, and it is something they value.

“We really value the children’s input into what’s happening around our environment and what’s happening around school and that’s what makes a difference to them it makes them have a sense of pride and not only themselves but also in their environment,” said Ms. Williams.

The VBS principal said they would like to put out their initiatives to other schools for them to practice, as well as community based initiatives in the future.

“I’d like to put this out there to all the school that we need to take more responsibility for what our children are doing in our schools and in our environment.

“Next is more our community based initiative, but I think we need to start out first with ourselves and our own school and look towards our wider community,” she said.

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