Our City, Our World
This exciting project will help our children to be aware of some of the environmental challenges facing our planet.
It will allow them to explore how they feel about about these challenges and encourage them to see the positive work that many people are doing to make the world better.
We will always show children that there is hope and there are solutions.
As a school, we will tackle climate change and increase sustainability through the 3 Cs.
- Children will learn what climate change is and what we can do about it.
- They will be able to explore their feelings about environmental issues.
- We will map out the concepts that children need to know as they move through school.
- Each term, we will ‘green’ our curriculum by seeing how we can weave environmental ideas into what we already learn.
- We will be looking at what we as a school consume and produce and how we can make this more sustainable.
- A Sustainability Working Group will be formed
- Each term they will carry out an audit of our current practices.
- They will then create actions for making these practices more sustainable.
- We will be asking for your support and engagement at each stage of the process.
- Each term we will be looking at a different environmental Focus (see below).
- For each focus area, we will invite you to make a family pledge to make a difference and help make our planet safer.
Our Focus Areas
Starting in January 2024, each term we will focus on a new area of sustainability.
- Energy – Spring 2024
- Biodiversity – Summer 2024
- Transport – Autumn 2024
- Consumption & Waste – Spring 2025
- Water – Summer 2025
- Food – Autumn 2025
Say No To Plastic trees!
A small plastic tree's carbon footprint is 40kg CO2 compared to a real tree which if recycled by being chipped is carbon neutral and even carbon positive if potted and kept in the garden and re-used.
Don't put your real tree in landfill as its approximate carbon footprint would be 16kg CO2.
If you have an advent calendar, or have brought one for others is it plastic, are the sweets or gifts or beauty products inside wrapped in plastic? Also, what about the foil, we know that this never decomposes so is on this planet long after we are all gone.
Do you or your family even need advent calendars or is it just more stuff and over consumption? Could this be something you get rid of for next year and either buy or make a sustainable one out of recycled materials or wood that is then re-used every year. Better still do a kindness advent calendar which is carbon neutral and involves doing carbon neutral or carbon positive activities like making a star shaped bird feeder (see recipe attached). Or do a musical or film advent where you listen to or watch something which doesn't produce more waste!
Cut The Cards!
Have you sent your Christmas cards yet??? Did you know that if we counted all of the Christmas cards sent across the world just this year it would cover Earth's circumference 500 times!
A card contributes to CO2 emissions through 4 stages; paper production, printing, postage and decomposition so because of these 4 stages just one card releases 140g of CO2!
Send texts or e-cards this year. If you have to buy them, buy them from companies who plant trees and keep any cards you receive and cut out the images on the front to use for present labels next year!
Think Outside The box!
Everyone loves a silly secret Santa with friends, family and in the workplace but can you buy gifts that don't leave a trace???
Most secret Santa gifts end up in landfill unless it's food and drinks so if you are doing Secret Santa this year make it a Sustainable Santa!
You could make a gift, buy a gift in a charity shop or even give your time e.g., do the chores for someone. You could wrap your gift in waste paper and tie with string/wool!
Make Your Own Wrapping Paper
Have you started wrapping all those Christmas gifts? If not, now could be the time to make a substantial shift!
Wrapping paper is mostly dyed, laminated and full of glitter which means it cannot be recyclable. Usually, the cheaper the paper the bigger the impact on the environment. There are many more recyclable options available now, usually these will be brown paper in style. In fact, you could save money and buy brown paper and just add natural extras such as pine cones, holly or dried orange slices.
If you already have wrapping paper keep this after opening and reuse next year. Lots of people are buying reusable fabrics or boxes that they re-use each year. Do you need to add all the plastic extras? sellotape, ribbons, bows? Do you need to wrap all those stocking gifts individually? You could save money and reduce your Christmas carbon footprint by making this small change.
Christmas Jumper Day!
This holiday season is about spending time with family and friends and not so much about following the latest fashion trends!
Did you know that most new Christmas Jumpers are made from 95% plastic? I am sure no one would choose to eat their Christmas Jumper but that's what we are doing! When we wash our Christmas jumpers, they end up in our Seas which ultimately ends up back in our bodies.
This week we will eat on average 5 grams of plastic (equivalent to a credit card) and over our lifetimes due to the amount of plastic we are producing we will eat 20kg of plastic!
We need to reduce our plastic waste. So don't buy a new Christmas Jumper each year. Buy one from a charity shop or swap with a friend or buy a vintage one which isn't made of plastic and don't wash your jumper after one wear. This goes for all the Christmas clothes that are now everywhere, the Christmas Pjs, the dresses, do you need to buy so many clothes just to be worn for a couple of days a year???
It is nearly Christmas and it's getting very cold, some small changes at home could save you some Gold!
Could you reduce your gas and electricity bills during this festive season and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time????
These simply changes could make a big difference to the cost of being at home during the holidays.
- Only fill your kettle to the amount of water you need.
- Boil hot water in a kettle first before filling your saucepan to cook.
- Wash your hands with cold water and soap unless your hands are dirty.
- Layer up, power down - add as many layers as you can before turning on heating and when you do turn it on you won't need your thermostat turned up as high.
- Plan your oven use, what can you cook at the same time that could then be microwaved or eaten cold later?
- Be aware of 'Vampire devices' these quickly add up. Unplug microwaves, ovens, phone chargers, computers, toasters when not in use. If going away for anytime over Christmas unplug everything including routers etc. too.
- Shower instead of baths and put a timer on for 4 minutes.
- Draught proof any gaps on doors/windows etc.
Freeze Those Left Overs!
Nothing like a pig in blanket to get you in the festive mood but will your stomach turn from all that excess food???
It will come as no surprise that our food waste in December in the UK is huge at over 4.5 million tonnes! Most of this perfectly edible food ends up in landfill. We throw away 2 million turkeys and over 74 million mince pies!!!
There are ways to reduce your food waste by buying less or just what you need, don't buy mince pies if no one in your home eats them. Remember most shops only close for one day so you don't need to buy enough food for a fortnight.
Christmas leftovers are perfectly versatile, think sandwiches, bubble and squeak, pies and curries. I have included some links below to recipes or just type in your ingredient and it will list possible recipes. There are loads just for sprouts!
You can also freeze most of your leftovers including hard cheeses or make kimchi, pickles and chutneys with left over vegetables. If having guests over bag them up food to take home and remember food banks will accept sealed food that you haven't used. Also, if you're planning that festive take away do check out the too good to go app (link below) as there are lots of excellent offers on there, (plenty of Christmas dinners going from all those parties) you can bag yourself a bargain and are preventing food going into landfill.
Swap that Turkey!
A turkey centrepiece for the traditional Christmas meal but some sustainable facts I am about to reveal!
The traditional turkey does still produce the least amount of emissions (6kg average) when compared to other meats, (pork 7kg, lamb 25kg and beef 60kg) the only better option for the centrepiece is a vegetarian or vegan option. It is actually better to buy a whole bird rather than a crown as there is less overall waste during the production process. Just remember to use the left-over meat for those sandwiches and curries. You can use the bones, juices and left-over vegetables to make a stock to freeze.
When selecting your Christmas meats with a climate conscious hat on it's important to think about farming and animal welfare. Not only will it be better tasting it will be better for your body so if your budget can stretch that far go organic. When buying beef or lamb buy locally sourced grass fed if you can afford too.
You will have seen the explosion (due to the cost-of-living crisis) of slow cookers and it is much better to cook as much of your Christmas dinner as you can in a steamer, slow cooker or microwave. Over 60% of the climate impact from food comes from the cooking process. When using pressure cookers, microwaves etc. they use less energy and are used for less time so contribute less to climate change and your bills than a conventional oven.
Remember to scrap the tin foil and cling film this Christmas by investing in tin liners and wax wraps.
Think About Sustainable Gifts
Christmas is often viewed as the season of giving but how much can you afford with the cost of living???
No-one wants a Dickensian Christmas but with so many families living in poverty, is it worth getting further into debt for that special 'gift'?
Like most people, we can't remember what we got when we were 8, 16 or even last year but what we do remember is the time we spent with family or doing Christmas activities from baking ginger biscuits to going to see Father Christmas at Hanningtons for those of you Brightonians who remember that!
If you are going to buy gifts, it's better for the environment if you buy experiences rather than stuff. A family trip to the pantomime, a trip to the depot in Lewes to watch a film, a vegan wine tasting experience at 10 green bottles. Think memberships, year passes, local days out or even an adoption/donation in their name e.g., donkey sanctuary, homeless charities, wateraid, foodbank etc. You could avoid presents altogether for wider family or suggest all getting together for a bring and share meal rather than that aftershave that 'Uncle John' probably hates and will chuck in the bin!
When buying actual presents think about sustainable gifts that have been made locally not plastic stuff shipped on amazon from China. A reusable water bottle, seed growing kit, beach clean coasters, sprout pencils, bees wax wrap, fussy deodorant subscription or even better buy pre-loved gifts rather than new. Brighton certainly has an array of charity shops to shop in!
Whatever you chose to gift this year be mindful of your finances and remember to wrap in reusable or recycled paper/covers/boxes.
Recycle Right This Christmas!
This Christmas you will create a lot of waste but don't throw it in the dustbin in a spin of haste!
- Real Christmas trees need to be dropped off at one of the council's recycling drop off points and will then be turned into chippings for parks. Carbon Positive!
- Make sure the right items go into the right bins otherwise recycling can be 'contaminated' and will jeopardize a wagon-load of recycling which has a knock-on effect for the environment and our council tax.
- Bring your batteries into work as each Downs View site has a battery box for recycling.
- Keep that wrapping paper for next year if you can even if going to be used in class for festive art activities.
- Remove sticky tape, bows, ribbons from cards and boxes before putting in recycling.
- Keep those unwanted gifts to donate to a Downs View raffle or to re-gift next year, just not to the person who gave it to you! You could even host a gift swap/left overs event where you get together with friends/family in January and use up all your leftover food and swap unwanted gifts.
- Anything that hasn't survived this year e.g. fairy lights, don't put in landfill search the link below recycle now to see where you could drop these off. This goes for anything you're not sure of what to do with at any time in the year.