One school’s path to sustainability
“When the Amazon is gone we will have forty per cent less atmospheric oxygen. In fifteen years we could lose an area the size of England.”
These words are spoken, not by an expert or environmentalist, but by a ten-year-old boy – Mackenzie Smith, a pupil at Lawthorn Primary School in Ayrshire, Scotland. Matthew is a member of the eco-committee at the school, where a commitment to helping the environment is embedded in the ethos of the school.
Lawthorn Primary has applied for its fifth green flag from Eco-Schools Scotland and has also received a gold award from the Woodland Trust, the United Kingdom’s leading woodland conservation charity. Over the last ten years, Lawthorn School has worked hard to earn these accolades, with support from UNESCO, WWF Scotland and other organisations such as Education Scotland and the Carbon Trust.
Schools across Scotland now have access to the School’s Global Footprint resource – a handbook for teachers - and an interactive footprint calculator, which, through a series of questions relating to buildings, energy, food, transport, water and waste, gives an indication of carbon footprint and ecological footprint.
Action has come in many forms but most importantly the children are enthusiastic and passionate, with principal teacher Amanda Milne talking of having to rein the children in. “They wanted to ban all cars from coming into the playground” she says. “And they were convinced we weren’t planting enough trees.”