Article by: Devesh Rai
Trying to alleviate the environment’s problems is akin to looking after a 2-year-old baby laden with five different diseases and feeding a hundred mouths, each demanding something unique. Tackling all its problems at once is simply not possible. There are glaciers melting, forests disappearing, and countless exotic animals going extinct. For some, the issues are numerous and daunting, and act as deterrents; for others, they provide a challenge that is intimidating, but is something worth fighting for. Ms. Paul, with her extreme passion for the environment and determination to make a change, definitely lies in the latter category. Ms. Paul is aware that, while she can’t solve all the environmental problems, she can at least make a difference within her community. Thus, instead of focusing globally, her efforts involve bringing positive change and sustainability on a smaller scale. Her role as the coordinator of the Environmental Council helps her to pursue sustainability in ISM, while being the supervisor of Global Issues Network (GIN) – a forum that encourages young people to create project based sustainable solutions for global issues in their local community – enables her to do so within the broader Filipino community.
However, Ms. Paul’s passion extends beyond environmental sustainability to encompass service learning as a whole. According to her, “Sustainability and service are very linked,” and each is equally important. When asked about why she feels so strongly about service, she says, “It places us as people in the bigger context. We look outside our own lives and become more aware of the situation of those around us.” She also believes that “it is important to be giving back to the community that helps us.” Before we can start caring for the environment and other issues, we must first care for those around us. Sustainability is the key for service as well. She hopes we are able to maintain the relationships we have with our service partners, but also feels “we need to find a way to get more people to engage in service because they want to, and not merely because we have to.” As the saying goes, “a piece of rock can cause a landslide.”.Ms. Paul can definitely be classified as that piece of rock, the piece of rock that serves as a catalyst to start a landslide of appreciation for the environment and service in the school. Through Ms. Paul’s initiative in running the Environmental Council as well as GIN, she has helped move ISM towards becoming a school where individuals cares not only about themselves, but also about the global community and the repercussions of their actions..