Going Green with the Sustainability Council

Article by: Sam M.

Graphic by: Issy P.

Last week, as heavy monsoon rains hit Metro Manila, waves of rubbish crashed upon the seaside walk along Manila Bay. That horrendous view, giving passerby just a taste of the 35,000 tons of garbage produced daily within the Philippines, emphasized the importance of making Manila a greener city. Waste management in the Philippines is just one of many issues that are tackled by the HS Sustainability Council in ISM– fervently following sustainability compass guidelines. The council aims to change the mindset of the Bearcat community by encouraging people to live sustainably, consider their choices wherever they go, and do their best to minimize waste.

It is not easy to incite change within the ISM community, with projects proposed to administration being turned down due to cost and inconvenience. However, this has not hampered the Sustainability Council’s progress. Last year, under the guidance of the Sustainability Coordinator Ms. Alvarez, the council carried out multiple projects centered around waste management in ISM. The project “Think Before You Drink” removed plastic straws and lids from concessionaires in the Kantina and the Bearcat Cafe. Another successful project, Separwaste, improved trash segregation by helping people to become more aware of trash categories, which encompass non-recyclable, plastic, paper packaging, dry and clean paper, and cans and glass. Finally, a new initiative called “Bye Bye Plastic Bags,” which was introduced to ISM in a keynote presentation led by current seniors Harini R., Sijbren K., Sae Joon C. and sophomore Isabel S, which increased awareness on the harmful effects of plastic bags in our environment.

In the current school year 2018-2019, under the leadership of president Abhinav S. and the core council, comprised of seniors Sijbren K., Harini R., Sam M., and Sacha B., the ISM HS Sustainability Council aims to continue projects from last year– including the A to Z Sustainability guide for faculty and staff to consider methods to make their classroom an environmentally-friendly setting. A new website will also soon be opened up to the school so that everybody has a chance to learn more about ISM’s green initiatives. This school year, new guidelines for events have been formulated and completing certain green forms made necessary so that clubs will be able to better manage their resources and decrease waste production during events.

When asked to describe his vision of sustainability at ISM in one word, Abhinav S. chose the word “independent.” He aims to make “sustainability independent in ISM such that there doesn’t need to be a sustainability council anymore, such that it becomes second nature to everyone at ISM.” We hope that ISM students and faculty gain a sustainable mindset through daily decision-making such as bringing reusable containers and water bottles daily, which is environmentally friendly compared to disposable containers used in the canteen. Here’s to going green at ISM!