At Vashi’s Sacred Heart School, students of its Eco Club spent vast amounts of energy last year — in trying to conserve it.
The club conducted energy audits of the school’s electricity use, aside from fuel and water consumption. After tabulating the figures, they made an all-out effort to ensure that these were reduced.
“We found out how many leaky taps there were and ensured these were closed. We also asked the bus drivers to switch off the engines when the vehicles were not moving to save fuel,” said Poorva Ghorpade, a Class 8 student.
The school’s Eco Club has since 2009 thrown itself into a host of green activities, from gardening to water harvesting.
As a result, these green fingers wrapped themselves last week around the prize for the Greenest School run by GreenLine, the environment forum of the Don Bosco Development Society.
Students plan to use the Rs 1 lakh prize money to buy solar panels for their school. “We aren’t doing this to get marks or earn money, but because we love it,” said Mihica Bakre, 13.
On the campus, environmental consciousness can also be measured through patches of soil. One corner hosts a mini-garden where spinach, sweet potatoes and tomatoes are grown; in another, an organic garden lies tucked away and in a third, there is a compost pit.
More patches of the campus await the students’ latest designs. The club plans to initiate a ‘birthday garden’ programme later in the year for students to plant on a patch of soil and then nurture the plant as it grows.
“We love nature and we want to do our bit to protect it,” said a chorus of Class 8 students who are part of the club.
The club also has an active Facebook page where members talk about the latest environmental concerns and exchange notes on club activities. Parents pitch in too with their support. “Our mothers have stopped using polythene bags and try to separate dry and wet waste at home,” said Hiral Satra, 13.
Support from the club’s guide and science teacher Nirmala Nair, has also helped, said students, though the staff say the drive is all from the students. “It is an initiative of the students,” said Sister Malar Joseph, the principal.