Promoting Water Conservation and Reducing Single-Use Plastic
Our vision was to raise water awareness in our school community and promote water conservation and reduction of single-use plastic at school. What it led to, after some inspiration from LSF, was a way to make a difference for a nearby Indigenous school.
Our project was actually inspired by an initiative started by my Social Justice and Wellness Club. During Holy Week, we lead a school-wide water awareness campaign. Students used the campaign “Thinkfast” from Development and Peace to develop age-appropriate slide deck presentations for each grade in our school – the goal of the slide deck was to raise awareness of our water usage and how we can conserve water versus waste it, and we also focused on reducing pollutants in our water, namely plastics. So fasting from single-use plastic and fasting from wasting water became our school-wide goal. It was during the research stages of this initiative that some of my social justice students and some students in my own class began to ask about water in our own province. To their shock and dismay, they discovered that there are currently still 24 Indigenous communities in Ontario on boil water advisories. The students wanted to do something about it. We applied for the grant in hopes of using the $500 plus a little more of our own saved-up fundraising, to purchase aluminum water bottles to sell to our student body in hopes to make a small profit, just enough to purchase a freestanding and portable 12 Litre water filtration unit for an Indigenous School in our province.
With the LSF grant money, we designed a logo and ordered 100 aluminum water bottles and sold them to our student body. We then used the money from the sale of the water bottles to purchase the filtration unit. The unit will be delivered to an Indigenous School community in the London-Middlesex County who are still on a boil water advisory.
Along the way, my grade 2/3 class read books about water conditions in different parts of the world. They learned that some girls and women have to walk long and far for water each day and that sometimes that water is not clean. And that some of those girls can’t go to school as a result of their daily chore to fetch water. We learned about water trucks that bring fresh water to remote Indigenous communities but that sometimes these communities don’t have clean cisterns to hold the water, so they have to boil it anyway. We learned how, because of the scarcity of water for some people, it means they have learned to respect what they have, and they reuse their water in many ways, thus conserving much more than we do. We even had one day whre I didn’t let them refill their water bottles at our fountain just so they could know what it feels like not to have easy access to clean water. Lastly, we conducted a few simple experiments to learn how water is filtered and purified and how we can help our water treatment plants by not wasting treated water (leaving tap running) and by ensuring we only put what is allowed down the drain.
This learning was incredible, thank you for the grant – it was the push we needed to kick-start some fantastic learning!
Reflection & Celebration
Overall, I believe we accomplished our goal of raising awareness of the importance of water conservation and appreciation for our access to clean water. My students even conducted a few in-class experiments on DIY water filters so they could see what the process was like. They also were reminded of the effort and energy it takes our city water treatment plant to clean the water that goes down our drain because of all the inappropriate things people put down their drains. As of the submission of this report, our water filtration unit will be delivered to Chippewas of the Thames Elementary School on June 23rd. They invited my grade 2/3 class and a few Social Justice and Wellness Club members to celebrate their school Pow Wow with them as a thank you for our gift to them. We plan to have a little tour of their school and hear a little bit about why parts of their community are still on a boil water advisory. Thanks for this opportunity for deep learning.