Our vision for Canada is to make our students and community more aware of the environmental impact they have and to support a more sustainable Canada. This year we will largely focus on the fashion industry and address how our consuming behaviours affect the environment. This is an important issue, because we feel that many people aren’t aware of the environmental impact of buying new clothes has, such as the amount of water used, or CO2 emissions released. We are a fortunate community and wanted to open the eyes to students and their families about needs versus wants.
The Fashion Takes Action organization ran three different workshops for members of our Eco Club (Grades 5-8). During these workshops, students learned about issues pertaining to the fashion industry and its impact on our planet, and made reusable bags from old t-shirts. After participating in the workshops, Eco Club student leaders ran a bag-making workshop for their peers. We promoted “Buy Nothing Day” in November by creating posters and emails for our community, and through student announcements. Eco club members worked closely with teachers to organize the “Bag 2 School” clothing drive, which diverts textile waste responsibly. Within 2 weeks our community successfully diverted over 1,000 kg of textile waste. Grade 5 Eco Club members sorted through the donations and pulled out old jeans. Student leaders ran workshops that engaged Grade 1-8 students (older students mentoring), with the goal of cutting and preparing denim squares from the jeans. These are being pieced and sewn together by Eco Club members for two quilts and 5 pillows, which will be auctioned off at our school fun-fair in June. Proceeds will go back to our Eco club so we can provide further opportunities next school year to promote awareness of textile waste and its impact. We are hoping from there we will start a sewing club using recycled materials and eventually earn money to donate to different environmental charities. Throughout the year we had weekly announcements informing the whole school about the environmental impact of textiles and ways they could help. In April, the Eco club members, along with teacher supervisors, organized, promoted, and judged student-made creations in our Reduce, Reuse Repurpose contest. The criteria was to make something out of recycled textiles that is useful and will stay out of the landfill. To celebrate we had a whole school assembly with a fashion show to show off the different creations students made.
Reflection & Celebration
This project is currently ongoing. So far we have celebrated with a whole school assembly and fashion show. We are currently working with our ECO club to put together quilts and pillows with our new sewing machines that we will raffle off at our school’s end of the year party. Some challenges were time and money. In the end we were only able to buy 1 sewing machine (but had another one donated) so we bought more sewing supplies. However with the one machine it is taking longer for our club to finish the different projects. We had great success in our clothing drive and student participation. We donated 1000 kg and have had many students excited and engaged all year making conscious fashion decisions and creating new things from old textiles. With the money we raise from the raffle we will buy new supplies to keep and grow our sewing club, so we can continue to up cycle and share our knowledge and efforts with the whole school in hopes of creating more awareness.