The Echo

Posted: 23rd April 2021

Senior Assembly: Earth Day 2021

In this issue of ‘The Echo, we look at this year’s Earth Day, a day for us all to reflect, and take action on the issues facing our planet.  In his papal encyclical ‘Laudato Si’, ‘On care for our common home’, published in 2015, Pope Francis calls on us all to look after our planet.

In this vein, our Junior and Senior Eco-Committees are looking for new members and fresh ideas!  Please contact Mr Chappory on ichappory@sapriory.com if you are interested in joining us.

On Earth Day 2021, which took place on 22nd April, the Juniors wholeheartedly embraced this theme and a day of activities ensued which were sheer joy to behold.

Today, in Senior Assembly, girls examined the issues involved in Earth Day as Mr Chappory, Head of Geography, reports:

‘Earth Day is an annual event held on 22nd April each year to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First held on 22nd April 1970, it now includes a wide range of events coordinated globally by EARTHDAY.ORG including 1 billion people in more than 193 countries.

John McConnell was an American scientist and peace activist born in 1915. He was a Christian who believed that everyone has a responsibility to help each other and care for our planet. He took inspiration from Psalm 115:16 in the bible, which says: “The Earth has been given to the children of men”.

McConnell was working in a research laboratory in Los Angeles, which was associated with a factory that manufactured plastic. John’s experience with the factory made him realise how much the manufacture of plastic was polluting the Earth, which worried him. At this time, it was rare for anyone to have concerns about the environment, but McConnell’s concerns only grew as time went on.

In 1969, at a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Conference, John proposed the idea of a global holiday to celebrate the Earth and to spread awareness about preserving the environment; he called this day Earth Day.

‘Every day should be Earth Day!’

The United Nations Secretary General, and many others, signed the Earth Day Proclamation promising to play their part in caring for the planet. The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 and it’s now celebrated globally on 22nd April every year.

Some communities celebrate Earth Day week where they dedicate the entire week to focus on the world’s environmental issues.

Wangari Maathai was a biologist and a political, social and environmental activist born in Kenya in 1940. She was incredibly passionate about environmental issues and actively encouraged citizens to engage in preserving, and improving, their local environment.

Maathai studied Biology at university in the United States and became the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a Ph.D. She then became the first woman in these regions to become chair of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy and associate professor.

She worked with the National Council of Women of Kenya to encourage citizens to plant more trees, to provide a source of fuel and to battle deforestation.

In 1977, Wangari Maathai founded an organization called The Green Belt Movement which aimed to educate world leaders on environmental improvement and conservation.  She was appointed assistant minister of environment, natural resources and wildlife after being elected to Kenya’s National Assembly. Two years later she was the first African woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her activism and environmental work, as well as her work to improve women’s rights.

Both of these great conservationists started caring about the Earth before Global Warming was even a “thing”!

The idea of raising awareness of environmental issues has been around for a long time.

Did you know that it was not accepted that global warming was actually happening until 1992 in a world conference that happened in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil? Since then there have been many global environmental conferences. The latest one is scheduled to take place this November in Glasgow, Scotland, UK.

We do need to ask ourselves that even though we are so much more aware now of environmental issues and we make certain efforts….are we really doing enough?

What have we actually achieved since the first Earth Day over 50 years ago?

I wonder what Wangari Maathai would say of the destruction of the Orangutans’ habitat in Indonesia and its near extinction?

I wonder what John McConnell would say if he knew that recently the Pope had to address the world about our care for the environment in his open letter- Laudato Si

So, what can we do at school and in our daily lives to protect the Earth in a variety of ways?

  • In the past we have made “gestures” to raise awareness of environmental issues. We have done Walk to School Week Competitions, No Paper Days, No Electricity Days, Banned Single-Use Plastics (bottles), gone on marches for Climate Change, recycled as much as possible, monitored and measured our carbon footprint, a group of students led by Mrs Bennet were highly commended for their work on the Iris Melt Project and achieved Bronze on Eco-Schools….
  • Since the last lockdown our Eco-Committee has been meeting regularly on Google Classrooms and doing all the paper work for our Silver Eco-School certification.
  • However, despite all this, Earth Day makes us realise that we have to do much, much more to try and protect the Earth against ourselves and our actions. We should try and do much more before the next Earth Day (2022)!

The Eco-Committee is looking for more recruits!

We are looking for fresh ideas!

Please contact ichappory@sapriory.com if you are interested in joining us.’

As Ms Keane, Deputy Head, Academic (Juniors), so rightly observed, ‘Every day should be Earth Day!’

During Assembly this morning the message of Earth Day was given especial resonance by the playing of the astonishingly beautiful anthem, ‘For the Beauty of the Earth by John Rutter’.  Take time out to relish the words and music that are imparted by going to https://youtu.be/xlBkpAm3fhw .

Categories: Faith Life Junior Nursery Prep Priory Post Senior Sixth Form Whole School
Open Morning

Book your place

on our Preps and Pre-Preps School in Action Morning

for entry into Nursery, Reception and through to Year 6

10am until 12pm

Thursday 6th October