- Educators at VIS are holding themselves accountable
- The curriculum at VIS includes sustainability at every level in every grade
- The UN’s SDGs are the basis for the students’ conscious mindset
- VIS wants to encourage the rest of Vienna to take action too
- Find out your carbon footprint by taking the quiz at the end of the article
Wherever you look, there are eco labels and campaigns promoting environmental preservation. But how much of it is a sincere effort to enact long-lasting, meaningful change that goes beyond marketing? As the city’s first eco school, Vienna International School (VIS) is addressing the root of the problem and planting the seeds for a more conscious generation.
“If we really want to save the planet, we need to step outside our comfort zones and examine our own roles in the state of our environment,” says Marti Hendrichs, Eco School Coordinator at VIS. “We have long ignored these problems and need to hold ourselves accountable now. Our children need the tools to protect the planet when it’s their turn and we are the ones who have to teach them.” This sense of accountability has helped educators at VIS to examine their curriculum in a critical way, making a priority of equipping their 1,400 students with the skills to be mindful of different global problems and actively contribute toward solving them.
Since 2017, when VIS was first nominated as an international eco school by the Foundation for Environmental Education, they have made notable progress in decreasing paper usage, reducing energy and water consumption, planting trees and scaling down overseas travel to lessen their carbon footprint. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a cornerstone of the students’ education, implemented at all grade levels in age-appropriate ways. “We’re teaching students to become active participants in their communities. The SDGs help them understand various issues around the world, comprehend the unique challenges facing different communities and figure out how they can contribute to making the world a better place,” says Lisa Biasillo, Director at VIS.
The students’ environmental awareness is a cornerstone of their artworks as well. “It’s incredible to see how global issues are reflected in their art. They understand the matter on such a deep level and their interpretations of it are truly eye-opening,” says Ms. Hendrichs of her students’ artistic creations (see below).
The next step in the school’s journey to promote change and support young generations in becoming responsible global citizens is their participation in the Trash Hack Campaign, an initiative by UNESCO and the Foundation for Environmental Education. Though VIS is proud to be Vienna’s first eco school, they hope that others will follow, encouraged by their efforts to examine their own behavior and take meaningful action, too. The fate of our future lies in all our hands – and we can save the planet if we do it together.
Are you living an eco friendly lifestyle? Take the quiz below and find out!
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