AT TAYLOR'S: Claire Heap (heap.c@nexus.edu.my)
PROJECT PARTNER: Eco-Schools (contactus@wwf.org.my)
Nexus International School Malaysia is fortunately located in Putrajaya, one of the most environmentally-friendly and eco-sensitive regions of greater Kuala Lumpur. Blessed with an abundance of green space and guided by urban planning and development that celebrates the diversity of Malaysia, Putrajaya has no shortage of wide open spaces, beautiful gardens, and expansive riverscapes. However, while justifiably proud of the natural beauty of the administrative centre of Malaysia, care must be taken to ensure that future generations manage and nurture a respect for the environment. Nexus International School recognizes its responsibility to its students in this regard, and has partnered with Eco-Schools to protect the environment and teach children about its importance.

An international programme of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), Eco-Schools aims to empower students to be the change our sustainable world needs, by engaging them in fun, action-oriented learning.  Each school follows a seven step change process that empowers young people to engage in environmentally friendly processes and actions wherever they can.  Over time and through commitment to the process, improvements will be seen in the learning outcomes, attitude and behavior of students that will affect the local community and ultimately the local environment.
With the emphasis placed on a democratic and participatory approach, the programme encourages children and youth to take an active role in how their school can be run for the benefit of the environment, highlighting the importance of social values.Evidence of success in these areas will eventually lead to a school being awarded the environmental ‘Green Flag’.  The first step, which is to create an Eco-Schools Green Council, has already happened at Nexus International School Malaysia, with Year 12 student leader Syahirah Isham as Head. The second step is reviewing or assessing the environmental impact of the school. This includes: litter, waste minimization, school grounds, biodiversity, energy, water, transport, health and well-being and sustaining our world.

The Green Council’s aim in the coming term is to tackle the school’s litter which includes ensuring easy access to recycling bins and educating the students about the importance of recycling and not wasting. Meanwhile, the Committee was given the opportunity to have a green space near the school entrance where a mural relating to the Green Council’s aims will be painted by the students. Once these internal goals have been met, the Committee aims to reach out into the surrounding community for greater social impact.

Ms. Isham notes, “Local authorities, organizations and businesses have expertise in many areas of environmental management and may be willing to cooperate in the Eco-Schools initiative. The result will be a more connected community. Through a democratic process pupils can take control of their own environment, learning and making decisions about how to improve both their home and their school environment.” Actions taken through the programme may lead to savings in the school's energy bills and water consumption. Reducing waste and collecting materials for recycling can help raise money for the school. Schools can link with other Eco-Schools in their own country and other countries. These links not only provide an opportunity for schools to share environmental information but can also be used as a means for cultural exchange and improving language skills. More information can be found at the Eco School’s website, or by contacting Claire Heap at Nexus at heap.c@nexus.edu.my

Written by Stephen Wise