There has been much written about climate change in the media in recent days and therefore it was important that the Bishop Druitt College position is added to the conversation.
As many of you know I have a tertiary background in science and theology as well as education and there is a natural crossover between the scientific method and theology. This crossover pertains to reasoned argument and reasoned logic. The scientific argument is as follows. As it currently stands, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change notes that the world is likely to warm by 1.5°C at its current rate by 2030 or soon after. This is mainly due to an increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This increase in CO2 creates both a thermal atmospheric blanket and is also partly absorbed by our oceans.
From a scientific perspective, this increase in CO2 creates an increased frequency of heatwaves, droughts, and flooding. It will also result in the melting of ice sheets and glaciers resulting in a 5 to 10cm increase in sea levels globally. This increase will cause coastal erosion and the loss of arable land as well as a lowering of the ocean pH (increasing acidity). Both of ocean acidity and ocean warming have negative connotations for our coral reefs.
This information is discouraging, to say the least, it is essential that while we think globally we must act locally.
What is Bishop Druitt College doing to care for our planet? The college has replaced all our lighting with LEDs which have a longer life and reduce electricity consumption. In a campus of our size that equates to over 4400 LEDs. The college is in the process of installing a 98kW solar system on the roof of the Branson Centre. This will reduce our consumption by over one third. We are also planning on setting up our shared farm (Farnworth) with solar power when phase two is actioned in the new year. Our college is also working through our Sustainability Committee (a subcommittee of Council) to develop policies and practices to reduce our waste and to focus future purchases using ecologically sustainable materials. The college is also socially active with students and staff involved in our Environmental Group and other environmental initiatives are being planned for the 2020 school year and will be integral to our school improvement plan.
Why is Bishop Druitt College taking action in a practical way? The college sees the ethical and moral imperative that the current generation has in forming part of the ecological solution. From a theological perspective, as an Anglican school, we also have a responsibility to care for each other and for the earth. Ms Greta Thunberg is, as we know, a passionate climate change activists who has captured the world’s attention through her school strikes and her speech at the United Nations. I truly thank Greta and the hundreds of thousands of students (and teachers) worldwide who are taking action on this issue. We need a little controversy to create the environment for change and Greta has opened the discussion to the general public.
At Bishop Druitt College, we applaud Greta’s integrity, courage and her sense of social justice. It should also be noted that these three values are part of our set of college values.