Turkish Schoolkids Teach, Learn About the Earth

school girls cut hair for planet photo
A hair cut to help the planet. Photo via Gazeteport

Early this year, approximately 60 Turkish schoolgirls at Mehmet Aslantürk Elementary School in the Black Sea region near Trabzon decided to get their hair cut. Not for school photos or graduation, but to draw attention to the problems of global warming and water scarcity. The girls had permission from their families to adopt the shorter styles, which will require less time and resources to wash and blow-dry [link in Turkish]. "I am saving water, electricity and shampoo," student İrem Yıldız was quoted as saying by local papers. "Our hair is shorter, but we extend our planet's life."Although the environment is hardly a mainstream concern in Turkey today, eco-issues may have a higher priority for future generations, thanks to efforts by individuals, NGOs, and government agencies to incorporate them into school curricula and activities. Teenagers at Istanbul vocational schools recently participated in a entrepreneurial contest cosponsored by the British Council and organized around the theme "We’re running out of resources on our mother Earth. We need you to stop this for a better future. Develop a project in your field to turn waste into a contribution." Meanwhile, Turkish primary school students in the western cities of Edirne and Bursa showed off art they made out of packaging materials.

kids art sculptures recycled materials photo
Recycled art by students in Edirne (left) and Bursa (right). Photos via Today's Zaman and Kenthaber.com

Perhaps the most comprehensive educational effort is the "Green School" campaign recently launched by Greenpeace at the private Beşiktaş Jimnastik Kulübü İlköğretim Okulu in the Levent district of Istanbul. The elementary school students participating in the pilot program will explore six different aspects of environmental issues over six weeks, most linked to a concrete change that will be made by the school, and each identified by a different color of the rainbow:

  • Yellow: While kids learn about recycling, the school will start using recycled paper and recycling its waste.
  • Purple: The school will switch to organic, eco-friendly cleaning products and teach kids about chemical dangers.
  • Green: Students will be encouraged to turn off lights and reduce water consumption, at school and at home. The school will install a solar panel and energy-saving equipment.
  • Red: Children will enjoy healthy, organic snacks while studying nutrition.
  • Orange: In the "raising awareness" week, kids will make posters and organize projects and performances to educate other students about environmental issues.
  • Blue: Workshops will be held to educate children about violence.

OK, that last one, while important, doesn't quite seem to fit with the theme. But how sweet is this? "Participating student 11-year-old Ozgu Yılmaz said she was looking forward to seeing a rainbow at the end of the project because that would mean her school is environmentally friendly." Via: "A Green School for greener future," Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review
More about green schools and education:
How To Go Green: School Teachers
Teen Climate Champ Warms Schools to Solar Power
Global Green Cuts the (Green) Ribbon on Eco-Friendly School
CBS and EcoZone Launch Green Schools Initiative - and the Future of Green Advertising?
The Go Green Initiative's School of the Week: Groton Central School in Groton, NY!
Green School Fundraising with Carbon Offsets
School District Eyes Four Day School Week in Bid to Cut Energy Costs
Growkids Means Smart Green Fundraising for Schools
The Go Green Initiative Making A Difference In A School Near You
British Schools Must Go Green
Pennsylvania Builds Green Schools

Tags: Education | Greenpeace | Recycling | Turkey


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