Funday Times - Girl Guides

Girl Guides introduce environmental star-rating for schools

At a press conference held recently at the Ceylon Continental Hotel, the Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association announced that a compulsory environmental star-rating would be introduced for all government and private schools in Sri Lanka with the approval of the Ministry of Education. This initiative by the Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association is yet another key step in their endeavour to raise awareness amongst all school-going children of the impact and consequences of global warming and encourage the next generation to take responsibility for the environment.

This project commenced in early October in schools in the Colombo District. This will be extended to other schools in the various provinces in phases. A series of workshops and seminars will be held across the country to educate school principals, teachers, and students on this programme.

The primary objective of the workshops will be to build awareness and educate students on the actions to be taken to reduce energy consumption. These will consist of switching to energy-saving light bulbs, switching off computers, other electronic equipment, fans, and lights when leaving the room, and
similar tasks.

At the1st workshop held on September 26, 2008 which marked the start of the Association's Environmental Star-Rating Project.

Richardson, a reputed organization, specializing in the distribution of energy-saving light bulbs, are supporting this initiative by sponsoring the workshops to be held across the country. As a member of the Board of Directors of Richardson stated, “A quality CFL bulb which is manufactured in compliance with international quality standards will make all the difference in 'saving for the future' and this is what our product is all about."

Other key areas focused on would be conservation of water, increasing of tree growth, and recycling. Some of the actions to be carried out under the conservation of water will include using a watering can in the school garden instead of a hose and rain water harvesting. Recycling efforts will include using both sides of paper, buying of items that can be re-used rather than disposables, re-using and repairing of items such as classroom furniture instead of buying new ones, and using recycling bins.

For a school to achieve a 5-star environmental rating, all of the actions detailed above must be
regularly undertaken within the school. An environmental rating of 4 stars, 3 stars, 2 stars, and 1 star can be achieved if 80%, 60%, 40%, and 20% respectively of the listed tasks are being carried out.

An independent inspection panel made up of Commissioners of the Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association and officials of the Ministry of Education will monitor and review the actions taken by each school prior to assigning a rating.

The Chief Commissioner of the Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association, Miss Kanthi Fernando, commenting on this project stated that "… being an Association that empowers girls and young women, we too have responsibility towards addressing and being involved with global issues of this nature which threaten the very existence of the core of society that we represent."

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