How Green Can Education Be?
In short, very green. Panyaden, the school where I work, is a truly green school. I am fortunate to be able to teach in a school with a curriculum that allows the students lots of hands-on activities. Also, it’s a beautiful place to be.
The school buildings are gorgeously designed rammed earth and bamboo. There is no air conditioning, and although it’s in the high 90s F (mid-to-high 30s C) throughout the day, the buildings stay cool due to their intelligent design.
I feel like I work in an art installation sometimes. Even though these pictures are lovely, it is so much more impressive in person. Come visit!
Besides the green architecture, I have gotten to do environmental activities with my students. They learned how to plant crops that would thrive in Thailand. The seeds were locally harvested for their food crops by a staff member from her garden.
Students were responsible for watering their own plants and monitoring and measuring their growth.
Since it’s a bit hot down here in Chiang Mai, we took a field trip to an organic strawberry farm up in the Samoeng district. After the windy mountainous road up, tasting the delicious strawberries made it worth the long journey.
Back at school my students were learning about sustainable energy. At Panyaden, we throw our food scraps into a bin. This food waste gets ground up and put in a pressurized tank where it ferments. This somehow turns the food waste into biogas. This was explained in Thai and then my students explained it to me, so some details might be missing.
Learning more about plants, students observed transpiration.
We took another field trip to see a village on a river that uses hydropower for energy.
Throughout Thailand you can see trees wrapped in colorful cloths. Spirits are believed to live in certain trees. Monks wrap the trees in cloth and because of this, according to my students, they can’t be cut down .
Although, all these activities have been fun and interesting, the following one seemed to be a favorite: making a solar oven and cooking in it.
With kids learning and practicing these ways to care for the environment, by growing food and creating alternative energy, it gives me a lot of hope for the future.