Friday, December 4, 2009
I just had my second meeting with Villa and it was a good one. I found out that they have 18 Villas in Thailand and the smallest one is in Nichada Thani. However this Villa alone uses 500,000 bags per year.
They were very impressed by the # of people on Facebook supporting this cause and were encouraged to do more because of it.
They have not committed to charging for plastic bags. Instead, they went with the plan and have agreed to BAN all plastic bags at Villa (in Nichada). As well, they will do the same for Villa (in Phuket). This is a giant leap forward, as only a couple years ago it was hard to get anyone to consider this topic. If these two locations are successful, then naturally they would look to expand this to all 18 stores. They are even thinking of maybe having a battery return station at their stores and are looking to alternatives to foam. So Villa has made their commitment and many parts of the plan are already laid out. They will launch this either late January or sometime in February. They actually had a set date, but I couldn't make it... opps ; )
Where do you come in? This is the MOST IMPORTANT PART. All you need to do is... are you ready for it? You need to SHOP! That's it, however, it is absolutely crucial that we support this. When the day is chosen to launch, we MUST have as many supporters there as possible. We need to put our money where our mouth is. That means showing up and buying your groceries for the week. Show Thailand that going green is actually good for business and is a win-win situation. I plan on getting as much media coverage as possible, so if you have connections let me know. I have some already. This will be a major flop if only 80 people turn up. I am setting a target goal of 1000 people. Hopefully we can get more. If we make this a HUGE success with a HUGE turn out then the rest of Thailand will listen and it will make future projects more possible. Remember Villa is only project 1.
When the date is set I will send out an invitation and hopefully you can commit to it. It should be on a weekend.
Join up on Facebook. Over 900 people joined in 4 days!
Excellent videos also on the Facebook site about this topic
PS - keep spreading the word.
Step 1 - success!
Step 2 - up to you...
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Students learn to recycle by collecting items at home and then earning a little money when we take this trip. They also learn about the neighborhood composting program that is a win-win for farmers and the community. All this is done on an eco friendly solar bus which Nichada kindly provides for us.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Want to see Bangkok go even greener? Keep your eye on Carrotmob. Coming soon.
Friday, November 27, 2009
The HS Green Panthers selected one of their project this year to be trying to stop the sale of bottled water at ISB. We are in the beginning stages, but there is movement happening. There are many concerns and issues with the move, so it is not as simple as it might seem. We would need to supply more fountains around campus, we want to provide every student with a water bottle, and people need to be educated about this issue. These are only some of the main concerns.
We have narrowed it down to two bottles; Vapur, which is the anti-bottle and has some unique characteristics, such as rolling up when empty; and the Water Geek. Both are BPA free and have other qualities we are looking for.
Samples will be here soon. What would you want to use?
I know other schools out there have gotten rid of bottled water. Please send us any information you might have that can help us.
I'm a little late reporting this one, but back in September we took 10 ISB students (5 MS and 5 HS) to the U.N. building to help in a worldwide conference on Climate Change. It was called Seal the Deal and was hosted in Korea, but we were video conferenced in as were others from Brazil, Canada, South Africa, China, and more.
We were 10 amongst 1000's of youths collaboratively working together in real time around the world on a common cause. Together we helped form the proposal for Seal the Deal. This proposal will be taken to the Climate Change meeting in Denmark in December.
The last major meeting on this cause before the Copenhagen talks were held in Bangkok. We were honored to have our very own Green Panther, 'Pammy' selected as guest youth speaker for the United Nations. Congratulations Pammy!
In October we were fortunate enough to have a visit and presentation by Stuart Scott about Climate Change. Stuart has been trained by Al Gore on the subject. He spoke with students from grade 5-12 and also met with the ToK class. Stuart is is Thailand to discuss this topic with as many influenced people as possible. A colleague of mine, Robin Bulsza, also wrote a class blog about this.
I would like to thank Stuart for giving us his time and sending the message of action loud and clear. Recently Stuart has been granted an audience with Pope Benedict. Let's hope something positive can come of it.
To find out more about Stuart and what he is doing go to Interfaith Declaration.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
A while back the Q3 environmental class surveyed students to see how they felt about some possible environmental changes. Most of the results were encouraging, thus we followed up with a survey to the teachers/staff and then the parents. Again most results were encouraging. One of the changes was to switch to recycled/unbleached napkins. However, these napkins are more expensive and we asked people if they would donate money for this cause. More than 140 people said they would donate and I thank you all for your support, however the money is no longer needed. The cafeteria (Epicure) kindly agreed they would pick up the tab on this one since they believe in the cause and want to contribute to the environmental movement at ISB. We are also partnering up with a new business on this. You may have noticed the new smoothie stand at Villa called Twist. Well, their owner is also very aware of environmental issues and will have the same napkins.
It’s great to see other businesses getting on board and actively looking for solutions. Let’s give a big thanks to Cynthia U. from Epicure and Mike R. from Twist for making this happen. For the rest of us, let's make sure we do our part and listen to the message: Be part of the solution; take only what you need.
5 years ago ISB delivered a blue box to every classroom and office to collect waste paper for recycling. This still continues today and although it is good to recycle, it is much better to just use less paper in the first place and then reuse what you can. The library is now taking measures to make this happen.
According to Stephen Lehmann the print/copy numbers at ISB has reduced 5% even though student numbers increased during that time. Mr. Lehmann also states that “Now in the MS/HS library students use their card to make photocopies and the money is deducted from their campus card account. For printing, if it color the student is charged to their card. If is black and white printing there is no charge but there is a monthly limit of 100 copies. When printing color or black and white the student has to go to the printer and release the job.” Doing this ensures the print jobs are always picked up. At the end of the day, any jobs that were printed and were not picked up are canceled.
According to some library staff, the amount of wasted paper before just piled up each day without being picked up and since these new measures have come in, there is little to no waste. Thus, the measures have not stopped students from printing when needed, but has reduced the amount of careless and unnecessary printing. In other words, they have to be more responsible and less wasteful.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Here are the finalists. Which one would you pick?
Thanks to all those who entered the contest and especially Jacob J. and David S. for making the finals.
Friday, May 1, 2009
By Bill Gerritz
Many students, staff and parents have been working to make ISB a more environmentally friendly, greener school. Much of this work has been done by our Green Panthers. Recently, three additional efforts have also achieved success.
#1 --- We have signed a contract to renew the air conditioning and lighting systems in the school. The result will be a reduction in CO2 emissions of 850,000 Kg per year or about 30% of the total amount of CO2 produced at School. In a significant side benefit, the new air conditioners will be very quiet, a big deal for students and staff bothered by our noisy old ones.
The contract represents a four way partnership between ISB, Clinton Climate Initiative, Johnson Control and the Thai Ministry of Energy. The combination of low interest loans from the Ministry and energy savings will give us a payback period of about 7.5 years. All work will be completed by the end of July.
#2 ---Construction of our new Cultural Center proceeds in accordance to plan and we are on course with our target of achieving the LEED Gold Certificate (from the U.S. Green Building Council). Energy models of our building in comparison with standard U.S. buildings confirm that our building will be a minimum of 29% more energy efficient. Needless to say that if our new building was to be compared with standard buildings in Bangkok the saving percentage would be much higher
#3 --- Last year we added about 144 bike parking places as an extension to the main entrance parking. In an attempt to encourage more students, teachers and parents who live in the vicinity of the school to use their bike as a means of transportation, and in order to resolve the congestion in the Elementary bike parking area, we’ll extend the bike parking capacity during the summer with a construction similar to the one done last summer on the other side. Our total bike parking capacity will go from 427 places 2 years ago and 571 places this year to 715 places by the beginning of August 2009.
Friday, April 24, 2009
NOTICE – Departure time has changed to 8:00 am
Depart from ISB 08:00 am
Arrive at beach: 11:00
Lunch at beach: 12:00/12:30
conservation center: 12:30
Tree planting: 14:30
Arrival at ISB: 19:30
We have over 60 people signed up to go. The trip is now closed
What you will need:
- Sun cream and hat
- Clothes to swim and clothes to get wet and dirty.
- 3 pairs of old socks. You cannot wear shoes in the mud because they will come off. Socks are to protect your feet. Trust me on this one, you want the socks!
- Spending money. We will cover the cost of the bus, trees, and equipment, but you will need to cover the cost of food (at a restaurant) and their might be a 30 baht beach charge.
- Reusable water bottle – you will get thirsty.
- Phone (in case we are coming back earlier or later)
Since this in an environmental trip, please keep that in mind and try to reduce your trash as much as possible. We will purposely NOT bring a trash bag. So anything you bring with you will also leave with you (Pack it in – Pack it out!)
Special thanks to HS student Howard Zhang for making this project happen.
Cutting back on plastic bags
BANGKOK: -- On the occasion of Earth Day yesterday, the Natural Resource and Environment Ministry launched a campaign to cut plastic-bag consumption in the country by at least 10 per cent. Currently, Thais dispose of 1,800 tonnes of used plastic bags every day.
"We are focusing on plastic bags because they pose a serious threat to the environment," Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti said. "If plastic-bag consumption is successfully reduced, carbon dioxide emissions will also drop."
Plastic does not compose on its own and with more than 40,000 tonnes of garbage collected every day, transportation to disposal facilities or landfills also gets expensive.
Suwit hopes the public will co-operate in the campaign, which runs until June 5.
"Plastic bags are a part of people's every day life, and they can make a difference right away," Suwit said.
The campaign has won participation from many businesses, including Foodlands, Villa Market, The Mall, Jusco, Siam Makro, Siam Paragon, Siam Centre, Carrefour, 7-Eleven, Robinson and Big C.
Suwit said his ministry was also planning to manufacture bio-plastic bags that can decompose naturally.
"Although bio-plastic bags cost more to produce, the government might introduce tax measures to help," he said, adding that the government was also adopting many measures to reduce global warming.
"We plan to reduce petrol consumption, increase green areas and introduce carbon labels," he said.
-- The Nation 2009-04-23
For 3-4 years now ISB has been improving environmentally by initiating projects to increase environmental awareness and action at school. We have made many little changes that have contributed to the goal. However, there was there was something missing. No matter how many little changes we made the school building itself was still very much an energy hog. That is all about to change. ISB will retrofit the building with energy efficient products. See the letter below that came from the ISB administration. On behalf of the Green Panthers I would like to thank the school for taking this action.
ISB GREEN NEWS:
An Update on Our Efforts to Become a Greener School
1. CHANGE of LIGHTING and AIR-CO Equipment
Last year around this time we formed a partnership with an Energy Saving Company (Johnson Control, JC) and the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) to work together on a possible retrofitting of our buildings. As a first step we conducted an Energy Audit, with the goal of getting a thorough and detailed understanding of our energy consumption and to formulate recommendations for improvement.
After many months spent in reviewing and re-checking the audit results, choosing and testing the applicable products and negotiating contracts and prices, we have finally concluded 2 agreements last week, which will allow us to reduce CO2 emissions by 850,000 Kg per year (this is about 30% of the total amount of CO2 produced at School)
We’ll increase quality of life and comfort. We’ll reduce the negative effects of CO2 on the planet. Last, but not least, we’ll save money in the long run.
With a net investment of about 37 Million Baht, we estimate to save about 5 Million Baht a year. This means that the investment is paid back in about 7.5 years. The majority of the funds for this investment are loaned via a program sponsored by the Thai Ministry of Energy at interest rates substantially lower than market rates.
Except for the units installed during the building renovations of the last 2 years, we’ll replace all of the old, so-called split type units (the ones hanging below the ceilings in the classrooms) with 645 new energy efficient, modern, substantially more quiet , wall mounted units. If you would like to see them in action, please go to the Elementary School (room 113 Scott O’Neill’s Spanish classroom).
We’ll also change all of the 23 large central units (Offices, Chevron Theater, Rajendra Hall, Main Library etc) with new high efficiency units.
As part of the agreement with JC and CCI we will also change the lighting in the Main Library, for the main purpose of increasing the Lux level.
Another Company (Econo-Watd, Thai Energy Conservation Co.) will change all of the lights in the classrooms and corridors from old so-called T8 technology to the new energy efficient T5 technology.
Street lights, sport hall lights, sport field lights will not be changed at this time, since they are still reasonably efficient and the savings from replacement related to the needed investment do not make environmental-financial sense.
TIMING: the change of the lighting will start in a few weeks, while the change of the air-co will be done during the summer. The agreed deadline to have all of the work completed is July 31, 2009, so that we can be fully operational at the beginning of the school year 2009/10.
All of the planning is directed toward an as low as possible disruption of daily learning and working routines.
2. CULTURAL CENTER
The construction proceeds in accordance to plan and we are on course with our target of achieving the LEED Gold Certificate (from the US Green Building Council). Energy models of our building in comparison with standard US buildings confirm that our building is a minimum of 29% more energy efficient. Needless to say that if our new building was to be compared with standard buildings in Bangkok the saving percentage would be much higher.
3. ADDITIONAL BIKE PARKING
Last year we added about 144 bike parking places as an extension to the main entrance parking. This addition, although not crowded, proves that there has been a constant increase of bike use to get to school.
In an attempt to encourage more students, teachers and parents who live in the vicinity of the school to use their bike as means of transportation and in order to resolve the congestion in the Elementary bike parking area, we’ll extend during the summer the bike parking capacity with a construction similar to the one done last summer on the other side.
So our total bike parking capacity will go from 427 places 2 years ago and 571 this year to 715 by the beginning of August 2009.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Well, April 22 is Earth Day all over the world and plenty of people will do something for the planet. However, a lot will happen at ISB this week.
- We have a month long 'Power Down' event to save energy at school.
- April 20-24th we will celebrate Earth Week with several events
- ISB will install a 48 inch, energy efficient flat screen TV in the cafeteria to display photos, videos, and events about ISB students taking action for several global issues, such as poverty, environment, and education for all.
- We are planning a tree planting trip to offset carbon emissions from our school flights. Ok, this is actually on May 2, but you get the point.
- Biggest News... ISB is taking major steps to reduce its energy usage. The school has just announced in will retrofit the building to change to more efficient lights and air con.
This is exciting news and reason to celebrate.
Earth Week is coming! This year we have scaled it back and simplified the activities due to some unforeseen events. However, it will still be interactive and effective. We have prizes to be won from a raffle and the only way to get tickets for the raffle is to participate. Each time you participate you get a ticket, thus, the more you participate, the more you increase your chances of winning.
Events 1-6 will occur each day during Earth Week (April 20-24)
1. Burn Calories; Not Oil
a. Walk, ride bike or take any way to school that does not burn oil.
b. We will have people waiting at all 3 gates. See them to get your ticket.
2. BYOB – Bring Your Own Bottle (water bottle that is).
a. Bring your own reusable water bottle each day. Come to the Green Panthers table set up in the cafeteria. Show us the bottle and get a ticket. Use a Green Panther water bottle and get two tickets.
3. Food For Thought:
a. Eat only vegetarian or organic food each day and get a ticket.
4. Buy a Tree
a. Each tree cost 40 baht. Green Panthers and others will plant trees on May 2nd in a location 3 hours south of Bangkok.
b. Each tree you buy is worth 2 tickets.
c. Sign up to join us too if you want.
5. Prove it to the planet
a. Take our list of things to try at home to help the planet. Prove to us that you did it and get a ticket. List will be on our table in the cafeteria during Earth Week.
b. Maybe you can prove it by taking a picture or video with your phone or camera. Please don’t print. Remember it has to be proof.
6. Super Shopper
a. Show us what you buy. If the products are eco friendly get a ticket. For example;
b. Shampoo that is not tested on animals, pencil made from recycled paper, solar charger for phone, organic products, phosphate free laundry detergent, non-toxic cleaning product; eco friendly paper, bring it all in a reusable eco bag and wear an organic shirt.
Reuse – Items to be donated to charity. (Tuesday, April 21st)
o Look through all that ‘junk’, see what you don’t need that might be more useful to someone else. Donate it to a charity.
o Sections will be set up in front near school drop off point for easy off loading.
§ Sports equipment
o Note – You can actually donate all week, but we will only be there to give tickets on Tuesday.
Recycle – Wednesday April 22nd only (Earth Day).
o Bring in items to recycle. 1 ticket per bundle of items. 10 tickets maximum.
o Recycling bins will be brought to front of school near main office.
§ Plastic bottles (no glass)
§ Aluminum tabs
§ Tetra Pak (Juice boxes). Yes, we are recycling these again.
§ Printer cartridges
§ Cell phones and cell phone batteries
Eco Bag Eco-mmercial
Video about the harmful effects of plastic bags. It should promote using Central eco bags instead of plastic bags.
a. All entries will receive 1 ticket.
b. Winner will receive 5 tickets, plus win 5000 baht gift voucher at Central.
c. Video will play at Central Chaengwattana for 1 month.
d. Contest details required by Central so follow closely:
- Video must be 60 seconds or less.
- Must show Central logo at some point.
- Must promote the Central eco bag. (This bag can also be used as a savings card)
- More details on http://green-panthers.blogspot.com/