Firing Up Students’ Passion for Sustainability

Firing Up Students’ Passion for Sustainability

Since late last year, our student-led sustainability audit partner Metanoia have been busy working behind the scenes to collate data given to them by our school and via online in-depth stakeholder interviews. But this February, we were thrilled to welcome them to our campus for their first in-person visit.

Our partnership with Metanoia is part of our school’s goal to become more sustainable. Conducted over the course of about one year, the audit will help us understand our impact on the environment and the steps needed to reduce our burden on the planet. More information about this process can be found here.

“The audit has been led a lot by our lead teachers who’ve been fantastic, and through this process we’ll have lots of student involved in analyzing all elements of our school’s operations, our curriculum and all the things that we do,” said Stephen Taylor, Director of Innovation in Learning and Teaching.

During Metanoia’s one-week visit, the Metanoia team and student volunteers were seen hovering around food waste bins, closely watching students and staff as they emptied their plates after mealtimes, writing things down on clipboards, weighing rubbish bags and speaking with different service providers. Very quickly it became clear that the focus on the food bins was related to the food waste component of the audit.

Through a series of workshops with student groups from all sections, some preliminary findings about WAB’s food waste were shared, sparking excitement and enthusiasm among students to identify opportunities for improvement.

“Something that surprised me was looking at students notice why we're there, what are we doing? What are we counting? What are we observing? And that’s already triggering a change. They're making sure to put their food waste in the right bin, and also making an effort to reduce food waste,” said Grade 10 student Jeremy, who is a sustainability steering committee student rep.

WAB Sustainability Lead Marta Smith echoed these sentiments:

“During the food waste audit, students were so energized to collect data and to educate others on how to manage their food waste. The conversations that students have since had over food waste have been really powerful in creating awareness and avenues for change. They want to see their food waste reduced and have really creative ideas to put this in action.”

Also during this week, the sustainability lead teachers and students were invited to take part in a river walk with Terry Townshend, a passionate conservationist and founder of Birding Beijing. The walk was a great opportunity to learn more about the rich biodiversity and fragile ecosystems near our school. It also prompted thinking about what we can do to channel the momentum around sustainability into protecting the ecosystem around the school. Since then, WAB students from all school sections have signed the Pledge for Nature, which seeks to protect the biodiversity and nature in the school through a series of tangible actions including rewilding parts of the campus.

“It’s been inspiring to see so many SDG actions supported by all parts of our community and seeing our campus taking environmental sustainability so seriously. It’s already evident that our work will go beyond the walls and gates of the school and into the communities in which we live and work through connections with experts in their various fields and through the many outdoor learning activities. I believe our actions in the school will make impacts long after our alumni have left WAB,” said Pim Arora, WAB High School Sustainability Lead Teacher. 

Keep following our News stories and social media for future updates about how this meaningful initiative progresses.


  • Sustainability
  • Whole School