John Hardy on Green and Sustainable Education

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June 24, 2016
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August 6, 2016
JGIS Booth

In July, JGIS members were invited to attend a talk by John Hardy, founder of the groundbreaking environmental school Green School Bali, at the Singapore Management University. Green School Bali is the first of its kind, a school that breaks the mould and instead builds entirely around the principles of sustainability and environmentalism. That love of nature shapes every aspect of the school: instead of roads, buildings and concrete walls, Green School is a cluster of bamboo pavilions nestled between farmland and forests in the heart of Bali. But the school, of course, is more than its campus alone – what truly defines it is its emphasis on students taking ownership of environmental and social causes, and pursuing projects that can have an immediate and palpable impact on animals, environments and communities. The result? A student and alumni body that not only has a dream of a better world, but also the tenacity and drive to make that dream a reality.

It’s no surprise that Dr. Jane holds the Green School in high regard – Mr. Hardy and she both share a passion for and desire to protect the natural world and the underprivileged, as well as an unshakeable conviction in the power of individuals and youth to create change. In 2014, Dr. Jane visited Green School Bali herself and had nothing but praise for the staff and students there—she found, there, a school that might create “leaders of the right sort, to try and move this troubled world into a new phase which we so desperately need.”

Mr. Hardy is featured in this photo, describing the Green School!

Mr Hardy, along with the staff and alumni of his school, spoke at length about their vision for a green and sustainable education. At the end, when asked if his vision had to be boiled down to a single message that we could take away, his answer was twofold: for adults, if what we do every day is not making a better world for our children, what are we really doing? And for children, always ask yourself: where does your food come from? (Or your water, or any of the luxuries we enjoy. To wit – what is the social and environmental cost of our lifestyles, and can we do better?)

And so we came away with fresh insights into Green School Bali and the cornerstones of a green education. In addition, we also had the chance to put on display a booth at the event’s reception, alongside NGOs and nonprofits from Singapore and Indonesia. Of course, we seized the opportunity with gusto! Our helpful staff and interns at the booth helped to showcase Dr. Jane’s scientific work, as well as her social and environmental activism. Also on display were JGIS’s ongoing initiatives, ranging from our Roots and Shoots schools to our upcoming involvement with the Banded Langur population survey. It was a fruitful evening as we attracted interest from school staff, organizations and even members of the general public.

JGIS Volunteers
Our interns hard at work maintaining the JGIS booth! On the right most side you’ll see our most popular exhibit – a miniature replica of Dr. Jane’s tent in Gombe, complete with a Dr. Jane doll!

If you weren’t able to attend the talk and visit our booth, don’t fret! We’ll be having the booth up on display at future events – stay updated through our newsletter, Facebook page or website to find out where we’ll be next!