All things environmental

Musings about the environment and all it touches, from education to city planning

SWAG: High school students who care

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Last week I visited RE Mountain Secondary School in Langley, for the Langley Green Teams Conference.  This was an event organised by high school students.  Andrew Frank, a fellow instructor at Kwantlen, had been invited and asked me to join him.

I was really quite fun to be there – you can’t beat the charge you get from a bunch of smart, enthusiastic students. 

Andrew and I were asked to speak: how we became “environmentalists” (whatever that may mean to a young mind) and why we felt it mattered.  I’m not sure who inspired who the most, between us, these students, and some of their teachers – what a devoted bunch!  

It was also neat to hear how Andrew got connected with First Nations fighting against the oil industry ’s plans, and we he learned from that experience (which is still on-going).  Andrew recently produced an award-winning video that juxtaposes footage of the Exxon Valdez with Simon & Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence to wonderful effectiveness – if you haven’t seen it yet, here it is – a real treat.

The group who hosting us is called Students Working in Alliance for Green International Society (SWAG).  This is an initiative born out of the 2012 International Baccalaureate World Student Conference at UBC.  This led to the RE Mountain group to organise a conference for other high scholl green teams across langley, the very first intiative of its kind.  They also started a school composting program, Earth Week activities, and a classroom garden system.

But one thing that really made an impression was a video that was created to address negative and cynical attitudes towards the environment in school kids.  It is remarkable effective, using a backwards-forwards video technique.  Take a look here:

That’s a really cool group, at any rate, and I’ll be exploring ways to see if our own Kwantlen student environmental groups, S.A.F.E. and Kwantlen Students for Sustainability, may be able to partner with them somehow. 

SWAG can be contacted at

SWAG students at Earth Week

SWAG students at Earth Week


Written by enviropaul

November 24, 2013 at 12:57 pm

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