“Directly connecting corporate members with their beneficiaries is an integral part of the process which allows for a deeper understanding of its positive effects. It is important for us to starting thinking long-term if we want to benefit future generations. We can do this by communicating with the generation of today and equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to implement environmental sustainability,” comments Marloes Dijkema, co-founder of environmental NGO Green Beings.
Hence they partnered with Signature of Hope Trust and Carrick Financial Services to implement and inspire long-term greening projects at two Gauteng primary schools. The CSI event facilitated the creation of a compost structure and a much-needed classroom revamp. This was part of a larger initiative by Green Beings who foster a culture of sustainability amongh under-developed communities and schools.
Composting is a great example of how nature recycles organic matter. The rich and fertile soil which it produces is a key starting ingredient to creating a vegetable garden that is high in yield and nutritious in value.
“By creating a fixed structure it becomes easier and easier for micro and macro organisms to break down plant materials, kick-starting the decomposing process,” explains Green Beings co-founder Roxy Lourens. “Vegetable scraps and plant materials break down anaerobically when sent to land- fills, which in turn releases large quantities of methane gas into the atmosphere. This drives climate change and all the negative effects that come with it. With composting these are broken down aerobically instead, allowing schools to limit their carbon footprint, save on ever shrinking land-fill space and produce enriched soil. More importantly it empowers them to take responsibility for their immediate environment and ultimately their planet.”
Compost to enrich food gardens
All schools situated within the developing community of Cosmo City run vegetable gardens which supplement the feeding scheme. Compost generated from the structures is used to enrich the gardens which are an economical and natural source of food. Further to this direct benefit, the structures serve as a valuable learning tool, giving teachers the opportunity to show learners, in a very practical way, the importance of compost and how they can apply the process at home as well.
The schools selected for this initiative are all non-fee-paying and rely on outside assistance and initiatives like these to sustain an environment which is conducive to positive growth and effective education. Classrooms can deteriorate quickly due to lack of funding and the refurbishment is essential in creating a sense of pride among both learners and teachers. It has been proven that, children absorb more information when their learning environment is bright, colourful and more interactive, thus the classroom revamp is integral for learner development.
“It’s great to see corporate employees and foundation members getting involved and playing their very important role in creating a community that is active and understands the value of looking after our environment,” remarks Dijkema.
“It was a great day where the whole office worked together as a team, thoroughly enjoyed doing something positive and being out of the office environment, “remarks Boyd.