St. Mary’s has an exciting programme of environmental studies for Forms 5 - 8. Pupils learn about the major environmental issues facing the world today along with some of the innovations that aim to prevent further disorder in global systems.
In Forms 5 and 6, we focus on the ecological damage being caused by modern human practices, from the ever present climate change to soil health, deforestation, plastics pollution, food security and energy production. Pupils study global environmental systems, how they are being disrupted and the types of sustainable practices that we all need to adopt to ameliorate these disruptions.
In Forms 7 and 8, pupils work through a more human-centric programme, focusing broadly on ‘How Scotland Works’, gaining an insight into the major man-made systems that sustain us: water, waste water, electricity, waste management, food, farming and our political system. We also look at the importance of personal agency and the development of a sustainable mind-set. Finally, we aim to broaden our outlook towards the wider world through a study of the UN’s sustainability development goals, with a particular focus on climate justice.
As a whole school community, we are working towards a target of being carbon neutral by 2030, with the help of UK organisations like ‘Let’s Go Zero’ and ‘Keep Scotland Beautiful’ . We have also forged linked with local groups such as Sustainable Selkirk and A Greener Melrose. Our Eco Committee helped to galvanise the St. Mary’s community into action, keeping everyone up-to-date with exciting initiatives and driving forward a whole school audit that informs developments in our sustainability policy.
The themes underpinning our work in environmental science are empowerment, hope and the importance of community. There are some very serious issues facing humanity and the need for governments to act is urgent. That knowledge can leave us feeling overwhelmed and helpless. We all have our part to play and we aim to enthuse our children and instil a sense of duty and positivity towards the impact they can have upon the planet.