Small steps to sustainability

Students live in a world where changes in climate, population pressures and globalisation are reconfiguring the relationship between people and the planet. Devastating events such as the bushfires that raged across Australia in January 2020 are fresh in the minds of students and staff alike, and have prompted renewed enthusiasm for managing environmental issues within the School community.

As providers of a broad, liberal education grounded in the Grammar tradition, Brisbane Girls Grammar School not only seeks to provide girls with outstanding personal learning, but prepare them to become active, capable members of civic society.

Through critical reflection, educational discussions and student-facilitated in-school action, staff and students at Girls Grammar have engaged in dialogue about aspects relevant to environmental sustainability, such as authority, conflicting perspectives, truth and assumptions.

In 2020, GECO and BGGS representatives in the Brisbane City Council Student Environmental Leadership Network have led initiatives focusing on increasing awareness of students’ interaction with the environment. In Term 3, bins across the campus were fitted with new information about separating rubbish correctly into recyclable, food waste, and Containers for Change bins. The group also led an Art Competition, challenging students to create an artwork inspired by the theme ‘Environment’.

Over the past few years, Service groups and smaller groups of passionate students have supported staff initiatives, and championed their own activities to implement more sustainable practices. Just a few of these initiatives are listed below.

  • Over the past two years, Grammar Environmental Conservation Organisation (GECO) worked to reduce BGGS’ contribution to landfill, through promotion of sustainable waste practices and encouraging students to do their part
  • 70 new bins for co-mingled recycling were introduced
  • Organic waste was collected by the School’s caterers, and distributed to two worm farms onsite, with surplus waste sent to an organic farm
  • Soft plastics recycling was introduced in 2019
  • A coffee-cup recycling initiative was introduced at the School café
  • Two students annually represent the School in the Brisbane City Council Student Environmental Leadership Network (SELN)
  • SELN representatives, in conjunction with GECO, introduced ‘Containers for Change’, a program that allows containers to be recycled
  • Proceeds from Containers for Change were used to maintain and split the School’s native beehive
  • On School Blue Day celebrations, only recyclable or reusable items were used to adorn the School
  • The Year 12 2019 cohort created engraved reusable metal straws as fundraisers
  • The School committed to installing solar panels on the McCrae Grassie Sports Centre, following installations on the Cherrell Hirst Creative Learning Centre, and at Rangakarra Recreational and Environmental Education Centre (Rangakarra)
  • All utensils used on Open Day 2019 were biodegradable
  • The Grammar Goes Green group planted new garden beds and maintained previous rehabilitative planting at Rangakarra.

Students in GECO affix new stickers to the School’s recycling bins

Simran Mackrani (10H), winner of the GECO Art Competition

Jessica McLeod (Head Girl, 2019) and Gia Cayas (12G) at a Grammar Goes Green event