Having embarked on the green path of creating environmental awareness and working towards it, GIIS students got a boost when they met a young and dynamic environmentalist with the motto 'Stop Talking. Start Planting'. In GIIS, as a part of the GIIS Leadership Lecture Series, Felix Finkbeiner took GIIS students on a journey during which he highlighted the perils faced by humankind due to damage sustained by the earth's fragile ecosystem. Fourteen-year-old Felix runs an initiative called 'Plant for the Planet' and is recognised as one of world's most important environmentalists, having recently achieved the target of planting one million trees in Germany with support from hundreds of volunteers including school children. 'Plant for Planet' is a children's initiative actively campaigning for planting trees to balance the depletion of forests on earth.
GIIS Queenstown Campus Principal, Mr Ramesh Mudgal and Vice Principal Ms Meenakshi Mehta received Felix, a smiling, teenager from Germany, at the campus on 2nd March. Present in the auditorium were more than 500 students from Classes 7 to 12. The programme began with the screening of a film outlining the work undertaken by Felix from age nine, winding through the path where he becomes motivated by Nobel Peace Laureate from Africa, Ms Wangari Mathaai and commences his own tree planting initiative which has grown into a movement today. Taking over after the film, Felix began an enthusiastic interaction with the eager audience, posing different questions as he took them through the work of 'Plant for the Planet'. The presentation carried interesting aspects such as different world maps indicating the landmass, the number of cars in different countries, number of mopeds and motorcycles the world over, even people earning less than $1 a day, the royalties and license fees paid in various countries, country-wise population and finally the amount of carbon dioxide emissions in different countries. The students learnt that 25% of the world's carbon dioxide emission results from transportation such as cars and trucks. He discussed details about the Greenhouse effect with illustrations on Arctic ice melt and glacier ice melt over the years. To involve the students and test their awareness at the same time, Felix weaved his way through the students seeking answers and data related to geography, earth sciences and natural phenomena. The excited students competed to provide accurate answers, scoring a victory of sorts when their responses met with a smiling acknowledgement from Felix. The presentation ended with the Point-Plan of 'Plant-for-the-Planet' as laid out by Felix:
1. Carbon into the museum, downsize carbon dioxide emissions.
2. Poverty into the museum, Climate Justice=Equal Rights.
3. Plant 1,000 billion trees. One Trillion Tree Campaign.
Following the presentation, the students in the auditorium seemed excited about the work needed to be done on all continents to make the earth a sustainable place to live and led by the comperes, the audience took an oath to protect the environment.
Mr Rajiv Vasudeva, Director, GIIS Singapore, congratulated Felix on the comprehensive presentation and his successful connection with peers on a critical issue. On behalf of GIIS, Mr Vasudeva presented a memento to the young leader.
Felix spent some time to answer queries from the GIIS Environment Club members as well. But the best of all was the message he sent out through the presentation and his interaction with students, that children can undertake the responsibility of planting trees and work towards developing a sustainable earth. Through his research and insightful talk, he demonstrated that being aware of the menace caused by pollution, deforestation and misuse of natural resources can go a long way in understanding what needs to be done to make a better earth.
View images of Felix Finkbeiner's presentation at GIIS
View video clip of a Felix Finkbeiner addressing GIIS students