Eco Committee gathers momentum

two pupils stood next to their sculpture of a living wave to show where discarded plastic ends up

The growing wave of concern about the damage discarded plastic is wreaking on our environment has been captured by Pocklington School’s new Eco Committee in a bold new art installation.

Members of the group, which began this term and is steadily growing in size, wanted a visual representation of the amount of single use plastics we throw away each week and repurposed an old sculpture into a ‘living’ wave to show where too much of the plastic ends up.

Fourth Years Jenni Harrison and Kai Swanborough (pictured opposite) had the idea of asking students to drop off their waste so the sculpture is added to each week, causing the wave to be steadily engulfed with discarded plastic.

The sculpture is one of many campaigns the Eco Committee is planning to help make the school and town more sustainable. They are working with the Woodland Trust and Greener Pocklington to plant a number of trees on a nearby school site to encourage wildlife, as well as introducing more bird and owl boxes across the school.

Kai said: “Myself and Jenni think it’s fantastic opportunity to help make the school and each of the students make a difference. I think this cause is very much worth investing time into, as it's crucial to our earth that we all take steps that are necessary to keep our world greener. I would like to think Project Green will allow us to help make a difference around the school, and make that little less impact on the earth's warming.”

Part of the art installation showing the effect of plastic on the oceanThe Eco Committee was launched by Art teachers Nikki Robertson and Olivia Morris, who have been appointed Environmental Champions for the school. It was initially formed with First and Second Year students but is now attracting growing numbers from Middle School and Sixth Form.

Miss Robertson said: “We wanted to educate students about environmental concerns ourselves, but also empower them, giving them the platform to teach each other, as well as parents and staff. We wanted them to communicate across the year groups, working together to increase awareness and share ideas about how we can improve the way live and work in school.

She added: “We’ve spent the first few weeks of term discussing ways in which the school can reduce its impact on the environment and raising awareness in the school about environmental issues such as climate change and plastic pollution.”

two pupils holding their recreated Greta Thunberg portraits, in the Art and Design Technology Centre at Pocklington SchoolAnother artistic creation is on its way in the coming weeks: a mural influenced by the current climate crisis. Upper Sixth Formers Magnus Swann and Emilia Couttie seen opposite, are creating a portrait of climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg inside an hourglass, underneath a dripping iceberg at the top.

The art installation illustrating a living wave and the effect of plastic pollution on the environmentJenni has also been working independently on her HPQ (Higher Project qualification), focusing on the use of plastic in supermarkets. She wrote to local MP Greg Knight, expressing her concerns about the negative impact supermarkets are having on our environment. She has been researching plastic pollution avidly and is keen to help the school reduce its single use plastic waste too, using some of the advice she received in Mr Knight’s response. 

She said: “I wanted to actually use the information from my HPQ project to do something instead of just for a grade in a project. I’m involved with the Eco Committee because everyone should be doing what they can to help the environment; we shouldn’t just leave it to a few famous people. If we all made one simple change, like not buying plastic bags or refusing plastic straws, we could make a huge change.”

Kai has also designed posters for display around the school, seeking to change our habits for the better. He has been in touch with companies who produce innovative pieces of design such as water bottles and exercise books fabricated from sustainable, recycled materials.

Miss Robertson said: “Jenni and Kai both clearly have a passion for helping create a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable school environment; it has been great to see students working together to make a difference. We hope to see more of our students coming along to our half termly meetings in the Art Department in future - all year groups welcome!”