In 2015 Pope Francis wrote a letter addressed to every person on the planet, asking us all to protect the earth.
Laudato Si’ is an encyclical written by Pope Francis, it was published on the 18 June 2015. Encyclicals are open letters written by the pope.
Laudato Si’ discusses the damage being inflicted on the Earth by humans and calls on ‘every person living on this planet’ to make urgent changes to our lifestyles and how we consume energy in order to protect the planet.
It deals with many environmental issues including:
- climate change
- loss of biodiversity
- Decline in the quality of human life.
In his letter Pope Francis implores us to work together to create a better world for future generations and asks us to make the necessary changes in our lives in order to take care of, respect and value our ‘common home’.
Pope Francis makes it clear that his letter is to be appreciated as an addition to the church’s Catholic Social Teaching. He tells us: “It is my hope that this Encyclical Letter, which is now added to the body of the Church’s social teaching, can help us to acknowledge the appeal, immensity and urgency of the challenge we face.”
At St Ursula’s we have taken part in a number of campaigns and initiatives to support Pope Francis request to create a better world for future generations.
2022-23: Litter Picking with the Harold Hill Wombles
St Ursula’s pupils and the Harold Hill Wombles joined forces to litter pick at Harold’s Woodland, Straight Road. Our pupils are passionate about caring for the environment and this simple act will go a long way to support the local wildlife. Keep Britain Tidy kindly loaned the school litter picker sticks to aid our staff and children and they had great fun using them. It was eye opening to see what had been thrown in the woodlands and our children came away even more determined to ensure everyone knows the importance of throwing their rubbish away correctly and recycling. The woodlands is a great learning resource for the school, so keeping it litter free ensures it is clear for our pupils to use.
2022-23: 'Love Food Hate Waste' Campaign with Keep Britain Tidy
A proportion of waste food will end up in a landfill site, where it rots and releases methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. If we stopped throwing this good food away it would save the equivalent of at least 36 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
UK households throw away seven million tonnes of food and drink every year, the majority of which could have been eaten. Food waste is typically one of the largest components of household waste.
At St Ursula’s we worked with Keep Britain Tidy with their ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ campaign. During this initiative our Super Scientists calculated the food waste at St Ursula’s and identified how to decrease this through awareness and change of menu. This year we have planned for a chef to visit in our school to teach some of our families how to cook meals from left-overs.
2022-23: St Ursula's Junior Traffic Abassadors 'Changing your Journey, change our school!' poster campaign
Last year our JTAs launched our ‘Change your journey, change our school!’ poster campaign. They asked their peers to create a poster explaining one or more ways that active travel can help our school. The posters created focused on pollution and climate change and have been used in our school newsletters and put up around the school. We hope that this poster campaign will encourage more people to use active travel at St Ursula’s!
2021-Current: The Crowning of Mary plant donations
Each Year we celebrate The Crowning of Mary. We used to ask our community to bring in cut flowers to decorate our willow dome as part of the celebration. After a few years we realised that this was not a sustainable choice. On top of pollutants and water use, flowers can generate serious carbon emissions because of refrigeration and long-haul transport. Therefore, we now ask parents to bring in plants so that we can plant them and support the wildlife in our school, particularly bees and other insects.
2019-Current: Nearly New Clothes Shop
A staggering 10,000 items of clothing in the UK is being sent to landfill every five minutes. It’s not just the impact on landfill that’s an issue. It’s also the amount of raw materials used to produce the items that are going to waste too. Gallons of water are needed to make clothes. At St Ursula’s we are tackling this by having a ‘Nearly New Clothes Shop’ where parents can purchase donated school uniform, ensuring that as a school we are recycling and stopping perfectly good uniform being dumped in landfill sites. The shop opens throughout the year and parents, can put orders in via the school email (a very own click and collect!) During the Summer Fete we sold almost every item!
St Ursula’s Catholic Primary school organised a clothes & shoe collection with Bag2School in order to divert unwanted textiles away from landfill. In addition this raised funds for our school.
2018-2019: Keep Britain Tidy Workshops
2018-2019: Spreading the Word
Our Super-Scientists were proactive and made others take action to help save our planet. They led a creative and thought-provoking workshop at Manor Junior School that has spread the message to other boroughs.
2018-19: Straight Road Spring Clean
Pupils of St Ursula’s decided to take action following an increase of littering in the local community. Our pupils took part in litter picking along Straight Road and Hilldene Avenue. Members of the local community thanked our pupils for their wonderful work.
2018-2019: Single Use Plastic #OneLessBTL Campaign
By joining the #OneLessBTL campaign we made a serious pledge to reduce our use of plastic .Since September 2018 the pupils have taken part in a number of projects, including creating posters about protecting the environment to be displayed in local shops, litter picks in Harold Hill and letter writing to KFC and Capri Sun asking them to reduce their use of straws.
We were in the local newspaper!
2017-2018: Big Pedal
Big Pedal is an annual cycle-to-school competition where we encourage our children to find a healthier way to travel to school. The JTAs visit each classroom and taking down the numbers of children that have either journeyed to school by bike or scooter. The totals are then recorded and prizes awarded to pupils who have chosen a healthier alternative. As part of this, we hosted a ‘Bling Your Bike’ competition. It was encouraging to see that so many of our pupils bring their bikes and scooters along and try to choose a different way to travel to school.
2017-Current: Miles the Mole Pollution Workshop
Each year our pupils take part in the Miles the mole pollution workshop. It deals with the issue of how poor air quality has a negative impact on health; what we can do to improve the quality of the air locally, and how we can reduce their exposure to it through some simple preventative steps.
2015-16: Planting Tree Saplings
Pupils planted tree saplings on the school field to support the local wildlife. The saplings were planted by a group of students and Mr Ashburn, to support the biodiversity of the school grounds, encourage pupils to work with nature and for them be more nature friendly. The children hope that the trees provide not only shade but new habitats for the local wildlife. The children had to dig the 30 holes, fill them with soil and then plant the saplings. The children who took part are now responsible for the care of the trees and regularly prune and water them.