This article is part of the CCA Previews for 2016.
By Jaryl Lim (16S03N), Chairman; Regina Vanda (16S06B), Vice-Chairman; Jack Sun (16S03S), Secretary
What is One Earth? A service CCA? An advocacy group? An organisation with the passion to make a difference? Well, we are all of the above! Not just another CCA, One Earth is the only CCA in Raffles which actively seeks to care for and protect the environment. In addition to providing club members with opportunities for environmental service and advocacy, we also hope to nurture Rafflesians’ interest and passion for environmental issues. In essence, we are a CCA which does environment-related service. This may be slightly confusing, but don’t fret, read on to find out more about our weekly activities and programmes!
Raffles One Earth is all about playing a part in environmental conservation and advocacy, but how exactly does this happen? It all begins in our weekly CCA sessions. Here, the CCA brainstorms about various outings and projects we can carry out together. As a relatively small group of like-minded people, it is much easier to get ideas going. This is where the magic happens; you will feel comfortable speaking up for any environmental concerns you have have kept to yourself all this while. CCA sessions usually involve environmental chit-chat, and frequent short presentations by your CCA mates. These presentations are all centred around what you care about or what you want to suggest; there are absolutely no limits! From endangered species to meditation, the personal to the universal, these presentations encompass a whole range of topics our members are passionate about, keeping each CCA session new and interesting – but most importantly, student-centered. At the same time, they expose our members to a diverse range of knowledge. Nature is after all complex and dynamic. Learning about diverse yet interrelated topics keeps our sense of wonderment alive.
The other major component of One Earth are the Student Initiated Projects (SIPs). Raffles One Earth is one of the few CCAs with the privilege of organising volunteering activities for the school population as part of SIPs. These projects are carried out in groups of 3–5. Other than being able to materialize the environmental change you wish to bring about, the school also recognizes these projects as part of your Raffles Diploma. Examples of such projects include Project Waterworld, an SIP teaching primary school students the importance of water conservation, and Singapore’s Waste Issues, a project that educates students on waste reduction and management. Besides the satisfaction gained from seeing your project come to fruition, an SIP also gives you the chance to experience being an environmentalist, educator, and entrepreneur. Even as you reach out to teach the community the importance of caring for our one Earth, you will learn invaluable skills necessary for advocacy itself. Planning and executing a project can be daunting at the start, but with the right attitude, an open mind and the help of your teammates, a project that brings about real change is definitely within reach. The entire SIP experience can be immensely fun, gratifying and memorable for you, your teammates, and your target group!
If all this advocacy seems too limited or draining for you, you will be glad to know that we take outings very seriously in Raffles One Earth. After all, we cannot speak of loving our Earth if we never go out to breathe its fresh air and look at its rich biodiversity. This is why a day in our CCA can be spent leaving the school altogether to explore Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, Botanic Gardens, Macritchie Reservoir or many other possible places – of course one at a time. Here, we have the space and time to appreciate nature and its beauty and learn about different ecosystems. Also, we have the opportunities to connect with one another’s passions and enjoy one another’s company. We could even have a game of frisbee in the park!
Going beyond outings, there are ample opportunities to get down and dirty in an effort to care for the Earth. As far as they are not acted upon and practiced, advocacy is, in the end, just talk; raising awareness is, eventually, only preaching. By collaborating with external organisation such as Nature Society Singapore, National Youth Council and even World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), you can participate in many activities which directly protect and maintain the quality and sustainability of our Earth through reforestation efforts, coastal cleanups, and fund raising projects.
It doesn’t matter if all you have is a small desire to care for the environment. Nature is us; we are nature. Being part of nature we already fulfill the most important prerequisite and reason for protecting it. So we start with small ideas, simple projects- start with our personal voice. Our CCA thrives on these building blocks – the same blocks that can shape a better world. That is why caring for our one Earth happens every day in the life of a One Earth member.