Students hold virtual masterclass sessions on sustainable development | Aga Khan Academies

Students hold virtual masterclass sessions on sustainable development

27 January 2021

Student-led creativity, activity, service (CAS) group iSEAyou has been holding virtual masterclass sessions with the aim to promote ecological and economic sustainable development. The sessions, which also included global environmentalists, entailed discussions on various environmental issues such as climate change and possible solutions to address them for the betterment of the planet. Diploma Programme 2 student Cinzia Torriani tells us more about the masterclass.

iSEAyou is a creativity, activity, service group that was started with the aim to promote ecological and economic sustainable development. Irrespective of the distance between us, and our inability to meet in person, our group has strived to adapt to online learning and take advantage of the situation we are in. Through the course of the semester iSEAyou began to release environmentalist challenges to both the Junior and Senior School – prompting students to recycle and reuse old materials in their households and create useful products. During our meetings, we established our newest ‘Black Soldier Fly’ project and built a prototype on campus during the October break – one we are very excited to share in the future if successful. Our weekly meetings have consisted of interesting discussions on the topics of sustainability, development and different objectives that are being worked towards in our world today. Most recently, we have taken upon a goal to meet with leaders who can inspire and motivate our students in becoming more aware and involved in our purpose.   

On 4 November 2020, the group was happily introduced to Ms. Sally Barr, a New-York based environmentalist, for her Masterclass presentation “Now and Our Future.” The session revolved around topics of climate change and its anthropogenic causes, different environmental treaties that have been previously created and continue to grow, an overview of the intergovernmental panel on climate change, the effects of biodiversity loss, and more. The presentation not only encompassed the effects of these issues, but also the positive actions that have been taken towards resolving these problems. The group examined the advantages of renewable energy sources, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the Kenya Plastic ban and US trade deals, water pollution in our Mombasa waters, along with a dive into the new technologies that have been generated in an aim to tackle causes of climate change and aid against pollution. In showcasing these global issues as matters that concern not only one country, but our own surroundings as well, our students keenly understood the essence of environmentalist initiatives and affirmed their goal to be a changemaker in society.

The detailed and insightful conversations we shared as a group paved a path for great learning and highlighted upon the cyclical nature of our environment’s issues. The intense debates were accompanied with friendly moments of laughter – one of the attendees’ most enticing topic being the influence of the current COVID-19 pandemic on the environment and what we can do as individuals to help in our own context. In having opened the presentation to the Academy, we were joined by several other students from outside the group; some of whom we later welcomed into our team! Our members in iSEAyou have been grateful for this fascinating learning experience, and the ways in which it demonstrated that the struggles of distance learning can be overcome with effort and dedication to work and gain opportunities, making the most of any case scenario. Furthermore, we look forward to working with more environmentalists, gaining their perspectives on these topics, and pushing ahead with the objectives at the core of our group.