Classes Begin

15 Jul

Coming into our second year, one of the main goals of the Iwastology Program was to give our students more responsibility and help them assume leadership roles within the various projects. As such, our Filipino students ran a series of strategic planning sessions in early May that gave birth to a new direction for Iwastology: we are now focusing our energy on two main projects, SINE Kalikasan – an environmental film festival featuring student filmmakers, and the BaZero Project – an effort to reduce the amount of waste produced at the Kasiglahan Village National High School (KVNHS).

Students at KVNHS have assembled into twelve filmmaking teams, each of which is competing for first place in the SINE Kalikasan film festival and the 10,000 peso prize that comes with it. As SINE Kalikasan is scheduled to take place in December, we will be providing a series of training seminars and workshops to prepare the students for their final films.

Check out some action from the first few days of workshops!

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The BaZero Project began with the construction of 15 waste segregation units to filter garbage from compost and recyclable material. Iwastologists at KVNHS spent the past week traveling to first year classrooms in their school to explain the use of these new segregation units, and will begin implementing them in the school in the next few days. As a way to encourage students to think about their waste, classrooms that create the biggest decrease in garbage will be given a certificate of excellence in waste management by the Iwastology student team. Our Iwastology students have negotiated to sell recyclable materials to a local junk shop at a higher price than average, and organic material will be composted and put to use in the school’s vegetable and herb garden.

It’s been a busy two weeks since I arrived, but the enthusiasm and dedication of our students is nothing short of incredible. One of the most amazing shifts I’ve seen in the past year is in people’s reception to the projects our students are engaged in. As the Principal of KVNHS school told our kids a few days ago, “The teachers have become inspired by you. You have taken initiative and now it is us – the adults – that must listen and learn.”

 

-Alex and the Iwastology Team

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Year two of Iwastology

2 Jul

Just one year ago, the Iwastology Project was little more than an idea. Now, thanks to the hard work of our students and teachers, we’re happy to announce that we’re ready to kick off our second year of the program! But first, a recap of what we’ve been able to accomplish together.

Over the past year, our students at Silid Aralan in the Philippines and St. George’s School of Montreal have put together a total of over 14 videos showcasing the environmental challenges facing their communities.

Students have held environmental awareness events that attracted over 1,000 community members. They have built composters out of salvaged materials. They have begun educating their younger peers on the dangers of overconsumption and pollution. But this is only the start.

Tomorrow I leave for the Philippines to embark on the next phase of this project: an environmental film festival. Students and community members have been working on constructing an office building for our young iwastologists that will soon house a small media lab, complete with four iMac computers graciously donated from the St. George’s School of Montreal. This media lab will serve as a community resource hub, allowing community members and students greater access to digital media and information on environmental issues. Together, with the help of our new media lab, we will work to tell the stories of Montalban. The film festival is scheduled for December 2012, and if you’d like to help out in any way please contact john.pritz@mail.mcgill.ca

A sneak peak at the soon-to-be Montalban Media Library!

Student Projects Begin

24 Feb

What a long way we’ve come! From our investigative field trips to local sites of ecological and social importance, to our cross-cultural skype sessions between the Philippines and Montreal, we’ve been learning a lot about each other and ourselves.

Most recently, students at Silid Aralan in the Philippines have been putting their ideas into action through some hands on projects they’ve designed themselves.

For more information, visit our “Project Pages” and see for yourself!

The Solid Waste Group has put together a Green Valentines Day celebration featuring media and artwork from the Silid Aralan Iwastologists, and a school-wide competition for the best sculpture of the legendary BASURA MONSTER made from scrap materials.

The Recycling Group is working on creating salvaged material notebooks to be sold in Montreal and elsewhere.

The Wastewater Group has developed a prototype water filter, and are working on improving this design.

 

Check back soon for updates as the projects progress!

Documenting a Model Dump Site

31 Dec

Having lived near the Payatas dump site, many of our Filipino Iwastologists know firsthand what poor waste management looks like. On the outskirts of Manila, recycling and composting can be hard to come by and trash is often thrown to the side of the street. But what does it look like when things are done differently? Are there places in the Philippines implementing effective waste management strategies?

Earlier this semester Felonina Bernales set out to answer these very questions. Accompanied by Arcie Mallari, Felonina traveled by plane to the Filipino island city of Davao to document the award winning environmental practices of this landfill-turned-ecopark. She filmed the entire trip, and produced the following video to share her findings with her classmates in the Philippines and Montreal. Check it out!

Iwastology at TEDxMcGill

31 Dec

Iwastology co-founder Alex Pritz presented Iwastology to a crowd of over 300 at the annual TEDxMcGill event at Bain Mathieu this year. The day was filled with inspiring and moving talks from a variety of fields, and it was an honor to be included in the speaker lineup. Many thanks go out to the amazing TEDxMcGill organizers and the countless hours of blood, sweat and tears that went into planning this event. Check out the talk!

St. Georges and Silid Aralan Skype and Exchange Ideas!

20 Sep

On Thursday, September 15th, forty plus Montreal high school students wiped the sleep out of their eyes and came attentive and in presence along side their teachers in the St. Georges auditorium. They were getting together at 8am to jump the twelve hour time difference to Montalban, the Philippines, in order to get in touch with their student counterparts on the other side of the world.

Thanks to the technical assistance of the staff and teachers at St. Georges High School, a skype session with the Silid Aralan office was being projected onto a giant screen in the front of the room. There was a nervous anticipation; the students had heard so much about one another, but this was their first meet and greet.

The sound of the skype call bounced around the auditorium. Media was in full force; three cameras fluttered around the room, documenting this anticipated moment as it unfolded. A fourth camera was centered in the middle of the room and brought the visuals of the St. Georges students to the computer screen of the Iwastologists in Montalban.

Suddenly, Arcie Mallari, Founder of Silid Aralan Inc, and collaborator for Iwastology, burst onto the screen with his instantly recognizable smile was front and center, along with many of the Iwastologists. “HEEELLOO!!” The excitement burst forth and the communication jumped off to a warm start.

After greetings and hellos were exchanged, the real collaboration started to unfold. Representatives from the different research groups in Mrs. Watts environmental science class presented, physically between the two groups, at the front and center of everyone’s attention, and  discussed the ideas behind their oncoming projects with stride and confidence.

Groups were working on composting with various techniques and experiments, from worms to various proportions of dead leaf matter and organics. Students were called on to discuss do-it-yourself water filtration systems, and the teachers got involved in the discussion from both sides on figuring out how to test for and produce clean drinking water. Real problems, right down the street or in the adjacent community for the Silid Aralan group, were in the process of facing an earnest challenge from these enthusiastic students. When the Silid Aralan group started asking and receiving answers to questions relating to the projects they themselves were working on, on a very basic level, the idea behind the project started to become realized.

These students will be in contact over the next few months, helping one another progress in their research and projects, providing unique insights and learning opportunities for one another. They will be using the Taking it Global (TIGweb.org) web platform and online classroom to connect the media content of their independent learning processes, to share and learn from. We’re really looking forward to seeing how this relationship unfolds. Stay tuned to Iwastology.org, to twitter (Iwastology), and to Iwastology on facebook for more updates about this promising project.

Ingat po,

Christian Elliott and Alex Pritz

Iwastology Video Introduction

24 Aug

After months of hard work, we’re proud to present a video introduction to the Iwastology Project. Many thanks to Arcie Mallari and the entire Silid Aralan team, our wonderful Iwastology students, the Dalai Lama Fellows, Josh Sternlicht and Malu Maniquis, the folks at the EcoWaste Coalition, and everyone else who helped make this first stage of the project so successful. Enjoy!