FOBISIA Student Environmental Conference March 2017
On the 23rd March 2017 sixty two students and 12 teachers met up for the FOBISIA Student Environmental Conference in Kathmandu, Nepal. The main focus of the conference was sustainable living in a fragile environment so what better way to start than by a lecture from Good Earth Nepal. Good Earth Nepal has been a leading force in Nepal since the devastating earthquake in 2015 to provide training for both volunteers and Nepalis in how to build earthquake proof buildings from locally accessible materials. The pupils had a chance to learn the theory behind the construction process before their practical building workshop. Due to the location of the lecture they were also able to see some of the earthquake damage first hand.
After the lecture the group was transported up onto the ridge overlooking the Kathmandu Valley, their new camp for the next two nights. To gain an idea of what rapid, unplanned urbanisation looks like the group trekked along the ridge to see the impacts urban sprawl is having on Kathmandu. Water shortages, electricity issues, air pollution and poor waste management are the realities of a lack of urban planning (and a good discussion point for future problem solving). As they returned to camp Dr. Prakash Bhave, a local air quality specialist, set up for his evening lecture on the realities of air pollution, not only in Kathmandu but from all of the visiting schools' countries.
After a good night sleep in their tents and a hearty breakfast the students took part in a carousel of activities including: designing sustainable smoke free stoves for villagers, making solar water bottle lights, creating plastic bottle air conditioning units and learning how to build earthquake proof buildings. The structures that the students built impressed the Forestry Commission and so will now be left as a permanent feature for visitors to enjoy!
The final day involved a visit to ICIMOD (International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development). As well as a tour of all of the projects that ICIMOD is working on with Himalayan communities the schools involved presented sustainable development projects from their home countries. Topics ranged from the importance of gender equality for sustainable development to cloud seeding in Thailand. A panel of local experts then gave their feedback and the winners (Seoul Foreign School) being presented with the 'FOBISIA Sustainable Development Presentation' trophy.
Thank you to The British School Kathmandu for hosting this event and for the following schools for their participation:
Seoul Foreign School
International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development