Our school is located in the north of the city of São José dos Campos, São Paulo, Brazil and serves approximately 300 high school students full time.
Students come from outlying areas, with numerous experiences and realities and it is a challenge to change the consumption habits that directly impact on the resources of the planet. To combat waste and take care of the planet's resources is a matter of survival and it depends on the decision and action of each individual the community and society. Only with determination, participation and courage we may build different learning situations that sensitize students to change attitudes to combat the food waste.
It needs to turn the school into a sustainable space through attitudes towards the conservation of resources, enabling students to be engagement with environmental issues, experiencing values such as autonomy, ethics and respect for the various forms of life.
The project to combat waste takes place through a set of actions that work with Environmental Education as an integrated, continuous, permanent and cross practice. The actions are distributed through the theory and practice, a union of skills developed from the experience of the 4 Pillars of Education: learning to be, learning to live together, learning to do and learning to know.
The field class at Santana´s trade fair was essential and was presented as a tool to achieve the objectives proposed in the lectures, and through this it was possible to identify people's relationship with food consumption.
The volume of food sold in the Santana trade fair that goes to trash is small because of the tactic adopted by many merchants that, at certain time, assemble small basins and sell the products priceless, not to have to take them back. It was a very opportune time to reflect about food waste at the time of sowing, collection, transportation and marketing.
At the fair it was possible to find some products such as fruits and vegetables that were already washed, cleaned and packed and ready for consumption. This procedure basically aims to extend the shelf life of foods, which depends on a number of factors, such as the choice of raw materials, hygiene and final preparation. But what we realized was that, with the heat of the weather, some products packed in plastic bags deteriorates faster and generate even more packaging waste. Garbage is also a big problem in our region. We talked to many residents who do not recycle waste. So we must define medium and long term educational strategies and encourage recycling.
Most students have the immediate feeling that there is an urgent need to create a sustainable future and clearly perceive the environmental risks and the need of action. During discussions they point out several problems related to food waste and set up a plan of action for future mobilization.
The testimony of the students revealed that the environmental actions taken during the semester encouraged the collective work, autonomy and problem solving, and provides a critical look and a new way of thinking, learning and interacting with the place where they live thus establishing the connection to this process with the technology, that changes our relationship with the world. The actions were shared in social networks and a Blog on the Internet and are inspiring and multiplying our actions everywhere.
Among the biggest water crisis registered in the State of São Paulo, we also decided to invest in a water reuse project that is a smart and environmentally responsible way to save natural resources with sustainable mechanisms. As a result of water waste survey on drinking fountains and sinks of bathrooms, the school community, always thinking in a sustainable way to deal with these issues, decided to reuse this water in a hydroponic system. The system is simple, consisting of a greenhouse with a bench, a container for the nutrient solution, plumbing to conduct the nutrient solution, a support structure to the substrates and a set of pumps that have been developed in school´s science laboratory. The hydroponics is an alternative to vegetable production where plants do not come into contact with the ground, being produced in nutrient solutions and without pesticides.
The compromising of quality of life on the planet alerts us for the need of collective actions and to encourage these actions at school is a priority to motivate changes not only locally, but also globally.