Twice a week from September to this past week, the Saint Michael’s College School Common Earth club in Toronto, Canada has been meeting to explore the causes, effects and possible responses to the climate crisis and how youth can help us all move towards a post-carbon caring society.
Throughout the year, the enthusiastic group of 15-17 year-olds participated in a variety of discussions and activities that took a closer look at systems thinking, deep time, the journey of the universe, how we navigate our place in it, and the interconnection of everything, everywhere, all the time, while deepening the sense of community among the club members.
Students came to know that after school on Mondays and Thursdays, Room 210 transformed into a safe space to grab a snack, learn something new, explore other ways of looking at and thinking about things and discuss what they might do in response to worries and concerns, climate-related and otherwise.
Some of the initiatives the students have introduced are Mending Mondays (where they bring in clothing, bags or other textiles in need of repair or creative intervention), Common Thoughts with Common Earth (a series of 1-2 minute clips on the morning school announcements sharing some of their insights and understandings with the rest of the school community), a community cleanup of the local ravine on Earth Day, and most recently, planning and planting a pollinator-friendly garden on school property.
The Saint Michael’s College School pilot Common Earth Club has been very well-received among senior students, the school staff and the wider school community. Plans to offer a club to the intermediate students are in the works and we hope to extend this opportunity to grades 7-9 in the new school year this fall.