Our Sustainability project is about sustainability and the future of the Ganges River in India. The river Ganges is one of the most polluted rivers in today’s society and has caused massive social, economic, humane and environmental impacts. The pure water originates from the Himalaya Mountains and the Gangotri Glaciers but has been polluted due to religious practices such as tipping of cremating ashes, civilians bathing, factory wastes and unwanted animal products.
Via this project, I have built on my communication by organising the research tasks with my cooperative team members to develop our independence in analytical and evaluating skills. For this statistical aspect, all reasoning needed to be back up with accurate proof such as graphs and tables as it is fundamental to do so. I have also learnt the aspects of connections in the world of mathematics as mathematical ideas interconnect and the ideas can branch out from one to another on how mathematics can be applied to the real world to solve world issues.
I have progressed in my understanding of sustainability in today’s society and have built on my knowledge on the foundations of economic, environmental and social aspects. I have found that the pollution River Ganges has been a result of unsustainable use that had not been thought out for the future use of the river for civilians’ needs. Despite this, there are companies in today’s society that not only focus on their economic growth but also their commitment to sustainability to ensure the needs of the future are met. An example of this is The Ganga Project, launched by the Namami Gange Programme in hopes to clear the river of its toxins by December 2019. I have learnt that although it is evident that sustainability is trying to be reached, it has its own sets of challenges with a difficult process.
In Year 9, our All Saints’ College cohort had the privilege to experience an exotic world of camping in Kalbarri, a beautiful site to view the natural habitat, while flourishing with my friendly team members.
One of the mentally excruciating activities we had to encounter was backpacking through a hiking trail in between the gorges. I was responsible in the leadership team for navigation on that day- our team led our group through the creeks, weaving through the dangerous points to prevent injuries. To ensure motivation contained in the high spirits of the team, we led a ‘choir’. We knew delegating tasks were crucial for efficiency, so we played the cards at our strengths. I suggested singing bright and lively Disney songs such as ‘Let it Go’, successfully distracting our mental sorrows as well as checking up on everybody and allowing frequent breaks to ensure our group members were well-rested. When one of our beloved members were struggling with their great loads along the adventure, our blessed team showed the initiative to kindly help unload the cargo and used our integrity remove the hiking gear into our bags. This could have not been done without clear communication or alerted, engaged members. We all knew that our pace and our speed was only as strong as our weakest one in our team, so we distributed the gear to everybody without any hesitation. We went through struggles along the trail: it rained partially, making the slippery creeks damp but we were motivated to keep our delightful mood up, open to discovering another world of learning.
Our Team resting at Nature’s Window after an eventful hike through the gorges.
At night, our cooperative team split into cooking groups. There were no specific leaders, however, we had to run dinner smoothly for our bodies to be nourished. In my team, I brought the ingredients out as well as preparing the vegetables and meat, while my two other mates cooked with the challenging Trangias, a set of cooking gear, to create a wonderful meal. We overcame our frustration of using the Trangias by remaining to have a positive mindset and continuously being grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime-experience. We all helped with the washing up by carrying pots of water, scrubbing with a whizz and had difficulties drying our bowls without getting the black soot or ashes staining our tea towels.
The most valuable thing on camp I have continued to treasure is my long-lasting friendships built through extreme activities such as abseiling and rock climbing. I had to be trustworthy for my fellow peers to allow themselves to be comfortable to rely on me as we faced the difficulties ahead. When one of my newly-made-friends were trying to overcome their anxiety of abseiling and heights, we all got together, applauding that they had such courage, reassuring them that they were doing absolutely fantastic. As they got lowered down, we embraced them with words of encouragement, helping them to overcome their anxiety and fear of heights.
My time at Kalbarri has furthermore developed my leadership, teamwork, communication skills in challenging but fun times while creating life-lasting friendships that I will forever cherish.
My best learning experience of 2019 is the learning unit of ‘That Sugar Film’ as I enjoyed taking notes as well as learning about sugar, the Black Death was really interesting and I also enjoyed the Chemistry & Biology unit of science- especially the section of the hearts! I really loved the song of The Black Death in HASS (the parody of Hollaback girl) especially the part of ‘fleas on rats’ which Amelia changed to ‘Rats on fleas’. I also loved being in the same tutor group with Amelia, Emily and Persis because they always made tutor so fun and enjoyable.
My most enjoyable experience of Year 8 is hanging out with my friends (both during class and recess & lunchtimes). I also really loved bonding (through a mix of activities that we enjoyed and didn’t) with people in my house during camp and we got closer after camp.
If I could change what I would do in Year 8, I would spend more time studying for tests and being more organised. I would also spend less time going out and use less of my phone so I wouldn’t get distracted doing work and get better grades. I think I contributed the most is music to the school because I’m in clarinet ensembles, the Wind Band and rockband.
Some advice I would give to Year 7s going to Year 8 is that to always put aside time to study- even if it’s a month before a test because then all that knowledge will store into your brain for longer but to also have fun as well and enjoy year 8. The thing I learnt about myself is that I should try my best for everything, even if I’m sure that I would totally ‘fail’ because in the end, it’s always the effort that counts and also, the work really pays off in the end.
On the year 8 Mornington Camp, there were several activities such as the Crate Climbing. People on my team had to stack up crates and one person had to climb the crates and touch the ceiling of a sports centre. The person would be attached to this rope which was held by the belayers. At first, when people were climbing up to the top, I was really nervous to do it as they kept wobbling and the crates often fell and didn’t look sturdy at all. When it was my go, the belayers weren’t really paying attention and when the crates fell, I kept falling and falling until the instructors caught me. I got even more scared and thought ‘I can’t do it, I can’t do it.’
Then all my friends started encouraging me and told me it was going to be alright and I was going to do great. Even though this activity was out of my comfort zone, I kept pushing forward and decided that continuing would be what I needed to complete this challenge. After all, as Thomas Edison said, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to try one more time.” I had a fixed mindset at the beginning, thinking that it was a really bad idea to take risks but I developed a growth mindset at the end through all the encouragements and help I had.