Mercy Earth Challenge

On April 22, several Mercy schools around the world celebrated Earth Day by taking the Mercy Earth Challenge which prompted students and staff to work together to promote environmental sustainability through various projects.

St. John Bosco Vocational Training Centre

St. John Bosco Vocational Training Centre took on this challenge by planting an on-campus orchard! It was a team effort as students, staff and partners from the Manchester 4-H Clubs organisation and Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), planted 21 fruit trees in total. These included tamarind, pear, soursop, jackfruit, apple, ackee trees and more! Beyond this, students audited the school’s usage of “vampire” power in on-campus electronic devices. This refers to devices which are left plugged into electrical outlets but are not being used; thus causing unnecessary energy usage and costs. Based on the data from this audit, the school created a strategy to implement energy-saving measures.

Alpha Infant School

Alpha Infant spent Earth Day harvesting crops from the school’s vegetable garden. This garden is tended to throughout the year with the help of the students. Crops included pumpkin, bell peppers, pak choi, and watermelon. Students worked along with staff members such as the school’s guidance counsellor (who is himself a 4-H Coordinator), cook and principal who spoke to students about the importance of caring for the Earth. This is one of several environmentally-focused activities which take place on the Alpha Infant campus year round. Other projects have included the school’s vineyard; the installation of bird feeders for yellow canaries and doctor birds; and the development of last year’s Fresh Air Turtle Garden.

Overall, the Earth Challenge allowed schools to further the goals of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform – a global Catholic response to Pope Francis’ appeal for “sustainability and integral ecology.” Moreover, these projects are an expression of the Sisters of Mercy’s critical concern for the Earth. Plans are in development to integrate even more Earth-focused activities in schools and ministries throughout the year. With determination and collaboration, we believe that our Mercy schools can be a beacon for sustainability and climate action in Jamaica and the Caribbean.

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