Sustainable Design – What Does it Mean to Young Students?

In honor of Earth Day, last week two Iredale sustainability enthusiasts gave an Earth Day talk to 70 students at the Surrey School Board, drawn from Multi-Age Cluster Classes (MACC). The presentation focused on two ideas: the importance of rethinking our assumptions, and the many sustainable choices before us.


The presentation started off by reviewing the 5 R’s of sustainability: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse, Rethink. This was a springboard for a focus on rethinking, which encouraged students to examine assumptions about what sustainable buildings and lifestyles entail. The students were surprised when a tree-enveloped cabin was deemed not sustainable. “It’s pretty, but it just isn’t sustainable. We would need three or four Earths to support this lifestyle for all 7 billion of us. Best to consider it a nice place for a vacation,” said Iredale Partner Graham Coleman.


Graham’s co-presenter was Albert Lam, who has lectured in various countries about sustainable design. “I didn’t expect this level of enthusiasm and knowledge,” he said. “There was some thoughtful and innovative thinking here.”