Seeds of green generation sprout in Indonesia

Last Updated: Thursday, December 17, 2009 - 09:44

Badung: Today`s young students, not the world leaders at UN climate talks in Copenhagen, will be the ones battling to save the planet if predictions of catastrophic temperature rises come true.

And few may be better equipped to deal with that nightmare than graduates of a unique eco-school on the Indonesian island of Bali, where an innovative curriculum has been designed to produce future "stewards of the environment".

Founded last year by Canadian John Hardy and his American wife, Cynthia, the Green School is nestled in a tropical grove near Ubud, in the centre of an island better known for its luxury beachside resorts.

From the main road through Badung village, visitors follow a stone path to the banks of the Ayung River that runs through the eight-hectare (20-acre) campus.

The only man-made structure visible at what amounts to the school gate is a 42-metre (140-foot) bamboo bridge with a sweeping roof made of traditional grass slats known locally as alang-alang.

Small crops of rice and vegetables grow on each side of the river, living class projects meant to connect the children to the food they eat.

Following the path on the other side of the bridge, the hypnotic humming of cicadas and the gurgling of the Ayung is suddenly broken by children`s laughter, the first reminder that this is actually a schoolyard.
And so it unfolds: a school made entirely of bamboo, with open classrooms covered by roofs of alang-alang; a campus dotted by crops and edible plants like fragrant lemon grass and papayas; and John Hardy, sitting in a sarong and sandals and explaining that it is time to "bring the kids back to the Earth".

-- A new generation of global citizens --

"Green School is like a seed for the future, something that will grow in spirit," Hardy tells AFP in an interview, over a cool drink made from fresh ginger which has been grown by the students.

Bureau Report

First Published: Thursday, December 17, 2009 - 09:44
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