On the surface it can seem that any and all actions geared towards improving sustainability are good right…
Well no actually.
For example, one-off sustainability events can send the wrong message about sustainability. An hour or a day once a year is not enough. Yes, they provide that warm sense of short-term accomplishment for people or perhaps allow organizations to tick that box for the year, or even create a nice marketable photo opportunity. Yet one-off events are counterproductive in the sense that the message they inadvertently send to our students (and the general population is that to be ‘sustainable’ you just need to participate in an event once a year. That is it… one event… once a year… done. And that seems to me to be the complete opposite of what we need to be doing for our students and school communities.
Yes, sustainability events can be a part of the story of sustainability especially if the events sits within an ongoing program that has clear outcomes for the school community and learning outcomes for the students. Part of an integrated approach, and not the sum total of the sustainability action of the school. Or as a way to launch a new learning initiative, provide a comparative experience, or gain data and information for the next piece of the sustainability puzzle.
Planting a tree or two, turning off light a couple of lights, and acknowledging our wonderful and amazing environment that we have can be a part of positive sustainability action. But not as isolated one-off events. There needs to be consistent effort and energy targeting specific tame issues at your schools to lead your community towards the type of change that is really required.