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ISB powered by 100% wind energy

By Matthew Yamatin, ISB Sustainability Manager

Wednesday, April 22, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Earth Day commemorates the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. Today, Earth Day is widely recognized as the largest secular observance in the world, marked by more than a billion people every year as a day of action to change human behavior.

This past year, the International School of Beijing (ISB) initiated a whole school sustainability program with its Sustainability Roadmap 2025. In that roadmap, we set a target to source 100 percent of the electricity we consume at the school and in our new electric buses from renewable sources such as wind or solar.

Today, ISB can announce that we have achieved that target. Since January 1 of this year, ISB has been powered by 100 percent renewable electricity from Guanting Wind Farm (pictured). This wind farm is located in Huailai Country, Hebei Province, about 100 km to the northwest of ISB.

This transition to wind power has benefits for people and the planet. From an environmental consideration, it removes over 10,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from our footprint that would otherwise be emitted from Beijing’s default source of electricity generation (primarily coal). For perspective, this reduction is equivalent to planting more than 600,000 trees or driving nearly 160 million fewer km every year. From a people consideration, wind power eliminates the generation of harmful air pollutants (like PM2.5) and creates high-paying green jobs to operate and maintain the wind turbines.

With students the center of everything we do here at ISB, we have tied this initiative to student learning. As part of our negotiations with the wind farm, we will be able to tour the wind farm with our students, hopefully in the coming year. Additionally, the owners of the wind farm are providing resources around wind power and the industry in support of the Grade 8 capstone project, which takes a deeper dive into current social and environmental issues within China.

recycling

ISB has a long history of positive Earth Day engagement with our students and community.

In 2019, our student clubs launched the school recycling system, hosted Bike Week, a low-litter lunch, a clothing swap, and screened The True Cost, a movie about the social and environmental impact of the fashion industry. Additionally, we continued our tradition of removing all beef products from lunch for the day, given the outsized environmental impact of beef.

In 2018, our student clubs hosted Bike Week, a low-litter lunch, and an unplugged mini concert. Students also conducted a food waste audit with the Middle and High School.

While current circumstances prevent ISB and its students from further engaging our community in celebration as we have in past years, we believe this action is a big step forward for ISB in support of the Earth Day movement.

ISB is an extraordinary school, made so by a tradition of educational excellence spanning 40 years. Establishing, nurturing, and growing such an exceptional learning community has been and remains intentional; we work hard to build strong relationships so our learning is at its best.

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