Essay Success – What does ‘sustainable living’ mean to you?

Each year the Trust for Sustainable Living organises a global essay competition, which this year invited schoolchildren to outline their ideas for sustainable living and the steps needed for societies to achieve them. This year 73 countries participated and essays were received from 1,094 children. We had several finalists from Port Ellen and in July Asher travelled down to Oxford to attend the international schools debate, which was attended by children from 23 countries.

Here he found out he had come second in the primary school essay competition, and was also picked as the winner of the best contribution to the primary school debate. Well done Asher!

What Sustainable Living Means to Me
By Asher Borthwick Port Ellen Primary United Kingdom

Our magnificent, abundant planet is being destroyed by its greediest inhabitants…us. We are also endangering all that live alongside us. By making sustainable choices on our use of energy, our everyday lifestyle and our consumption of food we can make a positive change.

Every day we carelessly use more energy, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Electricity is something we believe we cannot live without. The bulk of the world’s energy consumption comes from non-renewable sources such as coal and oil, which is unsustainable. I believe that if the world had more renewable sources of energy, carbon release would be decreased greatly. Here on Islay we have many renewable energy sources; wind turbines and offshore wind farms, small hydroelectric dams, the world’s first wave power device the Limpet, and an array of tidal turbines that are going to be the first in Europe. To me, sustainable living means using these types of renewable sources of energy production.

We can also make sustainable lifestyle choices. That apple with millions of food miles, not separating rubbish from recycling, taking the car and not walking, leaving the lights on; every single last action, no matter how small, adds up to a new carbon crust on the atmosphere. 60% of rubbish thrown away could be recycled. Here on Islay we have a recycling organisation called Rejig that sells our second hand furniture and clothes. On Islay instead of 5,000 people driving to a movie, the movie drives to us; we have a visiting mobile cinema called the Screen Machine. My school has 4 green flags and we strive to follow the eco code, saving energy, walking to school, growing our own food and applying reduce, reuse, recycle as our motto.

Here on Islay one way we produce food sustainably is crofting. Crofts are small farms where as much as possible is produced from the land for the crofter to live off. They don’t use a lot of machinery or chemicals and everything is recycled and reused. We can also buy seasonal food from the Islay Community Garden and even have a croft garden in school, living sustainably from the land.

I believe the next 60 years could be our last chance to set things straight. If we applied some of the sustainable choices we have here on Islay then sustainable living would literally mean the world to me.

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