Students of Qatar Academy for Science and Technology (QAST), a STEM-focused school and part of Qatar Foundation’s Pre-University Education, are seeking solutions to real-world sustainability challenges in collaboration with a team of professionals from Qatargas through a programme titled, ‘Carbon Footprint Project’.
Vaughan Lewis, assistant principal, QAST, said: “ One reason Qatargas collaborated with our school on this project is that we focus primarily on science, technology, and mathematics, and instead of just lecturing them or giving them some information about the carbon footprint, we allowed our students to find some sustainable solutions themselves.”
Lewis explained that the goal of this activity is for students to realise that they do not have to wait until they graduate from school or university and get a job to make a difference in their community, but that they can do so while at school by coming up with their own solutions.
A four-day workshop brought together Grade 8, 9 and 10 students as the Qatargas team explained to them the importance of reducing their carbon footprint. The purpose of this activity was to encourage students to think about how they can reduce their carbon footprint and help reduce global warming.
QAST students presented new ideas through presentations, in both Arabic and English, on how to reduce the carbon footprint of their community through sustainability in various areas such as electricity and water consumption, food waste, transportation, and buying and selling.
A Grade 9 QAST student Salma Hossamelden Ratab, said: “I learned a lot – I didn’t realise before how food waste relates to our environment and climate change.
“My team’s project was about food waste and what can we do to reduce it, as food waste or food imported from abroad is one cause of global warming emissions, so we were looking for solutions and ways to reduce it and improve our lives.”
Another student Samir Shabaneh said: “We learned the importance of reducing our carbon footprint for society, and about many solutions to stop or reduce our carbon footprint – because if it continues to rise, we will no longer have enough fresh air to breathe.”
Jenna Yaser Darweesh, a Grade 8 student, said: “From this experience, I learned how much energy an air conditioner consumes to make the place the right temperature for us. Through our project, we aim to encourage others to use the Metro instead of the car, because it does not pollute the air and so reduces carbon emissions.”
“The carbon footprint is a tremendous challenge facing our world, and we can’t reduce it without changing our daily habits that may affect the environment, such as the excessive use of electricity and water. If we don’t, there will be dire consequences for life on this planet,” noted, fellow Grade 8 student, Huxley Lewis.
Afra Mubarak al-Hajri, senior environment regulatory and compliance officer at Qatargas, remarked: “Through our cooperation with QAST, we aim to raise awareness among students about environmental challenges, and the reason we chose QAST is that it is one of Qatar’s leading schools in various fields of science.”
Dr Gregory J Moncada, director of QAST, added: “Our mission empowers students to become innovators who master the knowledge and skills required to create solutions for challenges that face Qatar and the world. The Carbon Footprint project is an excellent example of how QAST invites stakeholders into school to share their challenges and then inspire our students to learn about and then participate in the development of real-world solutions.”