Our planet provides us with food, water, air, and space where we can live. In return, we must take care of it so that it can continue to be our home.
Protecting the environment is a shared responsibility and we are committed to doing our part. Our Environmental Guidelines are a set of principles that guide our decisions and actions to ensure that we are doing our best to reduce our environmental impact.
Table of Contents
1. Orfe Environmental policy
At Orfe EcoArt we are aware of the challenges that sustainable development carries. Moreover, we are also aware of the importance of promoting environmental consciousness in children to improve the quality of life for present and future generations.
At Orfe EcoArt we are committed to:
- Promoting the responsible use of water resources, energy, and materials implemented in our classes.
- Encouraging sustainable consumption based on eco-responsible purchasing decisions that favor eco-friendly services and products.
- Properly manage waste generated from our activities, such as through harvesting practices, and implement measures to reduce and eliminate waste.
- Permanently monitoring and assessing the environmental impact of our activities, to prevent or minimize any potential negative consequences. We strive to take corrective measures to address any negative impacts that may be caused by our activities.
- Advancing our environmental objectives through continuous improvement.
- Keeping our stakeholders informed about our processes, changes, and advances for the fulfillment of this policy.
- Following environmental and sanitary legislation voluntarily as well as other requirements when executing our activities.
2. Environmental Guidelines of the Orfe EcoArt Program
The following document serves as an environmental guide for instructors following the Orfe EcoArt program. The purpose of this guide is to provide direction and support for instructors during the creative phase that children undergo before setting their sights on a specific art project.
The guide’s content is developed in accordance with subjects that should be considered during the design and execution of projects. The subjects include various environmental concepts, the current environmental situation, and strategies used by the Canadian government to protect our environment.
3. Environmental Sustainability Criteria Considered When Teaching a Class
Don’t forget to incorporate the highest amount of appropriate environmental practices in the provision and management of materials and resources in your classes.
- Use a reusable container with water when working with Paint and for washing brushes; thus, avoid constantly running the tap.
- If possible, collect rainwater and use it for painting lessons.
- Dispose of the water used to wash brushes through drains with a drill. This way, no solid waste will reach the drain system.
- Natural light use is preferred; hence, classes should be scheduled during the day.
- Unplug your laptop when not in use.
- Turn off unnecessary lights.
- Air-dry artistic projects. Also, avoid using any energy-consuming supplies such as fans for these types of tasks.
- When a purchase is needed, consider using supplies that may be already available, or build the object needed for the class from already owned supplies. For instance, Children can build their own toys.
- Favor sustainable purchases (products made with recycled materials, products without unnecessary packaging or in which the packaging can be reutilized, organic and/or biodegradable products). Make sure your suppliers and favorite brands practice sustainability in their products and services.
- Support local businesses. This mitigates over-pricing and the impact generated by transportation. Do not forget to carry your own reusable bag when shopping.
- Read product labels to make sure you do not choose polluting products or products that come from non-renewable sources and/or unsustainable practices.
- Choose products with eco-friendly labels, green seals, fair-trade seals, family agriculture, and fair economy organizations.
- Choose products with a long use cycle and which have the possibility to be reincorporated into the productive cycle:
- One option is to repair a product.
- Another option is to look for second-hand marketplaces. Usually, products in such places are as-good-as-new.
- Trading goods with family and friends is also a sustainable practice.
- Avoid purchasing hazardous materials (i.e., flammable, toxic, or explosive goods). Choose the non-polluting alternative.
- Have your meals in an eco-responsible way. Avoid any processed food items and unnecessary packaging. Use your own cutlery and reusable containers for your drinks.
- Avoid purchasing or using single-use plastic items (i.e., plastic bags, plastic cutlery, straws, balloons, disposable plates).
- Avoid using balloons. They are extremely harmful to the environment.
- Create the habit of asking yourself before any purchase: “Do I really need this item?”. If the item is not completely necessary, then do not buy it. A good practice to follow is bringing a shopping list to not fall into marketing strategies.
- Instead of disposing of items in good condition, consider donating them. However, if not possible:
- Identify any waste generated during class and evaluate the possibility of reintroducing this waste into the production cycle through re-utilization or recycling.
- Inform yourself about any separation at source practices available within the context of the classes.
- Make sure after an activity where waste is generated, retrieve it, separate it at the source, and reutilize or reincorporate it into the economic cycle. Waste can be reincorporated into the cycle through practices, such as recycling, composting or vermicomposting when possible.
- Look for opportunities to introduce waste optimization practices. For example, at a summer camp, composting food is an excellent opportunity to point out the importance of organic fertilizers and how it benefits local flora.
- When dealing with hazardous waste coming from artistic activities, make sure waste is being separated at the source. Moreover, make sure to deal with the waste according to sustainable practices that apply to the specific situation. For instance, take waste to the closest post-consumer waste management system and encourage children to do the same.
- Take advantage of the context of the class and share information about integral waste management and its importance to prevent a negative impact on the environment.
Share the Learning
- Share information and eco-friendly practices with family and friends. Moreover, use social media to spread relevant information about the topic.
- Support environmental campaigns in your social surroundings (local community, city, and country).
- Set higher daily goals to introduce new habits and behaviors that help the environment.
4. Four Environmental Action Strategies proposed by the Orfe Eco-Art Program
Considering the current global ecological and health crisis, Orfe EcoArt Program has decided to take action and work with educators, parents, children, and communities to help address the problem of excessive waste, particularly plastics, the destruction of biodiversity, the excessive consumption of goods and services, the degradation of water sources, and the lack of responsibility for a healthy environment.
Here are four key strategic actions we can take together:
Canadians are throwing out over 3 million tons of plastic each year. Of that, only 9% is recycled, while the rest is sent to landfills, waste incineration sites, or nature. This plastic waste is a huge strain on our economy, and it is affecting our surroundings, including wildlife, lakes, rivers, and oceans.
It's time to act! Let's rethink how we create, use, and get rid of plastic waste. If we all work together, we can keep plastic in the economy instead of polluting the environment.
Here are some ideas to implement:
- Avoid using and buying single-use plastic items, for example, cutlery, disposable plates, balloons, plastic bags, etc.
- Tell your family to use reusable containers and cutlery when going to a picnic, camping trip, or even when they go for a quick meal.
- Prepare a set of reusable cutlery and containers to take your food to school or work.
- Stop celebrating with balloons. Balloons are harmful to animals and the environment.
- If you are an educator, buy sustainable plastic for the classroom if you need it and encourage students to recycle plastic.
- Plan meals without waste.
Plan cleaning sessions for the areas surrounding the school or the community.
Responsible Consumption and Sustainability of Actions
This strategy aims to direct all our actions — especially those linked to the consumption of goods and services — toward sustainable development. The successful implementation of this strategy guarantees balance in the economic, ecological, and social spheres.
“Sustainable development is a development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs''. This definition is from the 1983 Brundtland Commission and was also adopted by the Federal Sustainable Development Law in Canada; approved by parliament in June 2008.
Here are some ideas to implement:
- Commit to being part of the city's recycling system. Although this does not solve the problem, this is a simple way to make a positive contribution to reducing pollution!
- Decrease your consumption of products to decrease the pressure on the natural resources that we all need to live. Let's be aware of our actions and hold ourselves responsible for our individual impact on our local environments. Even though we are not the original creators of plastic items, we have an important role to play in the cycle of pollution. Our decision to continue to support, use and buy unnecessary plastic products allows companies to continue to create more plastic. We need to imagine a world where we change our lifestyles to be less dependent on plastic. Your daily actions have the power to make a positive difference!
- Ask your children to make their own toys, inventions, and projects by reusing materials instead of buying new things.
- Before making a purchase, ask yourself if you really need it or if any alternatives are more environmentally friendly.
- Properly distributes waste in the bins.
- Encourage your family to donate or exchange items that they are no longer using and don't need.
- Before throwing an item in the trash reflects on whether it can be reused, repaired, or recycled.
- Don't buy unnecessary appliances, such as electric toothbrushes. This leads us to consume and generate more electronic garbage.
- Say no to food that comes in polystyrene trays. Do not wrap food with plastic but use reusable or glass containers.
- Apply the 3 Rs to every action in your life: reduce, reuse, and recycle!
- When you have doubts about where to take your waste consult information from your city on their website, on the phone, or by contacting a city representative.
- Share everything you've learned with all your family and friends!
Protecting Water Sources
Water preservation is vital to keep our planet habitable and for the future of humanity. Teaching youth how to protect oceans, lakes, and ponds, is part of a joint effort.
Here are some ideas to implement:
- Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth.
- Take shorter showers.
- Take limit toilet flushes.
- Pick up garbage and dispose of it properly.
- Eliminate or reduce the use of single-use plastic products.
- Post signs in bathrooms and kitchens to remind people to conserve water.
- Educate family and friends about the importance of water conservation and protecting water sources.
- Organize a school or community event to raise awareness about water conservation.
- Install a rain barrel to collect water for outdoor use.
- Participate in local clean-up efforts to keep water sources free from pollution.
- Avoid using chemical pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides near water sources.
- Use biodegradable products to avoid releasing harmful chemicals into water sources.
- Use natural fertilizers and pesticides instead of chemical ones to reduce runoff.
- Encourage people to use public transportation or carpool to help reduce air pollution.
- Plant trees and shrubs near water sources to act as natural filters.
- Plant native vegetation around streams and rivers to reduce erosion and slow the flow of water.
- Encourage your family to purchase water-efficient devices such as low-flow showerheads.
Innovation and Environmental Development
It is crucial to encourage children to create, invent and believe that it is possible to solve environmental problems and to improve the existing conditions of Earth through innovation.
This strategy aims to explore the innovative potential of every child and their capacity to reflect on today’s principal environmental problems. Children must feel empowered to be part of the solution through their own ideas.
Here are some ideas to spark their problem-solving creativity:
- Encourage children to reduce, reuse, and repurpose as much waste as possible.
- Teach children about the importance of conserving energy and water.
- Help children understand the impacts of climate change and how they can help make a difference.
- Inspire children to create their own green projects in the community.
- Encourage children to be mindful of their consumption habits.
- Challenge children to come up with creative solutions to everyday problems.
- Organize green field trips and introduce children to the wonders of nature.
- Show children how to plant a garden and grow their own food.
- Help children learn about the importance of composting and how it helps the environment.
- Involve children in sustainable living activities, such as buying locally sourced food and using renewable energy sources.
5. Circular Economy
The Orfe EcoArt Program promotes a Circular Economy. Educating children and youth about sustainable practices help to raise their awareness of eco-friendly alternatives and how to minimize their carbon footprint. Through this education, the community can learn about the importance of reducing consumption, recycling, reusing materials, and turning to renewable energy sources. Additionally, Eco-Art activities can also inspire and engage the local community in green practices, such as using composting and gardening, to reduce their consumption of resources. Aside from that, learning about Eco-Art motivates us to support local businesses that prioritize sustainability, inspiring us to shop from them instead of unsustainable businesses.
What is Circular Economy?
The circular economy proposes an economical and productive model characterized by sustainability and savings of resources and energy sources. Goods are produced, consumed, recycled, produced, and consumed again, entering a circular life cycle. It is a recent concept and is increasingly extended based on economic principles and other aspects such as the environment.
In other words, the circular economy is a new way of examining how we use resources. Instead of making new things out of raw materials, we reuse existing things over and over again. This helps us save energy and resources and helps us be more sustainable. We can keep using the same things and still have the things we need!
In this way, through respect for the environment, it is intended to enable the maximum repair and reuse of raw materials and energy sources of the planet, imitating the work developed by nature.
The word “circular” itself refers to the life cycle that raw materials, natural resources, and goods and services, in general, have as part of everyday life. More and more countries are adapting their policies in this line to achieve economic growth.
- Design sustainable products (Tree)
- Produce using sustainable materials and processes (Building)
- Distribute responsibly using minimal resources (Truck)
- Encourage responsible consumption of products (Cliente with a box)
- Repair and maintain products to extend their useful life (tool)
- Donate or resell products when they are no longer needed (Two persons)
- Repurpose materials to create new products (Craft activities, e,g, Orfe)
- Collect disposed of materials for further processing (Recycle bins)
- Develop a market for recyclable materials (Saving money)
- Recycle materials when is possible (Arrows)
- Transformation of the traditional or “linear” production and industrial model.
- Less environmental damage.
- Limiting energy consumption.
- Reduction in the use of resources.
- Possible creation of wealth and new job opportunities.