1. Animal Minds

    December 3, 2023 by Shangrila X.

    Driving Question:

    How can I collect and analyze behavioral data to inform if species can survive and thrive in an artificial environment?

    Project Summary:

    Shangrila X, a Grade 10 student from TGs, undertook her first personal project around the topic of animal psychology and behavior. Initially inspired by Australia’s wildlife, she adjusted her project to study animals at the Melbourne Zoo, due to the lack of accessible wildlife in the urban area where she was studying.

    Shangrila’s project was motivated by a childhood memory of seeing a gorilla in distress at a zoo, which made her want to better understand and improve animal well-being in captivity. She utilized ethograms, which are tools for categorizing and defining animal behaviors, to observe and record the actions of zoo animals. Her primary subjects were a Silverback Western lowland gorilla named Otana and Asian elephants.

    During her observations, Shangrila noted a significant amount of inactivity in Otana, which she initially found concerning but later attributed to a possible midday rest period. She also observed stereotypic behaviors in the elephants, which are indicators of poor welfare in captive animals. The elephants often gathered at the edge of their enclosure, suggesting they were seeking interaction and stimulation.

    Shangrila found that her data was insufficient for drawing scientific conclusions but emphasized the importance of public interest and involvement in animal welfare. She suggested that zoos have improved over time but acknowledged that they can never fully replicate the natural environment for animals. She proposed the use of technology, such as VR, to provide educational experiences about wildlife, potentially improving both public knowledge and animal care practices in zoos.

    Overall, Shangrila’s project highlighted the complexity of animal psychology, the limitations of zoos, and the potential for technology to enhance education and animal welfare. She concluded with a hopeful outlook, believing that increased awareness and involvement can lead to a better future for zoo animals.

  2. Empowering Local Knowledge For a Resilient Future

    June 13, 2023 by Luiza B. and Santi D.

    Driving Question:

    How can we effectively engage with local culture, language, and service to foster learning and inspire change ?

    Project Summary:

    Luiza B. and Santi D. concluded their research project by highlighting the critical role of local and indigenous knowledge in tackling global environmental challenges. Through their extensive research, Luiza explored the knowledge of Amazonian indigenous groups, emphasizing their stewardship practices that protect 80% of the world’s biodiversity in the region. She underscored the threats these communities face from activities like mining and deforestation, which endanger their lands and ways of life. Luiza advocated for empowering these communities through their own knowledge systems to build resilience against environmental threats.

    Meanwhile, Santi D. delved into the Philippines’ community-based disaster management system, showcasing how local communities effectively handle natural disasters. He highlighted the system’s success in involving communities in decision-making and utilizing local knowledge to develop resilient infrastructure and disaster response plans. Santi argued that this approach not only safeguards vulnerable groups but also allows communities to guide external support to meet their specific needs.

    Both Luiza and Santi emphasized the need for participatory decision-making that respects and integrates local perspectives. They stressed the importance of empowering local communities to apply their generational knowledge in tackling modern environmental challenges. By listening to and protecting local knowledge, they argued, we can create more effective and sustainable solutions to global environmental issues.

    In their presentation, Luiza and Santi challenged the prevailing approach of neocolonial decision-making and advocated for a paradigm shift towards empowering local communities. They concluded that by recognizing and respecting indigenous and traditional knowledge, we can pave the way for more resilient and sustainable futures worldwide. Their research underscores the transformative potential of centering local voices in environmental policy and action, highlighting the importance of collaboration and mutual respect in global efforts to protect the planet.

  3. The “Green Leaf” Podcast

    May 11, 2020 by Marwa A.

    Driving Question: How can I use non-fictional storytelling to convey a meaningful message about sustainable living?

    Project Description: The “Green Leaf” podcast is a 10 minutes podcast. It discusses some aspects of sustainable living. I talk about overconsumption, environmental concerns, fast fashion and how they could all fit into a sustainable lifestyle.

    Our remote learning module has been a fun getaway during this quarantine. Fast fashion represents a big part of everyone’s life as most of us dress with it, so it was really interesting to look more into its effects on the environment and how we can reduce them.

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