In this day and age, the importance of environmental sustainability and how our actions can impact the planet have never been greater. Our Chalet, one of the WAGGGs world centres, takes the protection of their local and global environment seriously, and has implemented a range of measures to reduce their environmental footprint. This blog explores what those measures are and hopefully will inspire you to make similar changes in your Scout or Guide group.
Climate change is predicted to affect Switzerland in a number of ways, including increased glacial melt, greater flood risks and reduced snow fall in winter. Variable or diminishing amounts of snow is likely to have a big impact on the programmes that Our Chalet can offer, particularly during the winter months.
Some of the environmental activities and practices that Our Chalet have adopted to combat climate change and protect the environment in recent years are:
The Helen Storrow Seminar
The Helen Storrow Seminar is a leadership seminar hosted annually by Our Chalet. Participants from over 30 countries across the world can develop an environmental project which they then implement in their home communities.
The Chalet has its own compost bins and compost heap, which is then used in their garden. Food scraps that can’t be composed are sent to a local processing centre where the waste is turned into biofuels.
The Eco Hut
Our Chalet has an ‘Eco Hut’ on their grounds, filled with items that some visitors might need for activities, but might not own, such as waterproofs, warm jackets, walking boots and more. Visitors can simply borrow, wash and return, without having to buy everything new! The Eco Hut is also home to lots of fun environmental activities.
Eco Scavenger Hunt
Any visitor to the Chalet can take part in this fun activity – simply go to the start in the T-Bar and get scavenging, a perfect opportunity to learn about the environmental impact of daily activities.
Recycling is really important in Switzerland, and that is no different at Our Chalet. Three different colours of glass, paper, cardboard, PET plastic, food waste and metals are sorted.
Dotted around the Chalet are reminders of the small daily things that we can do to reduce our environmental impact, from turning the tap off when you brush your teeth to save water, to turning off the light when you leave the room. Every action counts!
It is great news that a World Centre such as Our Chalet is paving the way for environmental sustainability – due to the sheer number of visitors from all over the world, the educational programmes the centre can offer have a far-reaching audience, and can offer insights to and impacts upon people that might not otherwise know about their environmental options or the benefits adopting more sustainable practices can bring.
Our Chalet suggest that the top three things that Guides can do to benefit the environment during their trip to Switzerland is to take a reusable bottle and lunchbox out with them during the day to reduce plastic waste, take public transport to get around and plan their evening meals ahead of time in order to reduce the amount of food waste a group produces.