Photo credit: Martin McNamara ‘A Mystical Sunrise’
During this Season of Care for Creation, Pope Francis calls us to respect and protect Earth, our common home. As Loyola Jesuit Secondary School (LJSS) in Kasungu, Malawi, reopens for its second year, it continues to be ecological in its construction and instruction.
Environmentally sensitive, ecologically sound
As Fr Pete Henriot SJ explains in his blog: “How to assure that LJSS is as ‘green’ as possible, by that we mean that in both construction and instruction, our school should be environmentally sensitive, ecologically sound.
“One very important ecological effort has been the use of soil based blocks (SSB) throughout construction, rather than kiln burnt bricks, in the building of the walls of the many structures on the campus of LJSS. Bricks that are molded of clay and then cooked in simple brick ovens for many days require a lot of trees to be cut down and used for the fires.”
Blocks and trees and climate change
“And that means much deforestation in what was once a heavily forested Malawi! Deforestation contributes to climate change which we have been experiencing in too many sad ways in recent years. Delayed and sporadic rainfall has devastating effects on agricultural with serious consequences for the availability of food for the 15 million Malawians.
“So we are happy that we have been committed to using the SSBs in construction of the school. These blocks are more durable and attractive, as well as ecologically sound. The walls of our buildings are very substantial and attractive, and at least some of the trees of Malawi are preserved from cutting!”
Stabilised soil bricks
Sleeping soundly with ecological sensitivity
Fr Henriot goes on to describe the ‘green’ method LJSS employs of producing wood for use: “Another effort at ecological sensitivity is how the wood is collected for use by our contractor for all the classroom desks, dining room tables, hostel (dormitory) beds, etc. The joinery (carpentry) manager regularly replants trees on the lots used for harvesting the necessary wood.
“Attractively built, LJSS furniture is not contributing to the rampant deforestation that is subjecting Malawi to dangerous climate change.”
Bunk beds made from wood gathered in tree lots that are regularly replanted!
“We are also pursuing some solar alternatives to electrical use, such as solar powered water heaters for the showers in the hostels. And we will place ecologically-sensitive garbage bins around our campus to assure that staff and students deposit litter that is properly separated: burnables, recyclables, compustables.”
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The Irish Jesuit Missions office is proud to support this wonderful programme of education in Kasungu. Lots done but a lot more to do! If you would like to donate, please click here and specify that your donation is for LJSS or contact 01 836 6509.
Author: Compiled by Irish Jesuit Missions Communications from interview and blogs of Fr Pete Henriot SJ 15th September 2016