We believe a well educated new generation will form the backbone of our country. A good learning and living environment will foster a healthy generation who determine our country’s future. For this reason, we initiate “Building an Eco-Campus”, aiming at providing a healthy environment to bring up a physically and mentally healthy generation who will be the future our country. The initiative also aims for a harmonious campus, in response to the government policy of building a harmonious society.
A. CONCEPT OF AN ECO-CAMPUS
An Eco-Campus is an independent ecosystem that serves the people living there. An Eco-Campus means a reasonable and systematic layout of the school facilities in order to optimise their uses. And at the same time, the people living within need to be educated to bring their behaviour in line with the Eco-Campus. The result will be a more beautiful, practical and orderly campus, which makes the people feel refreshing, relaxing and enjoying. This is a campus which has both scenic beauty and inner beauty.
B. REQUIREMENTS FOR AN ECO-CAMPUS
- Reasonable layout with all elements arranged according to their special function & hierarchy of the eco-system;
- Good utilisation of local environmental resources;
- Environmental friendly with no emission of pollutants;
- Conserving energy and minimising wastage, optimising uses of resources;
- High output-input rate. One-off input and long-tern output preferred (except labour input); and
- Strong awareness of protection of the ecosystem by students and teachers.
C. PREREQUISITES OF AN ECO-CAMPUS
- Academic Area: Academic Building, Teaching Facilities, Information Centre, etc
- Student Activities Area: Playground, Court, Gymnasium, Indoor Stadium, Student Hall, Student Canteen
- Teacher Living Area
- Green Zone
- Sanitary Area: Refuse Collection Centre, Lavatory, Bathroom
- Electricity Supply, Water Supply, Rainwater Drainage System
- Balanced work and study practice centre: A Sub-ecosystem on people
D. CHARACTERISTICS OF ECO-CAMPUS
Though sharing characteristics of a community, since most of the inhabitants in the schools are minors, an eco-campus system has its own characteristics:
- Information flow is the primary function of an eco-campus. In a boarding school, a relatively close ecosystem, the inputs are information and living necessities for students; while the potential information output will emerge only in a longer period. In a non-boarding school, despite its large information flow, input is relatively small. Semi-boarding school possesses benefits of both the boarding or non-boarding school.
- Eco-campus emphasises that students can acquire information and has physically and mentally healthy development. Thus, an eco-campus requires a high standard playground and a complete set of physical training facilities.
- Formation: An ecosystem is formed by a localised group of interdependent organisms together with the environment that they live in.
Living Environment: An environment created by the combined effect of place, climate and other ecosystems within.
Organisms of ecosytems:
- Producers: Organisms like green plants which can absorb light energy and carbon dioxide in the air to synthesise their organic food. They include green plants and some microorganisms survived and sustained through light energy;
- Consumers: Organisms which depend on the producers directly or indirectly for food. They include animals and man.
- Decomposers: Organisms that fed on carcasses or litter of dead organisms or feces of animals, and, in doing so, carry out the natural process of decomposition. They include some saprophytic microorganisms and also the earthworm can be considered as decomposers.
2. Material and Energy Flow in Ecosystem
Food web plays an important role in ecosystem. A food chain is the sequence of who eats whom in an ecosystem. Food chains form a food web.
- Material Cycle in Ecosystem
The material cycle starts with the producers making food using inputs from the natural environment. Material flows through the food chains, returns to the environment to end the cycle the help of decomposers. However, not all the material complete the cycle as during the processes, most material dissipate in form of energy and some, such as heavy metal and some organic matter which are hard to dissolve, may accumulate in organisms particularly human body as man top the hierarchy as consumers.
- Energy Flow in Ecosystem
Energy flow accompanies the material cycle, though energy cannot recycle.
- Ecological balance
Ecological balance is a status at which organisms, material cycle and energy flows are in dynamic balance.
When an ecosystem is in balance, it functions the best. An ecosystem in general has self-adjusting capacity to be in equilibrium. This capacity is positively related to the complexity of food web in an ecosystem, which means the capacity is positively related to the varieties of organisms and number of organisms in an ecosystem.
- Building an Eco-Campus using the concept of Ecosystem
a. Components of Eco-Campus
Environment: Teaching Area, Living Area, Sports Area, Green Zone, Sanitary Centre, Electricity Supply, Water Supply, Rainwater Drainage System, etc.
Producers: Green Zone, Plants, Vegetable Farms.
Consumers: People, Poultry and Animals, Birds, Insects.
Decomposers: Microorganisms, Earthworm.
b. Inputs and Outputs of Eco-Campus
Inputs: Labour (Teacher and Staff), Balanced work and study, Information (Books, Video and Audio Teaching Materials, etc), Construction Works.
Outputs: Diligent Work and Efficient Learning, Wastage (from the Kitchen, Living Areas), etc.
Eco-campus is a simple eco-system depends on input. To implement the system, inputs include:
- Increase producers group (develop the plantation land);
- Introduce consumer group (chickens & pigs); and
- Introduce decomposer (earthworms and microorganisams).