An innovative method of data collection and presentation has made its way to Shrewsbury International School, Riverside - incorporating socially just and environmentally sustainable ideas to create better communities and societies on a small to large scale.
The Doughnut is a data presentation tool that highlights areas of concern and where action is required. It encourages accurate data collection and representation; this, in turn, aids policymakers and stakeholders with the information necessary to make informed decisions. As a device to communicate change, the Doughnut is being taken up all over the world by countries, cities, local governments, and industries. Shrewsbury’s implementation of the device shows a commitment to using the latest research and encouraging each individual to thrive without compromising the global community and future generations’ ability to do the same.
Our response at Shrewsbury, led by the Sustainability Action Lab Team (SALT), is a group of Year 12s, mentored by Year 13 students, who meet regularly in skills-focused workshops and research sessions with a remit of creating a school that is ‘fit for the future. The Doughnut allows the students to see problems in a bigger picture, then focus on the issues they care about most as individuals, which most significantly affect our school and the local environment.
One example of this is an ecological survey of the school’s biodiversity - which found that the school has an abundance of monocultures and could benefit from a more ecologically diverse environment. Upon reviewing the data, students formulated proposals that can reverse this trend, such as adding planters or a hydroponic system where the new build will be. There is also the possibility of ‘offsetting’ the lack of biodiversity at school by organising a workshop to plant mangroves in another community location. As Shrewsbury is predominantly an urban environment, the school has limited scope to make changes on site. However, not to be deterred and determined to impact positively, the school is always on the lookout for ways to make their community more sustainable.
The Doughnut engages and encourages students to see problems in a bigger picture, then focus on the issues they care about most as individuals which most significantly affect our school and the local environment. The skills learnt by the students are transferable once they go on to higher education as the method is becoming an internationally recognised way of problem-solving and highlighting areas where change can occur to benefit the wider community.
Head of Outreach Greg Threlfall, who has been using the Doughnut as a tool for progressing ideas in his economics classes since 2012, says the model is a truly student-led initiative that develops 21st Century skills across a range of disciplines.
“It is a real opportunity to be a changemaker within our organisation, I believe SALT can demonstrate real transformational student leadership together and encourage stakeholders within our community to live more sustainable lives.”