CAS Week 2018

Renaissance College

Category: Ark Eden

Ark Eden Day 3

Three days into the programme and we are already quite used to not using any of our electronic devices. I sincerely apologize for the delay in updating the CAS blog.

Today was a slightly less physically demanding but a more educational and mentally demanding day. We started the day by doing yoga, which prepared us mentally and physically for the activities ahead. It was very relaxing as we could enjoy the beautiful sunshine and the soothing breeze outdoors. At the same time, we improved our mindfulness and gained positive energy through various breathing exercises to appreciate the natural environment surrounding us.

Then, we moved on to the more thought-provoking parts of our trip. Throughout the day, we had a lot of discussions about leadership and education. For leadership, we explored the ideal qualities for a leader and questioned how education trains us to be leaders yet only a small part of the population should and can be leaders. As for education, we watched a TED talk about the Green School in Bali. This video inspired all of us to think about the ideal curriculum in schools and the purpose of education.

In the evening, we met a vice principal, Douglas, on the beach. We had some quality time have a philosophical discussion about the reasons behind the current education system. He also shared some of his views on ideal leadership and how should a team effectively collaborate. Putting those theories and thoughts to work, we built a simple shelter with ropes and tarp together and drafted our short TED talk ideas.

The topics showed a wide range of variety, from big history to buffalos to the DSE curriculum of Hong Kong. The exchange of ideas greatly expanded our horizons and it was a perfect activity to follow our various very vegetative vulnerable non-venomous vegan vegetable barbecue dinner.

Overall, this was a very productive day indeed. So far, this trip has shed a light on sustainability and encouraged us to explore different moral values. Preserving the nature is immensely important, especially when climate change is getting worse. People should be having healthy and sustainable habits. Education plays a huge part in habit-forming at this point, with children educated to live side by side with nature, be a part of nature, learn to love nature and preserve nature. Raising public awareness can also greatly contribute to preserving our natural heritage. Through leadership, we can influence a lot of people by our actions or speech so that they will start paying attention to these pressing matters that are threatening general human population as a whole. Of course, us doing our own parts is already better than none. Yet, through advocating these concepts to people around us, slowly we can get a lot of people to each do their own parts and improve the situation little by little. Although this cannot completely reverse the current situation, it can still slow things down and give us more time to try to combat climate change with humankind’s greatest asset – our intelligence.

Author: Graidey Lo

Ark Eden, Day 2, 21st November 2017

The alarms when off at 8:30 and we got up to make our own breakfast. This was our first breakfast in the mountains, which we prepared ourselves using frozen fruits and coconut milk. This was the first vegan breakfast for many of us, which surprisingly did not taste as bad as it sounded. We also sliced and toasted the bread we made the previous night. Although it did not really turn out as bread and was slightly too hard and strong in the wheat flavour, the was decent enough to fill our hungry stomachs from sleeping in the cold all night. Conversations during breakfast mainly was about how our first night was and full of complains about the cold.

Water was limited up in the mountains and everyone had to clean up after themselves. After clearing up the breakfast table we went ‘hiking’ high up into the mountains to fertilise tries. Many of us agreed that this was not hiking and instead was climbing the mountains. We had to bring our own axes to make the trail for us to walk. Although fertilising trees was a first for many of us, it was an worth while experiment as we learnt that the trees were planted in a way to block runoffs and sustain themselves within the environment.

Hiking and planting drained us completely, so we all had a lot to eat for lunch, most of us eating 3 wraps to recharge ourselves for the rest of the day. Again, we had a self prepared and vegan lunch.

The afternoon was filled with less intense activities but also gave us a chance to be more open minded about the environment and brainstorm ways we could make Hong Kong a better environment in terms of being able to plant and grow our own crops. We went up to Da Shan to have a overall view of the mountains while we worked in groups to make a ‘plan’ for developing various areas. Here, we were able to use a lot of the knowledge we learnt about permaculture the previous day as well as observations made this morning.

“Pizza and icecream for dinner!” got everyone’s attention. The instructor decided that it would be interesting for us to have a artsy dinner where we would make our own pizzas in a personalised way, however using vegan products. Preparing dinner for 9 hungry students was not a simple and easy task, but through working together we managed to get there in the end with interesting looking pizzas.

Lots of information was fed through today, and being able to physically work in the environment was definability something that we wouldn’t be able to feel in a daily basis. Hopefully, tonight would not be as cold and we’d be able to get a better night’s sleep.

Authors: Amelia & Codee

Ark Eden Day 1

20-11-17, 0923, Mui Wo Pier. This marks the launch of our five-day journey, beginning with a short hike made strenuous with the weight of our bags, to undergo what may be the most insightful week in the past 5 years. We will experience this journey through wonderland with two newfound stranger-turned-friends from another school, Jeff and Alice. Suprisingly, if not somewhat ironically, it was not an unbirthday for Alice, but a birthday for her. We learned about permaculture, a portmanteau of permanent and agriculture that means so much more than the sum of its parts. From what we currently understand ,permaculture is a system and ideology of design imitating nature with the goal of achieving sustainability and self-reliance in a system, ideally reaching positive output, giving more than it takes in. This links back to our Year 11 I&S unit of megacities, where we learnt about the unsustainable nature of our modern living in the industrialized world, with little self-sufficienty of resources in densely populated regions, resulting in the reliance of exploitation of third-world regions and also high carbon impact from the long distances resources are shipped. We didn’t stop at the theoretical knowledge, but also started with the rejuvenation of terraced farmland, clearing branches and stabilising terraces. We will also get back to nature and live a permaculture life ranging from vegan food to compost toilets. To end off the day, we cooked on a campfire, baked a vegan birthday cake for Alice, and baked bread for tomorrow’s breakfast. “I loaf bread,” says Amelia. At Ark Eden, you don’t lick Oreos; Oreo licks you.

Authors: Forrest Jiang and Patrick Yung

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