Two of the strong messages that flowed from the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics were the need to care for the environment and the importance of education for all. These are two challenges that we can take on in our daily lives. In our work places and in our homes, we can consider how we might reduce our environmental footprint and expand educational opportunity.
At Pacific, we are planning to increase our renewable energy capacity and lessen the amount of rubbish we produce. As a step forward in this direction, funds raised at OCEANfest will go toward the expansion of our solar energy system. We are also exploring the use of lower energy lighting and cooling strategies. On an individual level, all of us can think about how to do more with less, particularly plastic. A simple step may be to consider ways to lessen the unrecyclable packaging we use in our lunch boxes. This will be an ongoing conversation with our community.
In his acceptance speech as the first ever athlete to receive the Olympic Laurel award, past Kenyan Olympic champion, Kipchoge Keino, spoke about the importance of education as a means to improve the world, including growing peace. It was a reminder for us not to take the educational opportunities we have in Australia for granted and to look at ways we can support educational opportunity across the globe. In a very small way we are going to provide the opportunity to make a difference at OCEANfest. At the festival, people will be able to make solar light kits that will then be sent overseas for children to use to read at night. Pacific’s ongoing relationships with the Life Centre in Kampong Chnang and tertiary hostel in Phnom Penn are two further ways that we as a community can make some contribution to improving the educational opportunities of young people. In the words of Kipchoge Keino, “We came into the world with nothing and we leave with nothing”. It is what we do for others during our time on earth that makes the difference.