My Green School Plea

A friend asked me recently, “Why do so many rich guys start schools?”. My friend is not yet 40, which I was quick to point out to him as likely being the reason he asked the question. In short, founding a school is about legacy.

Green School is a legacy project of its co-founder John Hardy who was moved to start the school, along with his wife Cynthia, when he learned about what climate change was doing to the planet. He had just sold his successful jewelry business and wanted to leave his mark on the world. And he’s done it!

I have been involved in many schools over the years in different capacities. First and foremost, I’ve been a school parent, but I have also served as an auditor, financial advisor, board member and even done some teaching. I get energized and inspired at schools, and while I don’t have the money or drive to found a school of my own, I am happy to be involved now with Green School in Bali as a trustee.

I come from Texas where the words “climate change” are rarely heard. And I’ve even worked in the oil industry!  But several years ago, my family spent one school year in Bali and our kids had unforgettable experience at Green School.

I’ve continued to be involved with Green School learning myself about sustainability, and last year I saw for myself the scale and speed at which glaciers in New Zealand are melting, I’ve become a believer.

Not many years ago all this empty space was a glacier!

And I also know from talking to my own children that the next generation really is concerned about the future of the planet. From rising temperatures to oceans full of plastic and disappearing reefs, the next generation is worried about what kind of world their children and grandchildren will be living in.

Green School, now with over 400 students from both Bali and all over the world, is playing a role in shifting the tide of awareness and, more importantly, taking action to make the world sustainable.

I want to give you three impressive examples of great things happening at Green School:

1.  The Kul-Kul Connection is a faculty-led after-school program reaching out to the local community which now has 330 local kids learning English and about recycling and waste management (a HUGE problem on Bali and throughout SE Asia). The Kul Kul students are driving change in their households and villages. In partnership with the School, they responsibly manage over 1 ton of trash per month through Green School’s waste management facility. See some Kul Kul Connection students, on their quest to spread the word and be green leaders in their country of Indonesia:

2. Two Green School students (sisters Isabelle and Melati) founded a worldwide youth movement called Bye Bye Plastic Bags. They spoke at TED Global (over 1 million views!) and were recently named by Forbes Indonesia as one of Indonesia’s top 10 inspiring women:

3. And finally, Maxwell Hidajat, an Indonesian scholar who has been attending Green School now for 6 years, will be attending Cornell University this fall, taking all he’s learned at Green School.  See Maxwell speaking below at TEDx Ubud on how used cooking oil powers buses at Green School. 

So Green School really is making an impact on the world. As a trustee of the school, I know what it costs to put a kid through Green School. The school is committed to supporting local children to be the change they want to see in Bali and the world. 40 local students receive full or partial scholarships, at a cost of over $300,000 per year, primarily  funded by outside donations.

These students are taking action now. It’s  time for them to take their creative and sustainable solutions to a new level by building a $200,000 Innovation Lab. Even more impactful solutions to manage and reduce waste will be at their fingertips with equipment to better innovate, design and implement real solutions to real problems.  

As a Trustee, I will be making a $2,500 contribution to the school.

I would like to respectfully ask you to consider joining me. The amount doesn’t have to be that big, but please donate now. It’s really fast and easy to do!

And if you are interested in having the Innovation Lab named after you or a loved one let me know and we can talk about how much you need to give for us to make that happen!  

Help me out here – click below to donate and support the next generation of Green Thinkers and Green Leaders coming out of Green School in Bali. Thanks for your support!

Chris Saye
[email protected]

Chris is a financial advisor, coach and writer. He is a former partner with both Arthur Andersen and Ernst & Young, and currently manages MarcWhittaker, a multi-family office in Singapore. He is a fluent Russian-speaker, having spent 15 years living and working in Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Chris has been married to his wife Galina for 20 years and together they have three children and one granddaughter.

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