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Tzu Chi’s Eco-Friendly Future Blooms in Yearly Great Kindness Challenge

Tzu Chi Elementary School, Walnut  |  March 15, 2024
The Great Kindness Challenge Student Works Exhibition was completed with the joint efforts of Tzu Chi Walnut Elementary School students and teachers! Photo/Tiantian Ye

Written by Michelle Young
Translated by H.B. Qin
Edited by Andrew Larracuente

The Great Kindness Challenge is a global campaign centered on inspiring students to perform acts of kindness. More than 20 million students (20,329,103) have participated in the 2024 Challenge. Teachers and students from over 41,000 schools (41,103 schools) participated, with more than one billion acts of kindness recorded (1,016,455,150 acts of kindness), and 115 countries responded to the campaign.

The Tzu Chi Education Foundation has participated in this global great kindness campaign since 2021. It has quickly become a mainstay of the campaign, linking Tzu Chi’s educational endeavors in every country and region of the world to bring children together in following the course of kindness. In addition to cultivating students’ good and kind character, each student’s kindness has motivated his or her entire family, sending a ripple effect through countless families and converging into a huge force for kindness and goodness in society.

Tzu Chi Education continued to be actively involved in the 2024 Great Kindness Challenge to cultivate students' good character. Photo/Courtesy of the Great Kindness Challenge website
Global efforts for kindness. Photo/Courtesy of the Great Kindness Challenge website

The 2024 Great Kindness Challenge was held from January 22 to January 26, and the Tzu Chi Education Foundation launched the Tzu Chi Go Green Pledge, which aims to cultivate children’s awareness of environmental protection and to protect the planet through small, everyday trivia that may be overlooked. This year, before the official Challenge week started, the teachers and students of Tzu Chi Walnut Elementary School and Tzu Chi Great Love Preschool, Walnut got into the action early.  

Tzu Chi Green Action Brings Plants Home

Tzu Chi Go Green Pledge increased vegetation cover in a practical way. Photo/Michelle Young

Before the official Challenge week kicked off, the Tzu Chi Education Foundation led the Tzu Chi Walnut Elementary School students to the Life Science Garden. They carefully selected and cut succulents to plant. On top of potting on the spot, the children also chose their favorite succulents and brought home the lush greenery to be repotted in their yards before completing the task.

Children planted succulents at the Life Science Garden. Photo/Michelle Young
Children of Tzu Chi Walnut Elementary School happily held their favorite succulents above their heads. Photo/Michelle Young

The children held their favorite plants in the Life Science Garden with big smiles. The teacher asked, “What are you going to do with the flowers you planted today? One child said, “I’m going to play with them.” Another replied, “Plant them in the garden because we want to make them happy.” Afterward, the teacher asked, “Why are we doing this activity today?” This time, the children answered, “Because we want to protect the Earth!” The tender voices of the children echoed in the sky of the Life Science Garden for a long time, just like a fresh spring, and the belief in caring for nature and protecting the earth was firmly rooted in the children’s hearts. The trees were dappled with shadows, and the sunlight poured down through the treetops, illuminating the innocent faces of every child!

Tzu Chi Walnut Elementary School student Tongtong and her mom planted the plants they brought back from the farm in their garden. Photo/Courtesy of the student's parent

The children returned home and planted succulents with their parents and family members in their gardens, waiting for the greenness of life to spread! In planting, children learn to love plants, life, and nature. At the same time, they are taking practical actions to increase the area of the earth’s vegetation, which is indeed an educational action to achieve the effect of greening, reducing carbon emissions, and protecting the planet!

Bella Lee planted a tree back home. Photo/Courtesy of the student's parent
Beikui Ji went home and planted succulents. Photo/Courtesy of the student's parent

First, we are going to color our hearts. Then we are going to take a flower pot, then you are going to put the soil inside the pot, then we are going to plant the plants in it, and finally, we will put the colored hearts on top of the pot. And then we will take our little potted plants home and plant them like the life science farm, and then we will take a picture of it and show it to the teacher.

Tzu Chi Walnut Elementary School first-grade student Weston Tracy and his sister brought home plants from the farm to plant. Photo/Courtesy of the student's parents

A Painting for a Purpose: Children's Actions for the Environment

This year, the Tzu Chi Education Foundation has carefully designed the Tzu Chi “Go Green Pledge.” Each task is a simple and easy-to-execute action that is easily overlooked by people in their daily lives, starting from the most minor daily steps to save energy, reduce carbon emissions, and protect the earth. With a series of Tzu Chi “Go Green Pledge,” students at Tzu Chi Walnut Elementary School have incorporated the environmentally friendly behaviors advocated by their teachers into their habits that will last a lifetime.

On the way home from school, children posed for photos with the wall of artwork. Photo/Michelle Young
Teachers and students of Tzu Chi Walnut Elementary School actively promote the Go Green Pledge at the end of the school day. Photo/Michelle Young

When you brush your teeth, if you're not gargling, you should turn off the water. If you don't turn off the water, you're wasting it.

Before the Great Kindness Challenge ended, the children transformed their environmental achievements into colorful splashes on the canvas, depicting their green actions with a paintbrush. Each artwork gives a unique insight and deep understanding of green living. These creative works were crafted into a spectacular artwork wall, which was not only exhibited at the school, but the children invited their parents to view it together during school days. Each piece of artwork shows the heart of a young environmentalist and encourages parents to join hands with their children in responding to Tzu Chi’s Go Green Pledge and to work together to paint a greener future for mankind!

Tzu Chi Great Love Preschool at Walnuts' parents are writing love blessings. Photo/Lifen Ren

The students and teachers painted the five continents as the background of the wall, indicating the hope of promoting Tzu Chi’s Go Green Pledge in every corner of the world. It can be said that everyone goes for green, and the earth will be revitalized with lotus flowers at every step. Hand in hand and heart to heart, all people are of one mind, taking the green pledge and protecting the blue sea and sky together.

In addition, the Foundation made a love tree on the office’s wall and invited people from all walks of life – camper students, parents of students, and preschool students – to write blessings on the tree during the Challenge. Parents of Tzu Chi Great Love Preschool, Walnut set an excellent example for their children by joining the Tzu Chi Go Green Pledge. They went to the school to help make red packets of blessings and affix them with blessings. The loving hearts, colorful and converging into a big, thriving tree, symbolized the common expectation and support of the entire community for environmental protection actions and deeply rooted the green concept in everyone’s heart.

The love hearts were like a warm hug in spring, filling the world with love and hope. Photo/Michelle Young
Small potted plants planted by the CEO of the Education Foundation in response to the Tzu Chi Go Green Pledge. Photo/Michelle Young

The CEO of the Tzu Chi Education Foundation responded positively to the Tzu Chi Go Green Pledge by planting small potted plants with his own hands. The green seedlings sprouted in the water and thrived. As the breeze came, the seedlings swayed with the wind, and love and hope spread to the world with the breeze. It can be said that the seedlings of compassion are planted in the heart, and there is warmth everywhere on earth.

Although the 2024 Great Kindness Challenge has concluded, the children’s green actions have not stopped. Every day, they are practicing the green concepts in their hearts. The green seeds sown in the children’s hearts will continue to take root and grow in their hearts, giving rise to a more lush forest of hope!

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