Lost Property: After the Summer Holidays - An Installation

Lost Property Sept2019
NEWS / 12 September 2019

A student standing amidst the debris of discarded books, water bottles, and uniforms. Do teenagers really value protecting our environment or are our protests just a load of hot air? ... by Sarah Jerrard-Dunne (2nd Year)

Down the school stairs, we went, and I could already hear the sound of marching and drums coming from our newly refurbished Herzog room. As we entered, I heard voices and realized they were coming from a speaker in the room, it was a recent recording of students from our school and other people speaking about climate change and pollution at a protest march we'd attended in the city center a few months previously.

We listened to familiar voices speaking about saving the planet, but all the while there was a massive pile of items from shoes to water bottles to lunch boxes with moldy sandwiches scattered across the floor. I recognized it as all the unclaimed items of last school year's lost property.

It was ironic hearing ourselves shouting for a change in how we take care of our planet, while we neglect and abuse our own personal property, leaving it in the school's hands just to be thrown away to ultimately end up in landfill, contradictory to the hand-painted posters we'd created that had also been placed along the walls surrounding the detritus.

From the moment we walked in, the room smelled so musty I could almost taste it at the back of my throat, from moldy food, dusty jackets, jumpers, coats, shirts, hoodies, shoes, skirts, socks, books, copies, folders, water bottles and much more that had been sitting collecting dust for the entire summer.

I could only imagine the pure horror of a parent if they walked in and saw how little the regard for these expensive items that they invested in for their children. For reference, here's our 2019 uniform list with prices, from what I could see there was at least one of everything on this list in the pile, in most cases much more than that.


I think that young people are very fast to call out politicians, brands, social media influencers etc. about their lack of regard for the environment, we'll share posts on social media about how the amazon is burning down, how the seas are full of plastic and how going vegan will save the earth, but do we really care? If we will then very hypocritically have no regard for our own carbon footprint on the earth and not even stop to think about how losing books, clothes, and other items at school can have a bigger environmental effect than we may think.

I hope that after seeing all the items we’ve left behind combined with the climate change protest, we’ll think more before leaving our things lying around the place.

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The Writer's Group 2020 publish their eZine

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