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“Metaphorical hug” for globe in IHWO challenge

International House World Organisation is continuing to commit to its environmental sustainability strategy with a challenge for staff and students to choose walking over driving for short trips.

IH hopes to reach its target of 40,000km by December 31, 2021. Photo: Pexels

IH's intensive ELT short course arm IH InTuition has previously committed to achieving carbon negative operations

The 40,000 walk challenge – launched on October 1 – will see IH school staff and students around the world walk a combined 40,000km over three months, until December.

The distance, the same as the circumference of the earth, will mean the whole IH community will give the planet a “metaphorical hug”, according to the organisation.

“As a network of language schools that teaches over 200,000 students a year, we know we are in a position to make a positive impact,” Lucy Horsefield, managing director of IHWO, said.

“Our 40,000km walk challenge is a fun way to encourage our community to think about how they can change their daily habits”

“Our 40,000km walk challenge is a fun way to encourage the International House community to think about how they can change their daily habits and reduce harmful CO2 emissions.”

By substituting car journeys with those made on foot, the company hopes to “raise the issue of environmental sustainability throughout our network and within the language teaching industry as a whole”, she added.

It is also part of an ongoing commitment, the organisation has made, Horsefield noted.

IH’s intensive ELT short course arm IH InTuition has previously committed to achieving carbon negative operations, and its “Protect our Planet” initiative seeks to mitigate the company’s carbon emissions and impact on the environment.

As part of the new initiative, schools are being encouraged to “virtually” walk to each other, or “virtually meet” at a central point of interest, to create opportunities to engage with students and enrich the curriculum with environmental topics.

Additionally, the central IHWO team will be completing a “virtual” walk around the North Pole on the frozen Arctic Ocean, which will highlight the issues of the melting ice cap and the loss of habitat for polar bears and other rare arctic flora and fauna.

“All of these seek to safeguard our planet and minimise the negative impacts we have on our environment,” the company added.

“Our ambition is that the International House network of schools will lead the way in the ELT industry and make a real difference for the future of our precious planet.”

IH will track how many kilometres staff and student walk, and hopes to reach its target by December 31, 2021.

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