Wednesday, October 16, 2013

How schools can go #green

I’ve gotten a bit of a late start today in posting, but I wanted to get back to the green school “conversation” I started yesterday. I suppose you can say this is part two. The inspiration for these posts began when I – again – started complaining about the waste that comes home from the children’s schools on a regular basis.

watering can 2Instead of just complaining this year I decided to look into what other schools have accomplished and possibly help someone in implementing change in their local school or even in their home. I’m going to forward links to both of my children’s principal’s as well as the school board or other contact who seems fitting.

dilmah teaDid you get a chance to visit the site of Green School in Bali, Indonesia? They were voted "2012 Greenest School on Earth" by the U.S. Green Building Council Center for Green Schools. One of my favorite readers and bloggers, Ann I Am, mentioned in the last post’s comments (Green schools: How do they do it?) that her children’s school does a pretty good job of being green. They are conscientious about the amount of copy paper they use and keep lights off when a room is not in use.

Let’s explore the information provided on GreenSchools.net. Here’s the overview they provide:

The goals of a green school are to measure and reduce its ecological footprint while making the school environment healthier for students and staff as well as getting the community to consider solutions to environmental problems.

greenhouseThe Green Schools Initiative provides the necessary information to assist schools in doing just that. They use a “Four Pillars” framework, which integrates the three components mentioned in the overview: reducing schools’ ecological footprints, making healthier school environments and providing access to knowledge for communities so they will think of solutions to the ecological problems.

These four pillars begin the plans to becoming a green school, which – if I understand correctly – start with the Precautionary Principle of “Better Safe than Sorry.” They have the tools to assist: sample vision statement, information on forming a Green Committee and a Report Card Quiz that’s used to measure the greenness of the school. From there they’ll lead the school in each step to achieving their green goals. Things that are covered include everything from new construction, maintenance and food service to gardens, office supplies and classroom curricula.

That’s just the beginning. Schools’ administrators and their green committees should explore the site and use the resources available to becoming a green school if they do not pass the Report Card Quiz.

Examples of green schools can be found on the site under Green School Profiles. If, once the school takes the quiz, they achieve a score of 31 or more their profiles can also be listed.

Tomorrow will should be my last post on the subject. I’ll share a few other resources on the subject.

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Before you go, please answer these questions in the comment section: Do you think most schools have what it takes to reduce their carbon footprint? What do you think they should do first?