As the real effects of climate change slowly sink into the minds of today’s adult generation, we’ve had quite a bit of un-learning to do for how we go about our everyday lives. We’re increasingly focused on reducing our carbon footprint, but it’s a difficult transition after years of being comfortable with drinking water out of plastic bottles, driving gas-guzzling vehicles and throwing away all the leftovers of our consumption instead of reusing and recycling. But if effective climate education takes place in our children’s schools, the next generation will be better equipped to tackle the challenges that face our climate than we were. To that end, here are five ways our schools can be more environmentally friendly:
1.) Cultivating a Community Garden on Campus.
Not only are gardens a great hands-on learning tool to supplement science education for schoolchildren, but they also present an opportunity to teach students about the environment, sustainable food and the importance of buying locally-grown produce. They can also serve as a double benefit; when the garden becomes productive, the school can donate organically-grown produce to local food banks, helping to promote food security in their neighborhoods.
2.) Measure Current Recycling Efforts and Aim to Increase Them.
Many schools already have recycling programs in place for materials like paper, plastic and aluminum. Schools can do more in this area by measuring how much they recycle in a typical week or month. After this data has been gathered, schools can aim to increase that amount incrementally each month.
3.) Implementing Compost Bins.
Schools can compost yard waste, such as grass clippings and leaves that maintenance crews handle, and food scraps from the cafeteria each day in composting bins and use the compost in the school garden. High school shop students can get involved in the construction of these bins and students can volunteer to help compost.
4.) Newly built schools can be built green.
There’s not nearly as much we can do to make a physical school building more green once it’s been built, but when new school facilities are planned, they should be built to meet green standards. For instance, Tarkington Elementary School, a new K-8 school on Chicago’s Southwest side, was built to meet the stringent standards of the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council. The school implements natural light, recycled glass in the flooring and ceilings made from wood that was logged in an environmentally-responsible way. Learn more about how this school was built green here.
5.) School-wide events.
Schools can implement events that encourage students to be more eco-conscious, like a “No-Waste Lunch Day” where students and staff aim to throw away as little waste as possible at the end of the day. You can also challenge students to compete to see who can recycle the most aluminum cans in a month. Neighborhood clean-ups where children and teens gather recyclable items throughout the community also make for a great eco field trip.
This guest post is contributed by Kitty Holman, who writes on the topics of nursing colleges. She loves to write health, environment, parenting, education related articles. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: email@example.com