By Amanda Wilkes:
Where do your children spend a majority of their time? Is it in a toxic-free, sustainable, green environment that serves healthy food? These are conditions you are able to provide when your child is home, but what about when your child is at school? Primary age students spend nearly 943 hours in school each year. That is significant exposure to whatever is in their surroundings.
The Green Schools Initiative is a nonprofit, volunteer organization that relies on dedicated parents, teachers, staff, school board members and students to transform their school into a “model of sustainability.” Through these efforts, students and the community learn to foster a toxin free, resource sustainable, healthy green space through exposure to environmental education. The Green Schools Initiative provides a “Four Pillars” framework that outlines the effort communities should take to reduce schools’ ecological footprints.
With the Green Schools Initiative, we are able to protect our students’ health by banning pesticides, improving indoor air quality and nutrition, reducing the waste of paper and energy, and decreasing carbon emissions. The Green Schools Initiative also has found a rise in test scores by exposing more “daylighting,” or natural light, into a classroom and providing more hands-on environmental curricula. Through these practices, we are teaching our kids to make the difference and be “global citizens.” They will learn and grow to be individuals who are innovators and activists for the environment we ALL live in.
There are endless ideas for ways to Green Your School, on the Green Schools Initiative website. You can look to their site also for Inspiration and discover schools in the U.S. that already have begun their journey toward becoming a green school. Finally, you can begin to Take Action by working with your local school board to pass a framework that initiates healthy and sustainable schools.
If you aren’t quite convinced that this initiative is necessary … see what these Green Schools are doing to develop and nurture our students’ familiarity with, concern for, and activism toward a healthier and more sustainable world. You will be happy to know what some of our youth are already experiencing and the mindset they are naturally driven to have by implementing the Green Schools Initiative.