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How to make your School Green this year

A visually and functionally green learning environment can help the future eco-warriors. 

The irresponsible handling of our planet is becoming more visible and heartbreaking day after day. Adopting sustainable habits in ways that contribute to environmental protection is necessary across every walk of life, including schools. And while altering the entire school's environmental policies in an instant may not be possible, we can concentrate on the changes that are possible. 

The learning environment has a substantial impact on children's character traits and personality development, which is why implementing direct green steps to make schools greener is vital. Going green can help educate young minds with knowledge about global issues, making them more vigilant and aware of environmental protection. 

Here are a few ideas for faculty, students, and parents to help school life and surroundings become greener:

  1. Eco-Friendly transportation 
  2. Make recycling a priority
  3. Sustainable school essentials 
  4. More Greens For Lunch 
  5. Lower power consumption
  6. Start Eco Clubs 

Let us look at these options:

  • Eco-Friendly transportation 

Air pollution from transportation is the largest GHG patron in the United States, accounting for about 29% of the country's total GHG emissions. A serious threat not just to the environment but to humans as well. This makes sustainable transportation a smart mitigating solution. It can help reduce the environmental impact of transportation and also improve health. If the school is located in the same block or bikeable area, opt for a greener mode of transportation. This is an awesome daily mode of transport for both students and faculty. If the school is situated even closer, choose to walk. These conscious actions will decrease traffic, pollution, and carbon emissions. 

  • Make recycling a priority

It's no news that schools throw out paper, cans, plastic water bottles, and snack wrappers. It may well be impossible to keep track of every last thing that gets thrown, but there is something we can do and that is to give 'recycling' the center stage. Make the most of curbside recycling by sorting the recyclables into the appropriate bin– dry waste vs. wet waste. When it's time to say adiós the old school books and clothes, apply the same recycling principle— resell/ donate to local thrift stores or online platforms that support impactful causes. For example, TextbooksForChange contributes to education in East Africa through textbook donations. Then, there are organizations like the American Red CrossPlanet AidThe Salvation ArmyPick Up Please, and more, that give old clothes a second life (visit the websites to see a list of things they accept). The possibilities of recycling are endless— all you have to do is look up, ask around, and reach out. 

  • Sustainable school essentials 

Purchasing school supplies like backpacks made from sustainable or recycled materials can go a long way. This shouldn't be hard as many conscious brands offer ethical college backpacks. Sustainable backpacks can help reduce waste, lower carbon impact, and promote environmental initiatives. The same goes for other school essentials like notepad, fabric pencil case, computer sleeve, etc. Purchase pens and other stationery made from recycled materials. Get environmentally friendly cases to carry the items. Terra Thread's canvas pencil pouch is made of fairtrade organic cotton and is spacious enough to accommodate classroom-learning essentials, in case you want to check out. Further, pack food in eco-friendly zip locks and lunchbox bags, and of course, carry reusable water bottles. 

black backpack

  • More greens for lunch 

No, we don't mean embracing a herbivorous diet (which is not a bad idea). All we're saying is to increase your greens intake. Green vegetables are healthier and have a smaller environmental impact, around 10 to 50 times less than meat products. Meat and dairy contribute around 14.5% of global GHGs emissions. Help cut down the emission volume by reserving two days in a week as meat-free. Or, even start with one day if you're a meat lover. You can also take things to the next level by considering growing your fruits and vegetables— pick some tricks of the trade through books, online platforms, and local community gardens on starting kitchen gardens. Colleges and schools can partner with local organic farms and farmers to source fresh greens and even meat for their students and staff.

  • Lower power consumption

Let go of the ignorance that leaving appliances in standby mode does not impact energy consumption because it does. Turn off electronics (lights, fans, charging stations) in the classroom when not needed. Switch off the aircon from the main switch and not just the remote. Make proposals to the school administration to install LED light bulbs over incandescent lights for the entire school— ENERGY STAR-rated LED lights consume 75% less energy and have 25 times higher durability

  • Start Eco Clubs 

As a teacher, give the students a compelling reason to respond such as standing for a cleaner, healthier future. Climate change activism is already at the hearts of the younger generations. And, maybe there are eco-warriors in the classrom eager to make a change but simply waiting for a green signal? As a student, initiate clubs with your environmentally conscious classmates. Alongside a group of people who share your green beliefs can help in taking bolder steps for a louder outcome. 

"In 2030, the younger generation will be the central working force in society and is expected to make real efforts to create a sustainable future and likely play a substantial role in achieving the SDGs," says Shinji Kaneko, a professor with NERPS at Hiroshima University. The younger generations are the shapers of our tomorrow— we can help them blossom towards the right direction by starting with greening the learning environment.

Related blogs:

How is UCLA embracing sustainability?

The Importance of Sustainable Backpacks For Back To School

Must-Have Sustainable Products for Back to School

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