What Schools Can Do For The Environment
We became an environmental science school 3 years ago and in that time we have made many changes schoolwide. In the course of that time we also developed a list of simple things schools can do to help stop global warming and now we are going to help our whole school district go green. Here are the things that can easily be done at schools.
**** Schools are big paper consumers.
This year we used 100 less reams of paper by doing the following:
- Remind teachers to always copy on both sides of the paper. The money and energy used to copy on both sides is much less than the money and energy needed to produce a new piece of paper to copy on. Make large posters and place them right near the copy machine to remind everyone.
- Make "Reuse" boxes and put them by each copy machine. We all make mistakes when we make copies. When you do, you can save the paper in the "Reuse" box so someone else can come along and use the other side of the paper. If you have computer printers in your school or fax machines, these papers can easily be reused in either of those machines.
- Use recycled or partially recycled copy paper. If the cost exceeds the usual amount that you pay for copy paper, it will be offset by the savings you make when using less paper, as mentioned above. Try Office Depot or Kelly Paper where you can buy large quantities for your school.
- Recycle paper that cannot be used again. When we began our school wide recycling program, we found that we had very little waste each day in each classroom. Most of what leaves the classroom is recyclable. Use recyclable cardboard boxes and place one or two in each classroom next to the trash can.
***** See what can be reused or recycled at the lunch tables.
- Our students use cardboard lunch trays each day. Instead of throwing them away, they now put them in the recycling container.
- If students bring plastics beverage containers to school make sure they are recycled rather than thrown away, In California there is a redemption value that makes plastic worth more than aluminum.
- Start a sharing table. If students find that they cannot finish items that are in their lunch, they place it on the sharing table for other, hungrier students to take.
- We have a garden and a small composter. If there are any scraps left after lunch (even in the staff room) save them for the composter and make some nice fertilizer for your garden.
******* MORE SIMPLE THINGS SCHOOLS CAN DO!!!
- Show the film "An Inconvenient Truth" to the staff members. School teachers, administrators and staff have devoted their lives to bettering the future of children. If we cannot stop the increase of global warming they will not have the bright futures we have prepared them for. Surprisingly, many educators have not yet seen the film or are not well informed about global warming. Viewing this film motivated many staff members at my school to become involved in bettering the environmental future of our planet.
- Have a free showing of "An Inconvenient Truth" for parents. We had 2 showings with subtitles in different languages. Many parents thanked us for sharing the information with them.
- Sell CFL (Low Energy Bulbs) as a fundraiser. We made several thousand dollars for our school, but more important, hundreds of bulbs went out into the school community for use in the home, cutting down on energy use and saving families money. We worked with www.lightsforlearning.org to produce this fundraiser.
- Encourage staff members to carpool. Have a regular raffle for those that are carpooling. (It's always fun to win something -- restaurant gift certificates are always a favorite -- and it really motivates people).
SCHOOLS ARE LARGE COMMUNITIES THAT WILL TAKE NEW IDEAS HOME WITH THEM! HOW EASY IT WILL BE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!