On Tuesday, January 3, 2012, it was publicized that California schools can now apply for the first Green Ribbon Award, a Department of Education program that was announced to the public back in April 2011 that will honor the nation’s most eco-friendly schools. The schools will be judged on their net-impact on the environment, the students’ knowledge about environmental issues, and how these green practices affect the overall health and performance of the children, teachers, and staff.
While this is a great initiative that will both educate our younger generation and save the schools some money (through energy efficiency, recycling, etc.), if you’re living in an area in which many are not green-focused, it’s tempting to label your child’s school a loss cause. However, by showing an interest in eco-awareness programs, you can lead the way to making your local school and community a little greener. Here are three good suggestions for the next PTA meeting.
A Recycling Program
Suggest recycling as a way to teach children that items can be put to a good use after they’re finished with them. Even the parents who find environmentalism irrelevant will likely agree with the importance of teaching children not to waste unnecessarily. If something can be used again, it should be. It saves everyone money, and saves the planet.
An Organic Garden Club
This would give children a chance to learn science and health while getting a real workout in the process! By using organic growing methods, the children will not be subjected to harsh chemicals and will understand that they are not necessary for maintaining a garden. Plus, they’ll see firsthand how hard work can lead to real benefits. This is, again, a lesson with which most parents can agree.
A Carpooling Program
Why should everyone waste gas when they’re all going to the same place? This is unnecessarily devastating to both the environment and the pocket book. A carpooling program saves money and allows volunteering parents, teachers, staff members, and students to get to know each other a little better, instilling a sense of community in your neighborhood.
Once the benefits of these three programs really start to take effect, you may find that the other parents and teachers have a greater interest in saving money and teaching through the implementation green programs. Maybe they’ll even discover that eco-friendly living is not as difficult as it seems and will join you in the cause. With a bit of work, you can bring your local school one step closer to that green ribbon.
Sara Jane Pohlman “Green Ribbon Award Nominations Sought” Lodi News Sentinel
Department of Education “Department of Education Starts to Award for ‘Green’ Schools”
More from this contributor:
Five Tips for Staying Green This Winter
Green Ways to Go Back to School
Ten New Uses for that Old Toothbrush