Monday, March 02, 2009

Greening Our Schools

They turn off the water when they brush their teeth. They shuffle the recycling bins to the end of the driveway. Paper or plastic? How about canvas?

With help from the kids, your home is getting greener by the day.

But what about that other place where they spend their days? Is your child's school as green as it could be?

Terra Wellington, author of "The Mom's Guide to Growing Your Family Green: Saving the Earth Begins At Home," says the effort "starts in your home and moves outward from there." Much like the anti-litter campaigns of the seventies, our children need to integrate good recycling habits by learning it culturally.

She outlines a complete "green school action blueprint" in her book, but shares these tips that parents can help implement in their child's school.

~Homework: Ask your child's teacher if some assignments can be printed on both sides of the paper. Paper consumption is automatically cut by 50%.

~Use and donate recycled paper rather than virgin paper. According to the Bureau of International Recycling, recycled paper not only saves trees, but the manufacturing of recycled paper generates 70% less air pollution and 35% less water pollution.

~Assign a "light monitor" to make sure lights are turned off and computers are in standby mode. A standby setting can reduce power over 90 percent, helping to conserve energy.

~Encourage "litter-less lunches" by packing lunches in reusable or recyclable material like aluminum foil which is endlessly recyclable. Ideally, any food waste should be composted and then used in a school vegetable garden maintained by students.

But perhaps the biggest impact for greening our schools is how we get there. By using the school bus we save energy and money. According to Wellington and the American School Bus Council (ASBC), diesel school buses:

~Take 36 cars off of the road per bus.

~Are 8 times safer than passenger cars and use more green diesel technologies.

~Save 3.1 billion gallons of fuel every year.

~If another 10% more children rode school buses, another 300 million gallons of fuel could be saved annually.

~The daily fuel cost to transport a child to school is $3.68 for a private vehicle but only $.73 if that child rides a school bus.

And to help your school get greener, IC Bus is sponsoring an essay contest for students to win a $3000 scholarship and a hybrid bus for their school. Students are asked to submit a 500 word essay on how their school is going green. Go to for more tips, contest details and to enter.

Entries are accepted until April 30, 2009--just in time to celebrate Earth Day.

Good green habits are great lessons for homework and in the classroom.

1 comment:

Holly said...

Better yet, homeschool! Green-est option of all, though I hadn't before thought of that as a reason for home educating.

Superior results, better planet.


Where's my bus?

Blessings, Holly