Schools are having a rough time right now. State governments across the country have been implementing cuts in their education budgets, making it that much harder for them to thrive and develop in the 21st century. I think that going green would be a great boon to many schools looking to modernize and economize their facilities, and at no expense to their surrounding environment.
But what exactly does it mean for a school to “go green?” It’s not as if students and teachers can band together to cover a school with solar panels on a whim. No, for a school to go green means that it would adopt and promote small environmental initiatives over a long timeframe meant to help the facilities and educate students at the same time. Some schools are going green, but most are stuck in the dark ages of environmental and energy waste. Here’s why those schools should go green.
It’s financially responsible
The Center for Green Schools defines a green school as “a school that creates a healthy environment that is conducive to learning while saving energy, resources, and money.” Notice that the definition mentions saving money in addition to environmental resources. Green is synonymous with energy efficiency, and that can mean huge savings if done right. Schools that implement a greener infrastructure will be saving tons of money on energy costs, and that’s great news since they little money to spare. Simple policies like conserving electricity use and switching to more efficient lighting techniques can save schools a fortune.
Environmental education at an early age
The true benefit of green schools isn’t just in the monetary savings, but in the education it can provide to its students. Elementary schools and high schools have a real and promising opportunity to change the way that their students perceive the world around them, and that’s a powerful tool at their disposal. Schools that choose to promote green and environmental initiatives can build a student body that understands and appreciates the fragility of the environment, and the necessity of preserving it. Children don’t have to take their world for granted, and that awareness can start in the schools.
Leading the community by example
There was an inspiring article in The Huffington Post that discussed how a 3rd grade class in an elementary school in Queens won a national recycling competition. The competition was meant to teach students how to properly store and separate recyclable products and waste products. The third graders of Pioneer Academy took to the task with zeal, earning a score higher than any other school involved. The competition was sponsored by The Green Schools Alliance, a nonprofit organization that encourages schools to tackle green initiatives with gusto.
This is just one of the many examples of how a school can be the leader of a community in green initiatives. By setting a positive example, the students of a green school can inspire further green programs and projects in their community. It’s a way for schools and students to give back to their surroundings.
Giving students green ideas for college
My last point may be the most critical to my argument. While green schools are important parts of the overall green movement in this country, it is also just the beginning of it. The students inspired by lessons on environmental issues and green programs are the ones that will lead the next generation of professionals to tackle bigger problems down the line. If elementary schools can successfully encourage their students to be a green leader in their community, perhaps they will further develop that sense of leadership in college and beyond. The children are the future, after all; let’s make sure they inherit and develop a green future.
[Guest blogger and freelance writer, Mariana Ashley, hopes to help prospective students and parents in making online college comparisons so they can find the schools that work best for them. She welcomes your emails at email@example.com.]