Welcome to Sustainable Baby Steps

Give me 7 days and I'll have you so crunchy you'll have to change your name to Moonbeam. (Plus, you'll get inbox love from me. And everybody wants my inbox love.)

Get the Free Guide

Green School Initiatives:
Advice That Works Wonders for Parents

What are the benefits of green school initiatives? Energy awareness, water, conservation, recycling, community cleanup camps and many nature lessons have emerged as effective environment-oriented techniques across the world. On similar lines, these eco-friendly school initiatives work to create abundant opportunities for parents and children to realize their goals towards environmental enrichment.

Being aware of your responsibilities is a step closer to making your contribution in being eco-friendly. Environmental education, although implemented to a restricted level, can benefit children in protecting the environment and creating a better and cleaner world to live in.

Green school initiatives: Promising future for children

A green school essentially integrates the environment throughout the school in a variety of ways (mainly through academics, operations, student and community engagement). With integrated environmental content in school curriculum and policies facilitating regular environment friendly activities, the green schools aim to inculcate healthy and eco-friendly initiatives.

The green schools are aimed to provide a promising future for children so that they (and their future generations) emerge active eco-friendly protagonists.

Better awareness and performance of children

Research and testing reveals that environmental education can improve an average learner's classroom performance. With diversified impact on personality, environment learning can make good students great.

A study from Seer.org shows that students who enrolled in a comprehensive environmental education program scored higher than their contemporaries who did not receive environmental education. Research indicates that environmental education entails elaborate intelligence skills of children. This can result into higher test scores and learning skills. Learning through visualization, physical actions and other senses facilitate a complete interaction of children's skills.

Healthier, functional and motivated living

Environmental education provides greater awareness of (environmental) health risks. Being ignorant of the natural consequences of toxic chemicals, water pollution, asbestos and ozone pollution can have lasting effects on the well-being. Environment learning integrates knowledge and action which goes a long way in staying healthy, both individually and in a community. The skills imparted in combating potential risks and threats to health can help children remain safe.

Besides, the knowledge is not limited your children. It essentially passes to future generations (and their off-springs), creating a host of benefits. Environmental activities also facilitate motivation for children to emerge as better citizens for their nation. The fact that their small contributions can bring potential (positive) alterations in nature can keep them motivated to do more and more. It also provides an able platform to share their talents and ideas. Children also develop as able adults with understanding about practical world and its implications.

Gearing up for future

Green school initiatives also aim at reducing the drop-out rate in schools. Environmental education can emerge as an interesting subject for children with more meaningful implications. This is helpful in controlling discipline-related problems like those pertaining to indiscipline and absenteeism. This can serve an effective pathway for more and more children successfully graduating to enhance their earning capabilities.

The problem-solving and independent nature of environmental education programs better prepare students to successfully face the hardships of real life. This is helpful in the school-college transition where students (usually) are not confident of their skills.

Environmental literacy can also serve a sound platform for major job opportunities in an economy. Economists are of the opinion that environmental and energy subjects shall emerge at par with the Internet and computer technology in times to come. With more and more economies concentrating on alternative energy resources and greener alternatives, environment learning and awareness is potentially one of the hottest topics of discussion for major community campaigns. Entrepreneurs also find the green ideas tempting and innovative.

Practical implications of green school initiatives

There are ample opportunities for parents and children to actively participate in contributing towards nature's sustainability. Waste-free lunch is a simple initiative parents can take as their first step towards integrating knowledge and application of environment sustainability. It is one of the quickest and easiest steps for greening your child.

Teaching the 'waste not, want not' policy can be effectively implemented with packing litter-free lunch for children. This is a direct saving on the solid waste which comes from schools. Besides being inspiring, waste-free lunch is also a way to discipline children. Using reusable non-plastic containers (even sandwich wraps) can save on the wastage. Sustainable food or reusable trays can also be motivating.

Energy-efficient projects like rain garden, upgrades and retrofits to school building, pollinator garden, composting, rain water retention system, etc. can serve good tools in making the environment healthier and functionally effective. Some schools also provide customized tool kits to help parents and children implement greening techniques effortlessly. Carpooling and walking are also effective green initiatives.

A green school initiatives team with other parents, teachers or students can also serve motivating for individuals to work together on diverse environment oriented programs. It can also be extended to incorporate a community for extended benefits.

Making an inventory can enable you monitor your effectiveness in implementing a program. Volunteer to help teachers engage students for utilizing their analytical skills to ascertain school's garbage or energy wastage. This not only goes in creating awareness (of the wastage of scarce resources) but also gives practical lessons.

Incorporating green school initiatives into personal habits, like buying recycled school supplies, can bring positivity in your shopping. Some art supplies have harmful chemicals and should not be used. Parent behaviors can set encouraging examples for children. Consider the alternatives which can save on resources. Minimizing electricity wastage and using green and energy saving electronic items can give the right message to children for incorporating environment-friendly components in lifestyle. Set a day, like Earth Day, wherein you voluntarily switch off electricity for some time to ease off the power grid.

The enthusiasm of having environment education in school curriculum is certainly an encouragement for parents and children. However, it is also true that environmental learning usually remains limited to the books and class rooms. The practical and functional aspects of nature lessons need to serve beyond theory; practical solutions are needed for the present and future generations for enhanced sustainability of the planet and really expand beyond only green school initiatives.

Alia Haley is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on technology and autos, but recently an article on green schools attracted her attention. These days she is busy in writing an article on healthy green herbs.

7 Day Treehugger Kickstart