Green is the New Crimson
It’s always encouraging to look to others for examples about creating green living programs. Whether you’re an elementary school teacher setting up your classroom desks for the year, or you’re a professor at a local university getting your podiums ready for this year’s lectures, there are always more ways that you could be encouraging recycling.
The Harvard Law School Green Living Program is certainly leading the way. They are in their 8 the moment as a peer-to-peer education program. They promote green living in the Harvard Law School dorms by connecting Green Living Representatives with other residents to teach them about energy and water conservation. They teach them, as well, about recycling and waste reduction and they sponsor all sorts of programs throughout the school year.
For instance, they had a recent program where the dorms competed to see which room could save the most energy over a given time period. They monitored the energy use of each room and announced the largest energy saver at the end of the program. Starting in 2011, the program made sure that there were compost centers available in every dorm and administrative building on the Harvard Law campus. This is another way that they encouraged more recycling and enabled people to do so with easy steps.
These are but a few of the many programs that the Harvard Law School Green Living Program has started. They are certainly a leader in the field of recycling and are one to look to as a model.
Recycling at School
Being environmentally conscious isn’t only for the hippies anymore. Every day the choices that we make can have a large impact on the environment and on our footprint in the world we live in. While we may be doing our own part, it’s possible that our schools aren’t doing theirs. Here are a few ways to help our schools to start to care more about the environment.
You can start by talking to the school principal, the district and the individual teachers about the importance of going green. They may not realize that this is even an issue, and if you give them concrete, easy suggestions for making a difference, they may be interested in implementing them.
One of the easiest suggestions is to cut down on paper use. Rather than Xeroxing notes for the kids to bring home, copying worksheets in school and relying so heavily on paper, schools can turn to the technology in front of them. There is no reason that a teacher can’t email the entire class with a reminder, or even with a homework assignment. Today, there are all sorts of options for teachers to communicate with their students via chat rooms, classroom computer centers and more. They can significantly cut down on their paper use in this way. If each child has a computer table and a computer and knows how to be part of the community, they will get their notices, homework assignments and even tests online.
The entire school can start a recycling program. Recycling together is fun and incredibly easy. Next to the cafeteria tables and the classroom chairs, they can put out bins for recycling and the students can recycle their water bottles from lunch, other bottles that they see around the school, paper and any other items that their county recycles. They can even create a recycling competition, whereby one class receives a reward each month (for instance) if they are the ones with the most recycling.
All of these ideas can help a school to be more environmentally conscious and to help the students to learn about recycling and green living.
Environmentally- Friendly Lunch Box
While most of us think about our homes and our cars when we hear the words “green living” we can also do our part with our children and their school day. Green living really means thinking about the environment in your daily life and finding ways to reduce your carbon footprint and your reliance on gas-guzzling, energy-guzzling items.
Here are six simple ways that you can send your children off to school with a greater sense of environmental awareness and with an understanding that they, too, can work to reduce their environmental impact on a daily basis. First of all, as the kids get ready to head back to their classes, they are probably expecting new clothes, new classroom furniture and new play equipment in the school. You can help to save money and the environment by doing a clothing swap with friends or by visiting second hand stores. If you absolutely must buy new clothes, check out the stores that have natural fibers and that care about sustainability and the environment.
Give your kids reusable lunch boxes and reusable containers for their food. If you think about how many disposable bags are used each day in schools across America, it’s no wonder that our landfills are filled to capacity.
Think about how your kid gets to school and how much gas this trip costs. Can you form a carpool to get your kids there? Is the school close enough that you can walk your child there or ride bikes?
Use gently used school supplies. Look around the house before you go out to buy those shiny new supplies – you just might have most of the items you need already in the house.
Send your kid with a reusable water bottle. They get thirsty during the day and should certainly have something to drink – but they don’t need a new container every day.
Innovative Furniture Ideas Can Help Protect the Environment
As technology develops, parents and school districts are becoming more involved in environmental efforts. Preserving our planet for future generations is undeniably important, and green living and recycling efforts have more immediate effects as well, including cleaner, healthier learning environments.
According to GreenSeal.org, “green schools have a considerable impact on improving student health, the environment, student and teacher performance and decreasing operating costs.” The organization goes on to explain that shifting product and service purchases to be more environmentally friendly is a good place to start.
For example, certain paints, stains and finishes are created to meet environmental requirements without compromising performance. School desks and chairs can be colored with these products, which have limited levels of VOC (volatile organic compound) to minimize indoor and outdoor air pollution. Toxic chemicals commonly found in paints and stains, including benzene, formaldehyde and heavy metals, are forbidden. Green paints are also contained in packaging made from recycled materials.