4 Ways Parents Can Green Their Childís School
By Marygrace Taylor
"Parents are some of the most important advocates for greening schools, because schools have to listen to them!" says Rachel Gutter, director of the U.S. Green Building Council Center for Green Schools. How to get the eco conversation started at your childís school in four easy steps:
1. Choose a cause Whether your focus is cleaner indoor air or water conservation, having an understanding of the green issues that are important to you will help you implement change more effectively. But it doesnít have to be complicated, says Allis of the Londonderry School. Itís about taking a moment to think about one area you think can be changed for the better, she says.
2. Join forces "This is the age of partnerships, when schools are struggling just to get by [financially]," says Gutter, who recommends connecting with other parents through the PTA, as well as other community members and even small businesses to bring about change. "When all of these forces join up with a local school, they can get amazing things done," she says.
3. Make a proposal "Donít just make a request—come up with ideas for a plan thatís easy for teachers to implement," says Allis. Instead of just suggesting the school starts a recycling program, for instance, teachers can have students collect paper once a week and bring it to a designated recycling spot. "That way, teachers are burdened less while students have the opportunity to learn something," says Allis. If you want to see your childís school reduce its CO2 output, propose a program—like enforcing a no-idling policy for school buses and parents waiting to pick up kids at the end of the day—to the school board.
4. Invest in the future If youíre able to get a program in place that saves money as well as resources (like by getting teachers to turn off lights and computers), show school officials the utility bill and work to negotiate for a percentage of the savings to go to other green projects, Gutter says.