Green in EducationPosted: June 24, 2024

Prelude

My time at university has taught me that students want drastic environmental change, yet they often feel powerless in their ability to bring about change due to a lack of knowledge, awareness and other required characteristics. As educators, schools have the responsibility to ensure that students are empowered to bring about change since climate change is something that will impact their entire lives and generations to come. This Universal Guide is meant to serve as a barebones framework for schools implementing sustainable education in their curriculum. If you have any questions, please contact me.

Plastics are linked to numerous cardiovascular diseases, leak toxins in the air, and are a large contributor to the decreasing amount of oxygen in the air. Click here for more information. The benefit of such an extensive policy is that students get used to the reality that plastics are unnecessary and realize that there are many alternatives that already exist for plastics.

  1. Elimination of Plastics
    1. Plastic Straws
      1. Optimal Solution: Elimination of all straws. Straws are unnecessary.
        1. Alternatively, if straws are needed, avocado straws can be used. While expensive, they biodegrade in 10 days, making them the most optimal because they decompose faster than paper straws.1
      2. Short Solution: Paper Straws.2
      3. Long Term: Metal Straws.
      4. New Research:
        1. Plastic biodegradable straws and bags were buried under the soil for 3 years. Research shows that since plastic is still plastic, it is not environmentally friendly.
    2. Plastic Bags
      1. Optimal Solution: Elimination of all plastic bags. Sell cloth bags with the crest in the Den and charge students an extra $1 for using bags at the cafe. Provide cloth bags at the cafe.
      2. Short Term: Offer paper and reusable bags
      3. Practical Solutions:
        1. Using bed sheets, paper and cloth bags to bring in projects.
          1. Using a plastic bag results in a 2% deduction.
        2. Provide students with a discount if they purchase an item at school with their own bag.
    3. Garbage Bags
      1. Solution: Use Reusable Garbage Bags. There is no other solution. 3
    4. Enforcement of Plastic Bottle Ban
      1. Charge students $2 for bringing in a plastic bottle. The money can be used to fund environmental initiatives at the school;.

The primary benefit for raising awareness is that it forces individuals to engage the real world in a practical way – which causes them to think of new innovative ways that they can greenify their lives.

  1. Awareness Campaigns
    1. Tree Planting
      1. Work with various organizations/cities to organize weekly/monthly/bi-monthly (e.t.c) tree planting in their community. There are numerous programs, in Canada, for example that work with schools to plant trees and engage in environmental stewardship.
      2. For example, if high school students are looking for community service hours, they can participate in the City of Toronto’s Community Stewardship Program.4
      3. Alternatively, if there are no tree-planting initiatives being offered, schools can work with different organizations such as those focused on bee conservation and water conservation.
    2. 5Environmental Conference
      1. Short Term: Two environmental conferences a year discussing problems and how to improve each other’s schools’ green footprint.
        1. In light of the current situation, they can be done via a video conference. One of the schools that should be involved should be Dunbarton – the greenest school in the world
      2. Long Term: The formation of an Environmental Association of Schools in each province/state/county that set environmental standards for educational institutions. Aim to work with the appropriate government to ensure enforcement.
    3. An annual Earth Week.
      1. Each day can be a different environmental theme.
      2. To encourage “buying in”, organize an Earth Day competition between students(like, in which each game has some sustainability component).
      3. On the Monday following the Earth Week, students should reflect on their week by expressing their thoughts in class
      4. Following this, a guest speaker can be invited.
    4. Keynote Speakers6 to talk about environmental importance.
    5. Recycling
      1. Mandatory workshops for all students at the beginning of the year concerning proper sorting.

The benefits of greenifying a school are to promote clean and healthy living, and to get students to realize that despite how society is structured, we are a part of the environment – therefore an environmental damage harms us.

  1. Design
    1. Indoor Vertical Gardens
      1. Examples of plants include:
        1. Pothos
        2. Janet Craig’s
        3. Dracenas’
      2. Health Benefits include:
        1. Purifying up to 90% of common household air toxins.
        2. Acts as a carbon sink, which allows for more oxygen in the atmosphere
      3. Additional Benefits:
        1. Acts as a natural ventilation system.
        2. The soothing nature of the plants add up to 15% greater productivity.
    2. Sensory Garden to Combat Mental Health
      The room should be full of Indoor Vertical Gardens
      1. Ultra-Violet lights in a dark room
        1. Yoga, bouncing and Stress Balls
        2. Dark purple, green and other cool colours.
  2. Educational Recommendations
    1. Curriculum
      1. Teachers should incorporate the importance for the environment in every lesson. Without emphasizing environmental importance, students will not develop a sense of immediate responsibility towards the environment.7
      2. Whether as part of the final assessment, or as a regular project, a project should be assigned which the goal should be to solve an environmental problem.
        1. Students should not only be rewarded on their academic application, but also their creativity and ingenuity.
    2. Arts Project
      1. Urges that the Arts department do at least 1 environmental focused project per year. This can increase student and staff appreciation of green spaces and the environment.
        1. Media Arts Example: Students do a photo essay about green spaces and urban biodiversity.
        2. Visual Arts Example: Students do an environment- themed exhibit for Earth Week, such as a diorama or mural.

  1. https://tiendabiofase.com.mx/product
  2. https://www.google.ca/search?q=paper+straws+wholesale+canada&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-ca&client=safariS/popote-estuchado-de-semilla-de-aguacate-wrapped-straw/
  3. https://www.planetwiseinc.com/planet-wise-reusable-trash-bag.html
  4. https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/get-involved/volunteer-with-the-city/community-stewardship-program/
  5. https://www.torontogreen.ca/
  6. http://keynotespeakerscanada.ca/canadian-industry-experts/environment
  7. http://resources4rethinking.ca/en/, has more than 1000 quality classroom resources including activities, videos, children literature, and lesson plans about the environment and sustainability.