Our schools hold our most valuable resource, yet not much has been done to date on bringing green practices to mainstream school operations. But now, with recent Ontario government funding and some demonstration projects in the province, there is a growing need to understand how we can make our schools a healthier and more educational place for our children.
Like all approaches to sustainability, first focus for students, teachers or administrators is getting a solid and well defined plan in place. The plan is the backbone of the initiatives that a school seeks to establish. From starting with a small initiative to a plan that addresses all areas of school life, schools need a clear vision and defined goals to ensure resources and benefits are maximized.
After a plan is developed and agreed to by a board of stakeholders (students, teachers, parents), initiatives can be rolled out as set out in the plan. Results should be monitored to give everyone involved a picture of how well an initiative is working (or not). Its important to remember that the plan is a living document – if things are a miss, initiatives should be added, revamped, or removed to respond to recorded results and impacts.
There a variety of measures that students, teachers, and officials can implement to green their school, and there are endless degrees of engagement that a school can take on. From establishing extra-curricular green courses or renewable energy projects to simple recycling and resource conservation, with the help of a well developed and well defined plan, schools can have a tailored and dynamic green strategy to help ensure a clean, healthy, and educational environment for our children’s second home.