Sometimes it seems overwhelming to try to make an impact on this world of ours. We’re living in a stressful time, and it’s tough to even know where to begin to make a difference.
Often, students and their communities can begin by focusing on environmental changes. By making pretty simple alterations, from starting a recycling club to selecting eco-friendly graduation gear, schools can impact the earth in a positive way.
Here are a few ways to inspire your school to help protect our environment:
Schools can easily implement ways to save trees by finding methods to use less paper. Many students and teachers already frequently use Chromebooks and Google Classroom instead of paper for instruction. This trend can continue and expand as more learning and assessing take place online. Additionally, schools can give parents the opportunity to sign all forms online instead of filling out mounds of paperwork at the start of the school year. Districts can also offer students access to online textbooks and workbooks. When the school needs to send out a notification about an upcoming event like picture day or the school carnival, they can send an email, make an all-call via a telephone system, or use an app like Remind instead of sending home hundreds of papers that often get left behind in backpacks.
Look around your school. Are there items that are packaged in a way that could be more environmentally friendly? This is usually centered around the school cafeteria. So many items that were once reusable have now become disposable. Styrofoam trays and plastic utensils are thrown away by students every day. Plastic water bottles are sold instead of encouraging students to bring their own refillable bottles. Individually packaged condiments and plastic bowls and cups filled with fruits get tossed into school trash cans. It’s important to invest in more durable and reusable packaging for food. Washing trays, cups, bowls, and utensils takes more effort, but it will make a huge impact on the earth. Student lunches and their packaging generate an excessive amount of unnecessary waste.
Encourage students who are passionate about environmental causes to take the lead in your school by starting a recycling club. This group can be in charge of making sure each classroom has a recycling bin and helping collect the recyclables on a weekly basis. This crew can also help sort cafeteria packaging so more of it can be recycled. If the students feel motivated to do so, they can even raise money to support earth-friendly organizations they are passionate about.
Make a district plan to make positive environmental changes for the long run. Start by planting trees in the schoolyard. Then, students and teachers can expand this greenery by working together to build a garden that is not only healthy for the environment, but also a great learning experience as well. Furthermore, the school can find an area to compost their organic waste and use it to supplement their garden.
Schools need to buy goods that aren’t harmful to the earth. Switching from pens to exclusively wooden pencils can make a huge difference. Furthermore, getting rid of as many plastic school supplies as possible and replacing them with wooden ones (protractors, rulers, etc.) can also have a big impact. When possible, teachers should require crayons and colored pencils instead of markers. Some companies, such as Graduation Source, are offering environmentally friendly cap and gown options that are made from partially recycled materials, which allows consumers to make a more eco-conscious choice. Making numerous buying decisions that are geared at reducing waste help makes the environment cleaner and safer.
Students are looking for a way to be a positive change in this world. They have an optimistic outlook that they can make the earth a better place. With minor changes and wiser choices, schools can help students make a bigger impact on the environment. When schools encourage and support positive environmental efforts, everyone wins—students, teachers, parents, community members, and our world.