Everyone is keen to protect the environment, and schools today are driven by a highly vocal pressure group of small, eager faces who want to save the polar bear and protect trees; or older, more discerning, but no less vocal teenagers who want to discuss the issues of global warming versus climate change. Educate students! This is a school’s number one role in going green: change the mindset and behaviour of the next generation. Some Bangalore Schools should teach students about global warming, climate change, renewable resources and all of the exciting technologies utilizing these, about recycling of solid wastes and water, and about green building.
Being environmentally conscious is something that deserves more than simply a day or week in the school year. Neither is it just a lesson, but rather a way of life that needs to be taught to children of future generations, particularly on how they can take care of the environment. As centres of learning, schools also offer a prime opportunity to teach by example. Sustainable design and construction practices help achieve all these objectives.
There are numerous strategies that schools going green can adopt. Make all necessary building renovations or new buildings green. Building green means complying with green building standards such as LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design), administered by the U.S. Green Building Council. By meeting these standards schools can create a healthy environment that is conducive to learning while saving energy, resources and money. Minimize the use of paper in handouts to parents. In many cases parent communications can occur through email. When printing is necessary, use both sides of the paper. Recycling can include traditional recycling pickup of paper, metal, and glass products, as well as composting associated with a gardening program. Schools can recycle their printer cartridges, and earn money for the school for doing so through organizations. Schools can go further and involve the community by creating art projects such as a mosaic mural out of recycled materials from chipped coffee mugs, cracked china, and other non-porous items that ordinarily would have been headed for the garbage can.
Grow a garden, and integrate gardening into the curriculum. School gardens give students a wonderful outdoor botany laboratory, as well as education in sustainable environments, local growing seasons, and the nutritional value of locally grown fruits, vegetables and herbs. Rethink student transportation. Bus and car idling in parking lots leads to high levels of emissions into the atmosphere, so set up the pickup and drop off to minimize idling time. Turn off computers at the end of the day. Many schools in Bangalore have large computer labs, and turning them off, rather than leaving them in hibernation mode, can make a significant difference to electricity consumption.