Celebrated annually on April 22, Earth Day was launched in1970 in the form of protests against 150 years of industrial revolution and asa result, President Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency.Now comprising over a billion people from 192 countries, Earth Day featurescampaigns ranging from green cities to endangered species, reforestation andclimate change.
There is also an educational initiative which is committedto greening every school in the United States within a generation. Greenschools includes five key pillars – facilities, food, schoolyard &outdoors, transportation and environmental education – and has various focusareas including air quality, public school funding, increasing jobs,environmentally-friendly products, greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency,teaching opportunities, classroom acoustics and water quality.
There are several local organisations committed tosustainable practices in the Australian education system, including Eco-SchoolsAustralia, Green Cross Australia and Sustainability in Schools. There has beenprogress in different ways and to help your school become more sustainable,we’ve come up with a few suggestions.
Get in the garden
Turning parts of previously underutilised school groundsinto veggie patches has been around for years now and continues to grow inpopularity. It’s a great way to give students a sense of responsibility, learnabout environmental impact and promote healthy eating.
There are several simple way to promote the preservation ofour most important natural resource, which is especially prevalent for studentsat rural and remote schools where drought may have been an issue in the past.Placing ice-cream containers under water bubblers, which can then be used towater plants, is one such example.
Develop a SEMP
A School Environmental Management Plan, or SEMP, is astrategy that outlines a school’s vision and goals. Including students in theprocess of suggesting priorities and targets is a great way to give them anemotional stake in the project and consequently, encourage them to participate.
With packed lunches, exercise books and an abundance ofstationary, schools inevitably wind up with loads of rubbish. Establishing athree-bin system – landfill, recycling and compost – teaches students theimportance of ethical waste management, while promoting rubbish-free lunch daysis another option.