Friday, August 1, 2008

Going Back to School in Green Style Part 5: Getting Involved

Welcome to the end of our going back to school week. So far we've covered:

Today, I'm going to talk about the influence that you as a parent can have on your school's environmental impact. There are a lot of things that aren't green about our public school systems, but many of them are willing to make changes,
when they have the help and support of parents.

Teachers are very busy and administrations are often overwhelmed with running the schools and dealing with new state regulations that are thrust upon them. If parents expect them to make the environmental changes that they would like to see happen without offering to help them make the changes, chances are those changes are going to get put on the bottom of the to do pile.

You know that Ghandi quote that you see EVERYWHERE nowadays, "Be the Change You Wish to See in the World." Here is a great place to apply it. Be the change you wish to see in your school.

If there is a specific change you would like to see made, the best way to do this is to approach the school employee (teacher, principal, superintendent, etc.) who you think has the most influence over that area. The best way to do this is to make an appointment. If you've got an appointment, then the person will have time blocked out to speak to you and really listen. If you just peak your head in the persons door or try to visit after a hectic day of school without making an appointment, you'll be infringing on that persons time and he or she probably won't be able to give your request the consideration it needs.

If you don't have a specific change you want to make, but still want to help the school become greener, here are a few suggestions:

  • Get involved with the school parent/teacher organization and suggest a green fund raiser. Schools get in a rut with their fundraisers, and many sell the same wrapping paper and cheesecakes year after year. Grandparents and neighbors buy things they don't really want and a lot of useless, unneeded stuff ends up sitting in closets.
    There are lots of green fundraisers on the market right now that sell reusable bags, stainless steal water bottles, CFL lightbulbs and other items that people can really use.

  • If your lunchroom doesn't recycle, help to start a recycling program. You can even help them start a recycling program for Capri Sun pouches.

  • Offer to sponsor an after school environmental club.

  • If there is the right type of land, help start an organic vegetable garden where the food can be used in the cafeteria or donated to a local food bank.

  • Volunteer in your child's classroom on Earth Day and read The Lorax and talk about the importance of trees.

  • If your school is doing any type of renovation or building projects, get on the parent board and help them to choose environmentally friendly options for the building.
Okay, those a few starter suggestions. If you've got any others, please add them to the comments. Stumble Upon Toolbar

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