Making a Difference by “Greening” Our Schools
Today, some people have a special name for those who make an effort to preserve and improve their environment. These people are called the Green Generation. The Green Generation includes people working to better their health, improve their schools, and actively participate in finding solutions to national and global issues like climate change.
Membership in the Green Generation is not limited to adults. Students of all agesâ€“with help from teachers, parents, and their communitiesâ€“are giving schools â€śgreenâ€ť makeovers by using a variety of environmentally friendly actions. The goal is to create a society where people use only what they need instead of using things they donâ€™t need, or creating too much waste. The Green Generation does this through â€śgreening projects.â€ť
Greening projects can be simple, such as changing all light bulbs in a school with energy-efficient alternatives. A difficult project would be installing solar panels on a home or school. Solar panels create power from the rays of the sun and supply electricity to the buildings they are attached to. Other simple green projects include the use of â€śgreenâ€ť cleaning products and turning off lights when they are not being used.
Besides the environmental benefits, schools with greening projects have financial, health, and academic benefits. For example, a â€śgreenâ€ť school saves about $100,000 a year by recycling more, watering less, and using less energy. These savings can be used to hire more teachers and buy new computers and textbooks. Health benefits result from cleaner air. If students feel better and are healthier, they learn more, participate more, and have more fun at school, too.
Over the past few years many schools across the United States have been successful at â€śgoing green.â€ť Merrick Academy in Queens, New York, experienced a green makeover for Earth Day 2008. It became one of the first schools in the country to receive a â€śliving wallâ€ť of plants that filters and purifies air and water. In honor of Earth Day 2008, Ellis Elementary School in Denver, Colorado, planted a â€śgreen roofâ€ť to be transferred when the buildingâ€™s roof is replaced. A green roof is the roof of a building covered with vegetation and soil. Green roofs reduce heating and cooling costs, filter the air, and retain rainwater.
Creating green schools helps us move toward a more sustainable society. This is a society that can continue growing and thriving without harming the environment. It also improves the lives of students and teachers. The ongoing efforts of those that support the value of green schools will continue to make a difference one school at a time.
To learn more about the Earth Day Network and the Green Generation Campaignâ„˘, visit the organization’s Web site. Read the â€śThings to Do to Green Your Schoolâ€ť flyer by clicking on this link for a list of things you can do to make your school environmentally friendly. To learn more about greening schools, visit the Build Green Schools Web site and the Green Schools Web site.
TLX News Journal: Civics Activity
What can you do this year on Earth Day? Think of ways you can celebrate the holiday by â€śgoing green.â€ť They can be big, like organizing a community clean up, or small, like making a commitment to turn off the lights in unused rooms of your house. List your ideas in your TLX News Journal.