Saturday, September 6, 2008

Healthy schools

While reading the latest issue of Kiwi Magazine, I read about this website: The website provides teachers, administrators and parents with ideas and resources for creating greener, healthier, and more socially responsible schools. 
While there are plenty of available resources surrounding nutrition and organic eating in schools, not only addresses school food but also school supplies, lesson plans, school grounds and gardens, field trips, parent involvement, assemblies and more. 
One might think that the ideas and resources available on the website are common sense, but for whatever unfortunate reason, there are hundreds of schools failing to make green choices.
For instance, just last year I worked at an elementary school. On a daily basis, I witnessed an unimaginable amount of waste accumulation. During lunch alone, students filled multiple 50-gallon trash cans with styrofoam trays, plastic bottles, uneaten food, paper bags and aluminum wrappers. In the classrooms, pounds of paper and toxic craft materials were disposed into trash cans. When I asked why non-paper recycling was not offered in the cafeteria, I was told that the city was charging the schools over $100 per recycling receptacle. That's ludicrous! This school did offer recycling bins for paper only, although many classrooms were not utilizing them.
But with the support of educators, administrators, parents and students, schools can easily become environmentally-friendly institutions. Not to mention, a green school is more economically efficient. Think of all the money saved if we stopped buying disposable packaging for our children's lunches and if we taught our children how to utilize scrap paper. 
And by investing in green schools we are also reducing the risk for children and educators to suffer in pollutant and toxic educational environments (see Going green to save our children). 
Finally, children who are fortunate enough to attend a school that makes the environment a priority are likely to learn how to make choices that enrich their environment, their community and their own life.

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