Environment 101

April 25, 2007

by Claris Olson, HSC Environmental Health Specialist

As part of a recent package of stories on global warming and green living, the San Francisco Chronicle looked at steps that schools are taking to go green.

Besides using environmentally friendly and energy efficient-building designs, schools are adding solar panels, building gardens, implementing recycling programs and, of course, switching to green cleaning products and procedures. Jill Tucker writes:

Ultimately, all this provides a healthier learning environment, which in turn improves student learning, educators have found. As an added bonus, energy costs go down and the Earth is better off.

“I think that (schools) are realizing being green can save them money and help them improve test scores,” said Deborah Moore, executive director of the Berkeley-based Green Schools Initiative.

The green schools movement, however, is fragmented, with individual schools or districts addressing energy waste and environmental inefficiency in schools, but few statewide efforts doing the same, Moore said.

“Schools, like any other institution, use lots and lots of resources,” she added. “That means there’s a big potential for savings there.”

The story includes links to a number of helpful California-based organizations and resources.

All of these efforts reach far beyond the school walls. As “going green” become incorporated into classroom instruction, the next generation is taught to be stewards of the environment as well.