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How Leaders Can Help Their Schools Be Greener

 

The younger generations are more likely to be affected by climate change than older generations, that’s why millions of pupils around the world are making their voices heard. Inspired and led by 15-year-old Greta Thunberg, on 15th March 2019, 1.6 million students boycotted schools around the world to demand climate change action. Do your bit for the planet while supporting your pupils by making your school more eco-friendly.

 

Getting Started
To kick-start your schools’ green routine, visit the Campaign Against Climate Change website. Here you can download an array of resources and tips to set the wheels in motion. Whether you are looking for quizzes or games, Campaign Against Climate Change has the resource for you but make sure you keep checking back, their catalogue is constantly being updated with new information.

Curriculum
First things first, by introducing green lessons and subjects into the curriculum, you can ensure you reach every pupil and teacher in the school. Environmental awareness doesn’t have to be a topic in isolation or limited to the obvious subjects; Geography, Science and PHSE, it can be incorporated into English, Art, D&T, Religious Studies, IT, PE and History lessons too. But don’t stop there! Eco-friendly fairs and school trips, as well as encouraging pupils to spend more time actively outdoors, are also good ways to address climate change.

Transport
Encouraging pupils and parents to walk to school will reduce pollution levels around a school. A generation ago, 70% of people walked to school – now it’s less than half. The Walk to School movement aims to reverse this decline by making walking to school fun. Their downloadable kits include ideas to get pupils involved, including rewards and incentives for taking part.  Not only does walking to school help the environment, it also helps with mental health and keeping fit. For those that live too far away, using public transport, carpooling and cycling are other efficient ways to get to and from school.

Lights and Appliances
Get pupils involved by getting them to patrol the school to ensure all lights, plugs and appliances are switched off. Wrap up warm in the winter and ventilate when it’s summer. Schools can also install energy-efficient lightbulbs and renewable energy methods such as solar panels.

Materials and Recycling
Reduce, reuse, recycle. A great way to get started is to ban all single use plastics and promote reusable environmentally friendly products such as water bottles. Encourage recycling around the school and at home by asking pupils and parents to save resources such as egg boxes, newspapers and toilet rolls for art projects. Install recycling bins around the school so pupils can discard their trash accordingly. Limit the amount of new materials purchased within school, only print where necessary and try to keep communications and lessons digitally.

Gardens and Plants
Set up an environment group for pupils to grow trees, vegetables, plants and flowers. Setting up a green space in school will help the environment, reduce carbon dioxide levels and provide new habitats for wildlife. Pupils will not only learn about environmental benefits, they will also develop essential teamwork skills and the benefits of healthy eating. You don’t have to just focus on growing plants outdoors, they are a great addition to the classroom. The Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture found that the increased presence of plants has proven to increase children’s concentration and academic performance by 14%. As well as environmental benefits, why not grow flowers and plants for Mother’s/Father’s Day or even sell vegetables at the school fair?

To keep up to date about climate change, check out these useful websites;

NASA
Campaign Against Climate Change
Committee on Climate Change
WWF

By making small changes to our everyday school life, we can all address the climate crisis.

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