Protecting the environment isn't just for conservationists anymore. Now that information about global climate change is readily available to us all, it's easy for each person to get involved and go green. It's so easy that I'm challenging students and schools to be at the center of green efforts.
The reason is simple: Students hold the key to the future of our environment, and schools hold the key to student education and awareness. Not to mention, schools use a lot of resources! From printing off hundreds of test papers to using energy to light up a whole gymnasium (or two), there are several ways for schools to educate students on environmentally-friendly habits, and to implement a few habits on the school-level, too.
It may seem like a big responsibility, but I promise it's not impossible to fulfill. All it takes is a little elbow grease! The best place to start is with these five steps to making your school more green.
1. Make recycling bins readily accessible
You know the feeling. You just gulped down a bottle of water and now the empty plastic bottle is taking up your only free hand. The once refreshing water bottle is now a nuisance, and you just want to get rid of it. Seeing no recycling bins in sight, you now have a moral dilemma: Do you throw the bottle into the trash or do you hold onto it for who-knows-how-long until you find a recycling bin?
I think we all know the right answer in this situation, but let's be honest, students aren't always as... thoughtful (source: I once was a teenager, too). To avoid plastic bottles and other miscellaneous recyclables sitting in a landfill, place recycling bins next to trash cans and in strategic places throughout campus. Your future great-grandchildren will thank you.
2. Get involved with community clean up efforts
Just last week I saw a group of students picking up trash along a local road. I thought to myself, "Hey, that's a wonderful idea! We should all be doing that." The students I saw were not only helping their community by getting rid of trash, but they were also setting an example for the rest of us. I'd say that's a win-win.
3. Plant a school garden
We included growing school gardens in our 2015 New Years Resolutions for schools and it's no wonder why. School gardens provide fresh fruits and vegetables for school meals, plus gardening helps kids get their much-needed outdoor time. And did I mention that growing a garden is educational, too? Really, there's no reason not to have a school garden!
4. Find alternative ways to produce energy
Okay, so this may be a tough one since we can't all have wind energy-powered schools. The good news is that over 500 K-12 schools have installed solar panels, and that just may be the place to start at your school.
5. Make your school forms paperless
Think about the hundreds upon hundreds of forms and information packets your school prints out each year. Now think about each tree you could save if your school took those forms and made them into electronic forms. Let's take student health forms as an example: If your school requires five to seven pages of student health records per student, that's thousands of pages you could be saving by taking your school's student health records online (not to mention how much time parents will save, too).
But don't just take my word for it. See how your school could save time and resources with Magnus SMR in this client success story.