Monday, March 15, 2010

Green School Initiative

Green School Initiative

Okay, so your school is doing great things on campus to help the environment and integrates EE into the curricula!

Well, now you can get your school certified as a Green School through the Green School Initiative! This is a partnership between the Green Schools Initiative here in California ( ) the Eco-Schools program sponsored in the United States by the National Wildlife Federation (

This means your school has taken the pledge to "go green" has formed an action team that is actively pursuing the plan. Here are the seven (7) steps to green your school:

1. Establish a green team or eco-committee
2. Adopt an environmental vision statement, green code or planet pledge
3. Conduct a school environment survey or audit
4. Create a Green School Action Plan
5. Monitor and Evaluate Progress
6. Integrate Greening into the Curriculum
7. Inform, Involve and Celebrate

The premise for greening any school is on what is called the Four Pillars. The four pillars cover everything from new construction to maintenance, food service to gardens, office supplies to classroom curricula. The Four Pillars are:

1. Strive to be Toxic Free
2. Use Resources Sustainably
3. Create a Green, Healthy Space
4. Teach, Learn, Engage

There is an online Green School Report Card Quiz and once you fill that out you will receive a score and depending on your score you will be led to links for more action ideas, tools to support your efforts and opportunities to share the story of your green school. There are Green School Profiles on the website too called the Green School Honor Roll. The website can also help your school find green products with its' Green School Buying Guide.

The Eco-Schools model identifies eight areas of primary focus a school can go green called "pathways." These are Energy, Water, Climate Change, Global Dimensions, Transportation, Schools Grounds, Consumption & Waste, Green Hour. Each pathway has curriculum resources and audits to perform.

There is also a new website put together called Cool California for the purpose of providing all Californians the the tools they need to take actions to protect the climate.. There is a Schools Toolkit that includes a campus carbon calculator, cost savings actions and climate change curriculum resources. The website is (

Any and all three of these resources will get your school started in going green. They are intended for existing schools and are not rigorous certification procedures like LEED for Schools ( or CHPS ( These two programs are primarily designed for new construction or for modernization construction projects.