How to make your school more eco-friendly

Environment Friendly Living

A guide to lowering the carbon footprint of your school – the building, its food, and waste – and improving the curriculum. From the Ecologist , part of the Guardian Environment Network

With the carbon footprint of English schools already tipping

9.4m tonnes CO2

, many campaigns to “green” schools are already underway. But reducing carbon is not the only goal. School buildings, food, waste – even school curriculum should all support a connection to, and appreciation for, the environment.

The success stories so far prove that in many cases it is down to one or two dedicated teachers, parents or students to make a positive difference.

School food

The

Food for Life Partnership

is a network of communities across England committed to transforming food culture, one school at a time. Led by the Soil Association, the Food for Life Partnership website includes information on how to get involved, case studies, FoodTube short films, events and more.

The

Better Nursery Food Now

campaign, led by the Soil Association and Organix, calls on the government to put in place clear rules to ensure high quality food is served in all nurseries. It includes a

Facebook page

where dissatisfied parents and nursery workers can post their experiences.

The

Garden Organic for Schools

project, launched in 2000, now includes over 5,000 schools across the UK, and offers practical organic gardening advice, a quarterly newsletter, curriculum-based resources and free seeds.

The

Merton Parents for Better Food in Schools

was a response to “terrible schools meals across the borough”. To date, the campaign has won £450,000 from the council to refurbish primary school kitchens to cook fresh food on site and set up a twinning scheme with a nearby farm.

The

School Food Matters

website includes best practice case studies from around the country and ideas to get children cooking and growing and out onto a farm.

The

Youth Food Movement

(part of

Slow Food

) has a Slow Food on Campus programme.

Energy

The

Carbon Detectives’ Kit

allows schools to work out their carbon footprint and compare them to other schools.

The

Sustainable Learning

programme encourages schools to make energy reductions of 10% on average and develop a better understanding of how energy and water is used within their buildings.

Greening the school run

The

Walk to School

movement, run by the charity Living Streets, encourages children and parents to leave the car at home when it comes to the school run. Its annual walk-to-school month has inspired over two million primary school-aged children to take part in activities.

Ecologist

director, Zac Goldsmith, teamed up with students at Shene School to produce a

short film

for their successful campaign for a dedicated school bus.

The Department for Transport has produced a

safer journey to school guide

to promote and increase the use of sustainable modes of transport for school journeys.

School activities and education initiatives


Roots & Shoots

is the Jane Goodall Institute’s Education Programme for young people. Its Mission Possible programme is a set of student and teacher resources for learning about, and improving, local environments.


Green Day

is a climate change activity kit for schools from CABE, the government’s independent adviser on architecture, urban design and public space.

The

Globe Programme

is an environmental education project linking nearly 600 schools in the UK, which help measure the standard of the local environment at their school and compare it with others.


Cool it Schools

, a global online climate change and environmental showcase, has just launched Writing the World, a poetry-writing competition for young people judged by poet Sue Hubbard. An

Ecologist


article

describes how it aims to inspire students to act.


Eco-schools

is an international award programme that guides schools through a seven-step process to help them address a variety of environmental issues, ranging from litter and waste to healthy living and biodiversity. Schools work towards gaining one of three awards – Bronze, Silver and the prestigious Green Flag award, which symbolises excellence in the field of environmental activity.


Climate Futures

provides curriculum activities focused on unravelling the complexity of climate change and environmental issues for lower secondary and upper primary students (10-14 years old).

Waste

Footprint Friends launched the

Wipe Out Waste (WOW) Awards

, calling on students to present their ideas for reducing waste. A panel of green “dragons” judge finalists’ ideas, and the winning team will be asked to put their WOW idea into action. The 2009 winning idea was “stop throwing away perfectly good pencils” from students at Canon Burrows CE Primary School.

An education pack from the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust explains how to run a

whole school litter campaign

.

And this

article

from the

Ecologist

describes how Leeds University Student Union banned the sale of bottled water on campus.

Nature/growing activities

The

Field Studies Council

, an environmental charity, is looking for schools to be involved in its European wildlife survey project which will monitor six common tree species and compare results from all over Europe on the

BEAGLE project

website.

The Earth Restoration Service’s

School Tree Nurseries Programme

is a tree-planting project with schools to restore local degraded habitats. In Lewes, East Sussex, for example, trees have been planted on flood plains in the hope that they will help to alleviate future flooding.

The National Forest’s

Forest for All Project

involves children and teachers in learning about bugs and bats, tracks and trails and habitats.

This is is a syndicated post. Read the original at www.theguardian.com

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