Lawrence, KS - Events Local News Groups Contact
Envisioning One Planet Schools
By Indy Media / filmsforaction.org

From WorldChanging.com. By Sarah Rich.

 

The best way to get new ideas to take hold is to teach them to young people. School-age kids are impressionable and imaginitive, and pick up new perspectives readily. So it makes sense that a concept like "One Planet Living" -- which many of us find difficult to imagine -- would be natural to a kid. It's pretty simple, after all: we have just one planet; we have to learn to live as though we understand that.

 

Classroom education around environmental responsibility is much more complex today than it was ten or twenty years ago. When I was in grade school, "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" was as far as it went, augmented occasionally by a tree-planting ceremony on Earth Day. Now in addition to literacy, we have ecoliteracy; we're developing math lessons for calculating a school's carbon footprint, and health education that explains the nutritional benefits of local, organic food. Ideally, the engaging, hands-on way in which schools are now teaching these ideas will lead kids to more easily form good habits as they grow up.

 

A new initiative in Los Angeles may elevate the green savvy of students in the LA Unified School District. A partnership between the e-waste recycling company, Planetgreen and LA's resident tree activist organization, TreePeople, has yielded a proposal for the LAUSD to commit to recycling inkjet cartridges in exchange for the planting of trees on their campuses. For every 1,500 cartridges recycled, Planet Green would sponsor the planting of ten trees. This will also contribute to Mayor Villaraigosa's citywide Million Trees LA Initiative. This is one that seems to have a high likelihood of positive long-term impact, since e-waste disposal is one of those behavioral shifts that often seems impossibly difficult to achieve among adult consumers. In school, where recycling is pre-arranged and cartridges get tossed out in bulk, kids can start to understand the importance of taking those few extra steps.

 

A truly one planet school has many requisite parts of course. It's not just what happens in the classroom or the cafeteria, but the actual construction of the building itself, as well. Schools built green can be learning tools in action, while promoting the health of the students and faculty, and improving the state of the environment. In Washington DC, Sidwell Friends Middle School has built one of the few (and best) models of a sustainable school to date. Completed at the end of 2006, Sidwell's new digs are up for a LEED Platinum certification, which their architects, Kieran Timberlake, characterize as:

 

a demonstration of Sidwell Friends' commitment to environmental stewardship through high-performance building design and operations. The landscape and building will co-exist within, and demonstrate, a broader network of systems. Human systems - our inter-relationships with resources - are embodied by the landscape and building as natural systems. The system itself, rather than a representation, is the ethic rendered aesthetic.

 

As such, Sidwell incorporates all of the key ingredients of a good green building, such as abundant natural light, operable windows, lanolin flooring, and bamboo and wheatboard in doors and cabinetry, as well as a bio-pond and constructed wetlands. Additionally, the school has made top-of-the-line technology a priority for the classrooms, ensuring that kids of the best possible tools and resources for learning. Of course, Sidwell is a well-endowed private school, and this kind of cutting-edge, comprehensive retrofitting doesn't come easily to public school systems.

 

But such an approach doesn't have to be reserved to an elite sector of the population, and indeed some key organizations are already proving that. Youth education and training programs like Sustainable South Bronx and the Harlem Children's Zone (which we wrote about in the book) are preparing kids to become empowered, green-minded change-makers. Hopefully, as with high-end green furniture and consumer products, a ripple effect will lead to better opportunities for schools reliant on government funding to achieve ideal learning [and playing] environments.

0.0 ·
0
What's Next
Trending Today
Ten Ways We Misunderstand Children
Jan Hunt · 21,082 views today · 1. We expect children to be able to do things before they are ready. We ask an infant to keep quiet. We ask a 2-year-old to sit still. We ask a 3-year-old to clean his room...
18 Empowering Illustrations to Remind Everyone Who's Really in Charge of Women's Bodies
Julianne Ross · 10,473 views today · When Brazilian graphic designer Carol Rossetti began posting colorful illustrations of women and their stories to Facebook, she had no idea how popular they would...
Beyond Civilization: Humanity's Next Great Adventure
Daniel Quinn · 4,594 views today · PART ONE A fable to start with Once upon a time life evolved on a certain planet, bringing forth many different social organizations—packs, pods, flocks, troops, herds, and...
Lawns Are for Suckers. Plant a Garden - for the Climate!
Nathanael Johnson · 2,019 views today · Ripping out your lawn and planting kale and peppers won’t just lead to great stir-fry — a new study finds it could make major contributions to fighting climate change...
You Should Get Naked More Often. It's Good for You.
Joni Sweet · 1,596 views today · When Nelly encouraged overheated people worldwide to get naked in 2002, he was unknowingly advocating much more than just a sexy, sweaty dance party. Sunbathing, sleeping...
How Native Americans Managed "Wild" Land Long Before Settlers
Sami Grover · 1,414 views today · When European settlers first came to North America, they assumed they were looking at "untouched" nature. Sure, there were native peoples, but history tells us they didn't...
Solidarity Is About What You Do - Not Who You Are.
R.L. Stephens · 1,072 views today · I am Black. I capitalize Black and leave white lowercased. Sure, it’s the accepted spelling, but really I do it because it feels good. My family lived in Missouri, but my...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 988 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Bioregional Quiz: How Well Do You Know the Place in Which You Live?
Rua Lupa · 806 views today · In the vast emptiness of space there are an unimaginable number of galaxies, each galaxy containing billions upon billions of stars. Looking at one galaxy we find an average...
A New Story for Humanity (2016)
102 min · 712 views today · Inspired by the New Story Summit at the Findhorn Foundation: a sold-out multicultural, multigenerational inquiry into a new story for humanity, attended by change makers and...
Masculinity Is Killing Men: The Roots of Men and Trauma
Kali Holloway · 655 views today · We begin the damaging process of turning boys into men long before boyhood ends.
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 634 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
Gabor Maté: Why Our Culture Makes So Many Of Us Unhappy
3 min · 580 views today · Dr. Gabor Maté explains why it is that our culture makes so many of us unhappy, unkind to one another, miserable, alienated from ourselves, etc. Watch the full interview in Part 2.
It Didn't Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are
Mark Wolynn · 575 views today · The past is never dead. It’s not even past. — William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun
When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren't Called 'Hitler'
Liam O'Ceallaigh · 543 views today · Take a look at this picture. Do you know who it is? Most people haven’t heard of him. But you should have. When you see his face or hear his name you should get as sick in...
Schooling the World (2010)
66 min · 542 views today · If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children. The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 527 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
Why You Should Take Your Kids Out of School
Ben Hewitt · 491 views today · We don't need no education. At least not of the traditional, compulsory, watch-the-clock-until-the-bell-rings kind. As a growing movement of unschoolers believe, a steady diet...
Something Extraordinary Is Happening in the World, And Most People Haven't Noticed
Gustavo Tanaka · 393 views today · Most of us haven't quite realized there is something extraordinary happening. A few months ago, I freed myself from standard-procedure society. I broke the chains of fear that...
Why People's Opinions of You Aren't Real
4 min · 373 views today · "You are what you love and not what loves you." - From Charlie Kaufman's film "Adaptation"
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Envisioning One Planet Schools