The Concept of Green Schools is a school that creates clean, healthy, protective and green surroundings when saving energy, environmental resources, and money.
The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in Johannesburg in 2002 formulated the concept and need of Green Schools. This was first introduced in Europe in the 1990s owing to an urgent need for everyone to be aware of the fact that if we continue to misuse and overexploit our natural resources in our quest for development, the future of humanity and our planet is held at stake.
With the advent of the concept of ‘Green Schools, the focus is put entirely on the children encouraging them to use appropriate skills to take necessary action on environmental, economic and social issues which are currently the need of the hour and urgent issues that need to be addressed.
In other words, sustainable development needs to address all these in pursuit of a better quality of life. The Green School is visualized as a school guided by the principles of environmental sustainability. It seeks to sensitize teachers and students for environmental sustainability through the active involvement of the community. In such an environment students’ learning experiences are no longer confined to the classroom but extend outside the classroom in the field as well. These sites are resources and used as opportunities for students to engage in direct and first-hand experiences.
These help students to consolidate and apply knowledge, gain an understanding of environmental processes, inter-relationships and issues, acquire a number of life skills and help foster attitudes, values and sensitivity towards environmental concerns. Such education is holistic in nature and ensures the overall development of the students as it is integrated and embedded across all aspects of the school, encompassing formal and informal learning experiences inside and outside the school boundary.
Also Read: Biodiversity Hotspots in the World
The ‘greenness’ of a school finds expression in various aspects of its environment.
- The Green School has clean, healthy, protective and green surroundings.
- It promotes both the physical and the psycho-social health of learners and others in the school
- Ensures a healthy (provision of health services such as nutritional supplementation and counseling) and hygienic (safe drinking water, neat and clean classrooms, playground and parks, etc.) and safe learning environment, with healthy practices (e.g. a school free of drugs, corporal punishment and harassment)
- Brings children closer to nature as far as possible and involves them in taking care of it.
Incorporating Green Cleaning in Schools
Green cleaning involves following a simple product list by following simple techniques and working towards achieving the goal of a clean & healthy environment. We can easily incorporate the process of green cleaning in schools by just following some of the basic steps like:
Step 1: Preparing Your School
It involves understanding the essential preparations that are needed for incorporating a successful green cleaning program. Assessing where your school currently stands when it comes to green cleaning is the first step in this process. This can be followed by the creation of a green team of school stakeholders who would be responsible for implementing the Green School Mission and formulation of essential plans and policies and evaluating the progress made.
Step 2: Introduce Green Equipment + Supplies
Focussing on greater use of green cleaning tools which could help in the reduction of chemical use and increase productivity is also a major part of the Green School Concept.
Step 3: Sharing the Responsibility
A collaborative effort from students, teachers, administrators, and school authorities contributes towards maintaining a healthy environment. A school’s successful implementation of the Green School concept demonstrates its commitment to reducing its environmental footprint.
Also Read: Climate Change and The Earth
How we can make our School Green
- By Controlling exposure to indoor environmental factors
- By Incorporating green building measures in school designs such as installing energy recovery ventilation equipment that could effectively reduce the infiltration of air contaminants from outdoors and improve indoor air quality.
- With the schools being provided with extensive outdoor spaces including playgrounds, outdoor classrooms, athletic fields, tracks, and landscaped and developed green spaces, more areas would become available for the students.
- The outdoor spaces of the school for e.g., playgrounds are to be made healthier by reducing paved areas and replacing them with grass which in turn, also reduces stormwater run-off and sedimentation.
- By using energy-efficient school building designs that use natural daylight to reduce the energy needed to light a building hence reducing energy consumption.
- Reducing water runoff from its site, consume fresh water as efficiently as possible and recovering and reusing gray water to the extent feasible.
- By installing rainwater storage capacity on-site.
By providing educational opportunities such as on-site renewable energy generation, water conservation features, and other green technologies creating valuable opportunities for hands-on learning for the students
She is a Conservation Biologist deeply concerned with the protection and sustainability of natural resources and wildlife. She is particularly interested in studying and addressing the loss of Biodiversity and educating the people about the same. She has a Master’s degree in Zoology with Post Graduate Diploma in Environment and Sustainable Development and another in Sustainability Sciences.