“In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.” — Baba Dioum, Senegalese Conservationist
Why is the green schools campaign so important?
Kathleen Rogers, the former environmental attorney who has led Earth Day Network since 2001: We really care about green schools. The data is fantastic, and it’s coming in from Japan, Norway, Finland — all over the world. Data that shows when you put kids in healthy green schools — meaning good indoor air quality, good lighting, good food — you see remarkable differences in the kids.
You’ll see kids that are more optimistic. That is so badly needed in our low-income community schools where we work. We see them eating healthier foods. We have higher test scores. We have higher teacher retention, fewer sick days. The list of benefits of green schools goes on and on and on. And every kid deserves to be in a green school. …
It really bothers me that we don’t have equality in our buildings, our textbooks, our teachers. It’s really about equality. And environment is a huge part of that.
We’re working on very cool things — something called the Community Reinvestment Act and some other financing mechanisms — so that if you green a school, the energy savings stay with the school. It could be $45,000 a year. It could be $100,000 a year. That money stays with the school to hire new teachers, get new science equipment. That really makes a difference.
According to the U.S. Department Of Energy, taxpayers spend $8 billion dollars on energy for schools each year. Green schools reduce these costs by an average of 35%. Nationally, this equals nearly $3 billion dollars, EACH YEAR. This $3 billion could purchase 80 million new textbooks, or be used to hire 60,000 new teachers who could incorporate their school’s green features into their curriculum, providing students with hands-on learning opportunities, and empowering them for the future.
FACT: Teachers could incorporate their school’s green features, such as energy, into their curriculum, providing students with hands-on learning opportunities about the environment, educate their school communities about the important role each person can play to build a safe, sustainable future.
FACT: Cities produce 75% of climate emissions. Investing in energy efficiency is one the most effective ways to create jobs and address 21st century challenges. GSA is empowering and connecting K-12 schools to develop replicable models for success, to set quantifiable goals and then to meet them.