Teaching Kids to Go Green

While we believe that the best way to raise children to become Treehuggers is to get them out into the natural world regularly and often, we certainly think green schools will also play an important role in creating the next generation of environmentally-aware citizens around the world. So, we're delighted to see that the Go Green Initiative, founded in 2002 by PTA president and concerned mom Jill Buck, already has tangible results to show from its efforts "to create a culture of conservation on campus." During the 2005-06 school year, the eighty schools in five US states participating in the program reported impressive numbers in terms of waste diversion. According to a release from the organization, Go Green schools saved:♦ 2 million pounds of paper
♦ 14, 000 pounds of cardboard
♦ 25,000 pounds of aluminum
♦ 48,300 pounds of plastic beverage containers
♦ 1650 cellular phones
♦ 8700 printer cartridges
♦ 202,090 pounds of mixed recyclables
♦ 13,648 pounds of food waste

In terms of resources, the initiative calculates that these schools

♦ Saved 24,792 trees
♦ Avoided 17 billion BTUs of energy use
♦ Avoided 892 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions
♦ Avoided 7.2 million gallons of water use, due to paper recycling
♦ Avoided 392,540 gallons of oil use, due to paper recycling
♦ Kept 21,775 pounds of petroleum products out of our rivers and oceans, due to ink cartridge recycling

While these numbers show real dedication on the part of teachers, parents and students in greening their schools' waste streams, we're particularly happy that several hundred young treehuggers in the making are learning valuable lessons about waste and resource stewardship. The network itself is growing also, as Buck reports a tenfold increase in website hits over the past year, and translation of program materials into Spanish, with French and Mandarin editions coming in the near future. Environmental education isn't a luxury, so we're happy to see Go Green's success, and look forward to their progress reports in coming years. :: The Go Green Initiative via Daily Green