Yesterday Boston Public Schools opened their doors and welcomed families back for the new year. Students are roaming the halls trying to find their homerooms, teams are hitting the field for a new season, and families are adjusting to early mornings and busy days.
It’s a new beginning, and what better time to reflect and set new sustainability goals? During the school year, many students and teachers will spend more time at school than anywhere else. That’s why it’s so important to consider how the things we do at school affect our environment.
Boston’s young people are incredibly important to our City’s mission to reduce emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change. There are lots of creative and passionate young climate leaders in our City who we’ll depend on to steer our climate action in the future. So we’re taking their lead and sharing some of the great ways young Greenovators are already going green in their classrooms – and adding some ideas of our own! (Photo: students at Boston Latin School bring climate action to campus.)
- Organize for our environment. Start a student organization committed to leading green practices at your school. The Boston Latin School’s Youth Climate Action Network (YouthCAN) started in 2007 as a youth-led, after-school club. Now they run a Global Climate Change Summit at MIT, run a sustainable roofscape at their school, and more. Get inspired by their story.
- Represent your school’s sustainability interests – consider getting involved with the Boston Student Advisory Council like this driven young Greenovator! The Boston Student Advisory Council members recognize climate justice as a defining issue of their generation, are taking action right here in Boston to change the course.
- Got a green thumb? Talk to administrators about starting a school garden and learn how to produce fresh food at school like students at Boston Latin School did!
- Follow your interests! If you’re interested in environmental issues, ask your teachers if you can tailor some of your projects towards local sustainability issues. For inspiration, read about these amazing students at Boston Green Academy, who presented their findings about the environmental impact of our food systems at their GREENTalks this year.
- Put that competitive edge to work for our environment. Learn about the Boston Public Schools Energy Conservation Challenge and propose a similar type of competition between classes surrounding topics like recycling and energy usage within your school.
- Further your studies. Get involved with the Green Team program, run by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). Schools who are members of the Green Team learn about pollution, share their pollution reduction goals with other schools, and win prizes for their progress.
- Think ahead. The end of the school year might feel very far away, but it’ll be here before you know it. And when it does, check out these creative ways to recycle or repurpose your school supplies! (Who knew Staples offers in-store binder recycling – and offers a $2 credit toward the purchase of a new binder for each one recycled!)
- Need guidance on classroom sustainability? Get in touch with the Boston Public Schools Green and Healthy Schools Initiative, coordinated by BPS Sustainability Coordinator. The Green and Healthy Schools Initiative helps members of the school community save energy, recycle, and stay healthy. It also connects students with environmental, STEM, and community learning opportunities.
- Connect your school to a national green service celebration. Sign up for the U.S. Green Building Council’s Green Apple Day of Service- it’s coming up soon on September 24th.
- Get active. Walk or bike to school when you can! Don’t have a bike of your own? Or don’t want to lock it up at school? Consider hopping on a Hubway! And participate in this year’s Walk to School Day Celebration.