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Being Green at School and College

By: Kelly Fenn - Updated: 22 Aug 2010 | comments*Discuss
Green School College Education Teachers

There's much more to doing your bit for the environment than the habits we change at home. We also need to change other aspects of our day-to-day lives too - including our school and college lives. Teachers and tutors can set the example and encourage the whole school or college community to get involved and go green. And you can start being green at school and college straightaway.

Here are our top tips to being a green hero in the classroom...

1. Set an Example
Teachers can set a green agenda in the classroom. Set sensible rules during classroom activities that actively lower the effect on the environment. This could be anything from getting pupils to write on both sides of paper only using print-outs where completely necessary, and making use of on-screen learning so pupils don't need their own hard copies of course material. The more this approach is taken, the more likely pupils will be to take these green habits on board in other areas of their lives.

2. Encourage Pupils to Use the Facilities
Most schools and colleges have caught the green bug and are adopting more environmentally friendly activities -switching to recycled stationery, reducing paper and material wastage, having their own on-site recycling collection service, and so on. But if pupils don't use the facilities available, these positive changes will have minimal effect. Speak to classes and get their input into how best to promote greener habits - they'll appreciate you taking the time to enlist their help and will probably have some great ideas as well.

3. Education, Education, Education
Schools and colleges, are, of course, the ideal places in which to raise awareness and educate people on eco and green issues. Discuss environmental issues in the classroom, at assemblies and throughout the day - anything that involves environmentally conscious decision making. Making pupils aware of how climate change is affecting the world now and will do in the future, along with other larger environmental concerns, makes the topics better understood by future generations. It is this future generation, of course, who will need to be aware of them going forward. Special green events, such as a school eco-week, with specially organised green activities can put the message across in a creative and fun way.

4. Reduce, Re-use, Recycle
Schools and colleges generate an enormous amount of waste on a daily basis - books, paper, materials, food, water and more. But much of this doesn't need to go in the bin. Reduce the amount of waste you generate in your class by only bringing along the materials you need, thus eliminating the possibility of excess wastage. Where possible, re-use items instead of throwing away, such as old textbooks and card. Finally, make use of your school's recycling facilities, which most should have in place. And that goes for litter around the school grounds too. Organise a litter pick on a regular basis with pupils, where rubbish is picked up and recycled where possible.

5. Plant Trees
Because trees absorb CO2, the more you plant, the more you're countering the CO2 generated by schools or colleges. Arranging tree planting around the school grounds not only gets pupils involved with science and nature, but also helps to combat climate change. It also makes your school and college a nicer, greener place to work and study in.

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