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Encouraging Your Child's School to Save Energy

By: Kelly Fenn - Updated: 25 Jun 2012 | comments*Discuss
Encouraging Your Child’s School To Save

Climate change is a long term challenge not just to be debated and tackled today but over the next generations to come. This means that it’s vital to educate our children and our children’s children now in how to fight climate change and what will happen if it’s left unchecked. While there’s plenty of ways to get our children involved in saving energy at home, making sure the message is also being communicated at school is vital.

Many schools now have green issues and saving energy firmly placed on their curriculum, but you can still get involved by encouraging your child’s school to save energy and spread the word that climate change is a long term battle to be fought. We’ve come up with a few ideas to get you and your school started…

Get Involved

One of the most important things you can do is get actively involved with your child’s school. Becoming a school governor is one way of actually affecting how school policy is formulated and decisions in the future are made. You can make a real difference by bringing up green ideas and projects that can help the environment and get the whole school involved in environmental issues.

Food and Lunchtime

According to government statistics: ‘producing, transporting and consuming food is responsible for nearly a third of our impact on climate change, so choices about packed lunches, tuck shops and the canteen can help the environment.’

Not only can parents help by ensuring that their children’s lunchbox is healthy and ethically sourced, they can also encourage their school to offer equally eco-friendly lunches. Local businesses may be able to offer ingredients to schools at a reduced price to school dinner producers. If possible, schools could even set up their vegetable patches to produce their own foods, something pupils could also get actively involved in.

Reduce, Re-use, and Recycle

The school is one place where there are plenty of opportunities for pupils to reduce the amount of materials they use, as well as re-using and recycling. Here are a few ideas that you can encourage:

  • Ask your school to set up a recycling service with their local council

  • Encourage recycling bins to be set up in every classroom and to make recycling a part of a pupil’s everyday routine

  • Printing and writing on both sides of paper

  • Purchase stationery made from recycled materials

  • A school-wide scheme where pupils can buy and sell old or used textbooks, encouraging reuse and making the purchase of school books more affordable.

Ask the Experts

Why not call on your local community’s experts on all matters relating to the environment? Your council can usually offer to give talks at local schools to educate classes on recycling, saving energy and composting. Even better, they may be able arrange a school tip to a local recycling site or power station to give pupils a greater understanding of what happens when they throw something away or turn on a light switch.

Your local council can also advise your school on how to set up their own school wide composting system and recycling services.

Get the Whole School Involved

There are lots of national projects and schemes already set up that your school could get involved in. It’s a great way of getting your school involved in green issues, with the added bonus of a network of professionals already in place that can provide educational material and support.

The Sustainable Schools Strategy Framework for example, helps schools as a whole think green as part of a programme of activities and education, as set up by the Department for Education. The GLOBE programme is a worldwide project that encourages school pupils to measure their local community’s energy usage as a scientific experiment.

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Given that it's unlikely that you'll be able to convince the school to install solar power or a wind turbine (although if there are parents with connections, money, and the skill to put it up, who knows), then focusing on conservation will have to do, and that means turning lights off and not running appliances more than necessary. Most schools will happily comply and help teach these basics to the kids there, too.
Frank - 25-Jun-12 @ 2:36 PM
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