No school buildings should be without recycling bins. You’d be surprised by how many schools don’t have any recycling bins on their campus. The amount of paper thrown away during my years was honestly outrageous.
Although recycling plastic is good, using less plastic is great! It should not be a large issue because reusable water bottles should be highly encouraged. Reusable water bottles with school logos could be given away as prizes as well as to students who qualify for free or reduced lunch. This way there should be no excuse for purchasing or using disposable plastic water bottles. The buildings will also be equipped with filtered water in each building, but especially the cafeteria. There is no reason for kids to not have clean drinking water while at school! Students’ water bottles should be the main drink source for students as opposed to disposable milk or soda cartons/bottles. Water has a smaller water and carbon footprint than any other drink available and the health benefits are practically endless.
My university had a similar idea with school logos on water bottles and filtered water in many academic buildings! You can see these bottles in the picture above.
If you don’t have a reusable water bottle, what are you doing reading this??? Go get one!
In order to save money and teach valuable lifelong skills, schools should have vegetable gardens. David Maddox of The Nature of Cities speaks of the ability for gardens to bring communities together while serving as a way to absorb storm water (leading to less pollution in our water systems).
The picture above is of me and my university’s garden club after we spent some time in the garden with local Tiger Cubs. They were so cute and helpful! They loved every minute of it!
If I ran the school system, the older students will help plant, harvest, and study the food. This is great for future culinary artists, chemists, biologists, and generally well-rounded students! Kids will learn to appreciate fresh and healthy food, a lesson that will hopefully be brought home to be shared with the whole family! There bodies will thank them when they eat more vegetables than oreos! After finishing their garden education, students will receive a gift of seeds from the school. Their lessons will be immediately applicable to their outside life. They can then enjoy the fresh, healthy food at home as well as at school.
As I have already acknowledged, I don’t have control over the schools, but I do have each one of you reading this! Get involved in community gardens or start one in your own yard! Invite the young people in your life to help. It’s a great way for them to bond with you and the earth, not to mention learn some valuable lessons!