New: The Green Schools Leadership Center!
Last night, President Obama delivered his job’s speech introducing the American Jobs Act to Congress and the nation. In it, he proclaimed: “We have to look beyond the immediate crisis and start building an economy that lasts into the future!” The future? There is no better place to start than investing in the education of our youth. Spending money on education generates the largest number of jobs (23.1 per $1 million dollars in spending) of any government spending according to Dr. Robert Pollin of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Coincidently, Earth Day Network just launched the Green Schools Leadership Center today, which will provide educators and students with the tools necessary to support environmental literacy and to share green school resources and success stories nationwide.
Why do green schools make sense? They have the proven ability to significantly reduce a school’s energy, water, and other resource needs. For example, a green school utilizes 33% less energy, 32% less water and reduces waste 74% when compared to a traditionally built school building. Such savings translate into real financial paybacks for cash-strapped school districts. On average, a certified green school can gave $100,000 a year—the equivalent of two full time teacher salaries, 250 new computers, or 5,000 new textbooks. Thus, we hope our newly launched Green Schools Leadership Center will be an easily accessible resource for educators, students, and community members who want to help their schools and communities in promoting and teaching sustainability. Additionally, tools are available to help schools win the new Green Ribbon Schools Award (recently announced by the U.S. Department of Education), which rewards schools who demonstrate significant progress in increasing environmental literacy, building schools that are energy efficient, and promoting health among students and staff.
The Green Schools Leadership Center is broken down into six broad areas of possible green school engagement options: Facilities, Food, Transportation, Schoolyard & Outdoors, Community Engagement and the Educators’ Network for curriculum related needs. This online network will enable educators to share a library of lesson plans, teaching materials, grants and blogs as well as helping users find background documents for introductory purposes and student action plans to aide the user in spurring green growth within their community.
Utilizing this free online platform will help the schools build a sound, 21st century education that investigates and emphasizes the relationship between the economy and the environment. As the President made distinctively clear last night, “This is America. Every child deserves a great school—and we can give it to them, if we act now!”
And “like” the Green Schools Leadership Center on Facebook!