School systems are an important part of the larger global effort to improve the environment and mitigate the threat of climate change. It requires commitment, collaboration, culture change and systematic planning for major school systems to turn a deeper shade of green.
In a crucial step towards building more planet-friendly school systems, 21 large U.S. school districts have joined hands with the support of the Green Schools Alliance (GSA) to collaborate on more sustainable school options. These districts have formed the GSA District Collaborative to spur hands-on environmental action in school communities across the country.
Out of the 21 districts in the Collaborative, eight rank among the 12 largest districts in the country. Collectively, these districts make an impact on the lives of 3.6 million children in 5,726 schools with a building area of over 550 million sq. ft. The school districts have joined the Alliance as members, pledging to reduce their climate and ecological footprint.
Together, they plan to connect the students to nature, and educate and engage the communities on climate and conservation. These districts concur that every child has a right to learn, engage, and play in a healthy and sustainable environment.
The Collaborative will work in four key areas:
Leverage collective purchasing power to increase access to sustainable alternatives
Influence local, regional, and national policy decisions
Build and share district-level best practices
Contribute to the development of district-level sustainability programs
The Collaborative will work within the GSA to create programs that directly impact students, including project-based STEAM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Art-Mathematics) initiatives and leadership training programs for middle and high school students.
Later in the year, the GSA will launch a new version of its online community, which will enable students and school professionals to search for resources to make their school more sustainable and learn the leadership skills to bring about that change.
Image Credit: Flickr via School2010
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