Education doesn’t only revolve around the palm-sweating need for top rankings and high standardized test scores. Education also includes the everyday moments in between. Like, when you save a turtle in the road or a lady bug from drowning in the pool. Not to make light of doing well in school and on the SATs — those are critical, but there is value on the journey as well.
We’ve all been taught the importance of Mother Earth, albeit with industrialization taking its toll on the globe, but there is a strong need for more emphasis. Fortunately, sustainable programs have been sprouting up in academic institutions and are continuing to grow. These programs are growing strong roots in schools from elementary to higher education.
The school garden, garden club and environmental science programs offer students fundamental concepts in learning that life is interconnected and includes cycle changes. Not only should the school garden be used for growing but for utilizing compost, harvesting and creating recipes for seasonal pickings. This priceless education gives students the ability to put their hands on food that is grown straight from nature while tasting unique flavors. A garden is an excellent way to embed knowledge on how sustainability can flourish to infinity and beyond.
Many buildings are known for over-illumination during the day and light pollution at night. Schools are implementing energy audits that go into detail about the type of energy a building is using, where it’s coming from and how much is used. Knowledge is power in finding new ways to save and use energy, pun intended!
Energy efficient practices includes, monitoring temperatures, choosing natural light over artificial, using solar panels, and choosing energy saving technology. Energy efficiency, though a great way to save, is more than just saving dollars — it’s saving the planet and that’s priceless.
Energy efficiency teaches students over consumption and the negative effects it has on the environment. This lesson creates healthy habits towards the initiative to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases omitted in the atmosphere. This provokes students to think forward about the future — today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders.
Innovations that are being practiced are: composting cafeteria food while reducing landfill waste, the use of LEED lighting, the availability of wind and solar energy and offerings of local produce. Here are some of the top green U.S. colleges where students are leading the way to a greener planet:
Image credit: Flickr/Choiyaki