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Question of the Week: What did you or your school do to be greener this year?

2008 September 15

Each week we ask a question related to the environment. Please let us know your thoughts as comments. Feel free to respond to earlier comments or post new ideas. Previous questions.

Classroom supplies, school buses, building maintenance, indoor air quality, books and pencils – everything about a school can affect the environment or the people who spend time in school. But there are lots of new ways that schools can be greener such as “clean diesel” buses, recycling, or safer chemicals in classrooms.

What did you or your school do to be greener this year?

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En español: Cada semana hacemos una pregunta relacionada al medio ambiente. Por favor comparta con nosotros sus pensamientos y comentarios. Siéntase en libertad de responder a comentarios anteriores o plantear nuevas ideas. Preguntas previas.

Los artículos escolares, autobuses escolares, el mantenimiento de edificios, la calidad del aire interior, libros y lápices–todo lo relacionado con la escuela pueden afectar el medio ambiente o las personas que pasan el tiempo en el colegio. No obstante, hay muchas nuevas maneras en las cuales los colegios pueden ser más verdes sean los autobuses de”diesel limpio, el reciclaje,  o sustancias químicas más seguras en los salones de clase.

¿Qué hizo usted o su escuela para ser más verde este año?

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

46 Responses leave one →
  1. Carol permalink
    September 15, 2008

    With the aid of the grant from NC Division of AQ we were able to provide signage for all schools in the 15 school systems in our region – “Turn off your engines…Kids breathe here”. We also provided handouts for parents, 10 things kids can do for the environment bookmarks and ideas for school newsletters.

  2. Michelle permalink
    September 15, 2008

    1. Made an info page for library. 2. Continue recycling. 3. Talk to others.

    *Mainly watch energy usage and convert to environmentally friendly products like dish soap, etc., use much less and recycle paper.

  3. Heidi P permalink
    September 15, 2008

    A team of five environmental professionals developed “Going Green Tips” for: the classroom, the cafeteria, the parking lot, the building, the office,the school yard, and for field trips that were made into posters that were / are displayed throughout the school. The principal held a training session with 65 school staff in attendance to describe the school’s efforts to go green and to promote use of the “tips” posters. The idea is that staff cannot model “green” behavior if they don’t know or haven’t thought about “Going Green” in terms of how they act at school/work. It was a smashing hit!

  4. Coreen Gonzalez permalink
    September 15, 2008

    We have started a recycleing bin, also we are starting a campaign for a smoke-free campus, we would like all the support we can get for this issue, also it is a serious health issue with non-smokers, children, and people with breathing problems, if you can help us you can e-mail me at coreenluv@yahoo.com or call my cell# at (323) 303-4853. We are East Los Angeles College.

  5. Keely from Kalamazoo permalink
    September 15, 2008

    I am desperately trying to get our schools to stop using styrofoam containers in the lunch room. I have been in contact with the superintendent of the district and several others…I do not seem to be getting a fantastic response. Has anyone had any success in getting styofoam out of the schools? Thanks.

  6. Edwin Rodriguez Martinez permalink
    September 15, 2008

    Lo primero que hice para que la escuela sea un lugar mas verde es transmitir esa necesidad, platicar con mis compañeros sobre la necesidad de cuidar el ambiente, lo cual concluyo en una reforestacion en la escuela de 40 metros cuadrados. Por mi parte sembre otros cinco arboles y cuide otros durante esta verano. ¡Pero no es suficiente! dia a dia tenemos que pensar en nuestras acciones y cuidar principalmente el mas importante recurso que es el agua. Lo más importante es educar a los niños sobre esto, y eso es una responsabilidad de todos.

  7. September 15, 2008

    This year our school did several things in the lunchroom that promoted recycling and reduced waste. First, the school went to the use of recyclable food trays that the children have learned to discard the waste from, stack and return for recycle every day. The lunchroom has also begun using pre-packaged cut fruits for the students, rather than serving whole, uncut apples and oranges. Previously, students took their servings of fruit, could or would not eat them whole, and ended up throwing them all away. Now they are enjoying their fruits and not wasting them.
    Our principal has also shifted the carpool schedule to reduce the wait time and backup for our buses trying to pick up children at the school.

  8. Patti Bean permalink
    September 15, 2008

    Personally, my family and I have been recycling our plastic bags rather than trashing them. Our store no longer offers paper. Also, we have been buying more fresh foods at the farmers markets and eating less processed/packaged foods.

  9. Arnold P. Wendroff, PhD permalink
    September 15, 2008

    The facts suggest that large numbers of students and faculty in NYC middle and high schools are being exposed to problematic levels of mercury vapor in their science classrooms, science laboratories, and science preparation rooms, as a consequence of the spillage, over the past century, of elemental mercury used for a wide variety of science demonstrations and experiments, as well as the breakage of enormous numbers of mercury in glass thermometers, and leakage of instruments such as mercury manometers and mercury barometers.

    Some of these spills on floors result in the tracking of mercury on shoes into hallways and other parts of the school.

    A program of assessment is indicated, in order to ascertain the extent of the problem in each school that has used mercury over the past ~30 years. If problematic levels of mercury vapor are found, then those facilities must be decontaminated.

    EPA needs to sponsor a trial assessment of a small but representative number of junior and senior high schools to measure mercury vapor levels in science facilities. The results will help to formulate policy for larger scale assessment and remediation.

    “Google” for some idea of the number of contemporary spills that are responded to. Then think of all of the spills that have occurred prior to our current awareness of the extreme neurotoxicity of mercury vapor. EPA must address the problem of residual mercury in flooring and plumbing fixtures, which continues to outgas toxic mercury vapor for decades after the initial spill.

  10. Daniela permalink
    September 15, 2008

    Over the period of the past 13 years I have gradually decreased and stopped using cleaning agents containing hazardous and toxic ingredients by replacing them with environmentally safe products. This same applies for all of my family’s body, face and hair products (I ditched the aerosol hairspray too).
    Newest I added to the list is, that now I also use paint or varnishes for the interior and exterior of the house that are not toxic and also the pest control applications are free of poisons and environmentally very safe.
    I am trying to actively conserve water, electricity and natural gas as much as possible and remind my family to follow this rule too. We have fuel efficient cars and we do use them when absolutely necessary.
    I also do not support Recreational Water sport gadgets, such as motorized and gasoline filled boats and alike and have declined many invitations to outings on such, as I do not agree with the practice of it.

    I also support local farmers and buy almost exclusively from them – especially those who do use certified organic growing/raising standards for produce and animal products. I avoid almost all processed foods.
    I mostly use natural alternative medicines for illnesses, avoiding all pharmaceutical concocted poisonous medicines too.

    O.k. – I think for now this is all – as I got to turn off the computer to conserve more energy! :-)

    Daniela

  11. Tresine Logsdon permalink
    September 15, 2008

    In an effort to complete the Kentucky Green & Healthy Schools Program by May 2008, our school is designing and implementing several school improvement projects. This year we will build a rain garden on campus and host a recycling competition among upperclassmen and underclassmen in our cafeteria. We also have plans to host a “Walk to School Day” and provide each department with homemade natural chemical spill kits.

  12. Dee permalink
    September 15, 2008

    My Son’s elementary school is collecting grocery bags to make a play bench for the local zoo. They have “banned” all plastic bags and are using re-useable lunch containers – selling them for a fund raiser. (there is not a school cafeteria so all students bring their lunch). They also worked on creating a swell that provided for storm run off and still worked with the landscape- almost finished this project. They are installing rain barrels for use in their classroom gardens and are going to be installing energy effiecient curtains and windows as a long term project.

  13. John Williams permalink
    September 15, 2008

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned “Safe Routes to School” projects yet. Every state now has a SRTS coordinator and “zero local match” funding for local programs that encourage kids to walk and bike to school.

    For more info, google “Safe Routes to School.”

    John Williams, editor
    CenterLines
    National Center for Bicycling & Walking

  14. Derrick permalink
    September 15, 2008

    In the school remodel effecient 3 bulb “super T-8″ bulbs were used. They replaced the old T-12 type.
    Each fixture has 3 bulbs. There are 2 modes of operation. One bulb can shine up for say AV presentations or all three can operate at the same time. Daylighting was also used to bring in natural light.

  15. Utah Chris permalink
    September 15, 2008

    Got a second hot water heater for my two kids so there is plenty of water on a sunday morning. Now all I need is a solar heater on the roof. That would certainly make my “less-than-green” second water heater more “green”.

  16. John Hopkins permalink
    September 15, 2008

    The PTA lady with whom I said “I do” rounds up recyclable plastics whenever there’s a food event at our daughter’s school. Would like to see more of that — and what I’d MOST like to see is for our school and many others to start encouraging and preparing middle-school kids and teenagers to walk or use their bikes going to and from. The fuel cost and carbon load from twice-daily SUV shuttles must be enormous.
    John Hopkins
    Green Mobility Network
    Miami
    http://www.greenmobilitynetwork.org

  17. Melaina permalink
    September 15, 2008

    My school recycles. We also do alot of hands-on activities. This way we don’t use paper for worksheets.

  18. Sharon permalink
    September 16, 2008

    I always take my own cloth bags to the grocery store, buy products with less packaging and recycle what I have. I don’t buy through away products, or use those mops that require throw away cloths. I reuse paper that has a blank side, as scrap paper, for phone messages. I reuse gift wrap paper, bows, boxes and bags. These are just some of the things I do.

  19. Bonnie Aylor permalink
    September 16, 2008

    Lots of things. in my new place I switched out the regular lights to those twisty ones that use hardly any watts but give more light, I kept my AC at a higher temp and used fans to cool instead, I enrolled in online courses for my degree rather than taking the in class options and traveling so far back and forth for classes, I used my computer to take note whenever possible rather than paper, I joined many environmental organizations and employed my services to them for free, I moved onto a wildlife conservation property in the middle of a bird sanctuary so that I could help pay to keep it protected, when I bought a new printer I made it sure could print double sided, used energy saving techniques, and also that it was the one that plants a tree for the purchase fo the pinter. The same printer uses a recycling incentive program so that when I turn in my ink cartridge to be recycled i get points towards a free cartridge. The incentive program also gives me points towards a free cartridge for buying approved cartridges that use environmentally friendly ink and are made to be recycled. I bought recycled paper and recycled envelopes. I changed m diet so that I was using a portion of it as organic foods. In becoming members of those organizations, I also donated moneys to help them keep promoting and enacting their purpose. I advised many others on how to be environmentally friendly. I tried to sell solar panel rentals to area residents that use regular electricity, I offered to carpool others, I recycled, I didn’t throw away my newspapers, I picked up my dog’s poop each time I took them for a walk, I used phosphate free dishwashing detergent, I kept up to date in environmental issues and emailed or called my politicians in reference to them each time an issue was presented. I bought a grocery tote at the grocery store to use instead of plastic bags. I put the mini gardens on my myspace and facebook pages that donates money to help save the rainforest each time I invite someone to join, even though I’m against chain letters. I openly enjoyed and engaged in the wildlife around me in front of witnesses, without holding back, sharing my passion for the environmental with others. I shared environmental programs with others in my neighborhood and close by. I taught my daughter how to grow plants that are friendly to the environment and how to sustain them, I also got my child involved in environmental organizations, such as Ranger Rick.

    My school started a sustainability committee to work on engaging in green practices on campus. They also made Go Green shirts for students to where at the football games :)

  20. Yadav Surbhi R. permalink
    September 16, 2008

    “Green Code”
    · . A healthy lunch fuels a healthy body and mind. Composting is a useful habit and provides rich material for our garden.
    · To keep our school and play areas clean, we will pick upand bin or recycle our rubbish.
    · Reduce, reuse and recycle will be our motto.
    · We have immense pride in our school and will enhance our school environment in any way we can.

    Many projects have been undertaken by the children, with the aim of raising awareness of recycling goods. These include constructing robots from recycled materials & Christmas decorations.

    Small changes in our lives can make a big difference. By encouraging children to think about the 3R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, they will know that they are playing their part to help the planet. Here are some tips to help you and your children put the 3R’s into practice.

    REDUCE
    Limit the amount of waste in the first place. This involves adopting the frame of mind that makes us think about how and why we produce it. It means questioning “Do I really need the product I am about to buy? Who made it? How was it made?”
    -Go for school snacks that use less packaging. Fruit is always a good choice.
    -Take re-usable boxes for packed lunch instead of using cling film and tin foil.
    -Take drinks to school in re-usable bottles or flasks instead of taking individual cans or cartons.
    -Always use both sides of a piece of paper to reduce the amout used.
    -Reduce the amount of water that you use. It is not impossible to turn off the tap when brushing your teeth.
    -Take care in using energy. Do you really need the light and heating on? Turn off the T.V. rather than leaving it on standby.

    Re-Use
    It is amazing how many materials can be re-used by using an extra bit of thought and imagination. We are constantly re-using items in school. Here are some ideas for home.
    -Glass jamjars can be given a second life as painting pots or for storage.
    -Paint cardboard boxes to be used to store small toys.
    -Encourage your children to think of ideas to re-use equipment, be it furniture or computers.
    -Use a battery charger and re-chargeable batteries instead of using normal batteries.
    -Send your old clothes to charity shops for re-sale.

    Re-cycle
    Recycling involves turning waster products into raw materials that can be used again to make new product.
    -Limit the amount of information that you print when researching you homework from the internet.
    -Ask your school could they re-use old newspapers, envelopes, cardboard, computer paper etc.
    -Buy re-cycled goods. These tend to be of good quality and encourage more businesses to produce re-cycled materials.
    -Remember that almost half of the contents from our dustbins can be re-cycled.
    -Collect your household newspapers, cardboard, cans, plastic and glass bottles and take them to the local recycle centre.

    We have made great strides in our school as regards reducing, reusing and recycling. We have halved the amount of rubbish going to landfill by recycling and encouraging our healthy lunch policy. We have a wormery and collect composting materials each day to feed them. Compost produced is used on our organic vegetable garden and flower beds in the school. We have planted up window boxes to enchance the physical appearance keeping our school totally litter free.

    “Our Initiatives”
    A plan has been established, involving the creation of new gardens and revitalising existing ones in the schools grounds. There have also been extra bins provided in every classroom, for recycling and composting materials.

  21. Fran permalink
    September 16, 2008

    I am a bit concerned about the fruit issue at your school. At least whole fruits are biodegradeable but what about the containers the prepackaged fruits come in and what about the process of prepackaging. Doesn’t processing food cause more waste? Not to mention the health benefit to students of fresh fruits as opposed to the processed foods. I think your school took a step backward on this.

    I do like the carpool idea though. That might encourage more parents to form carpools. :)

  22. Fran permalink
    September 16, 2008

    I have been using environment friendly beauty products having gradually added them in over the past year and a half. I am also doing the same with cleaning products that I use in my home. To save gas I group my errands together and do them after work. I rarely go out in the car on the weekend. I use a cloth grocery bag and library bag. if I do have to use the plastic bags I take them to Wal-Mart and put them in their recycling box just for these bags or find a second use at home for them. The light bulbs at home have been replaced with more efficient compact flourescent bulbs. I have a small garden (however this year the weather didn’t cooperate) and hope to grow more and more of what my family eats over the next few years. I also purchase at farmer’s markets.

  23. A. O. Roe permalink
    September 16, 2008

    Janitors shared a Christmas Bonus of several thousand dollars from aluminum cans recycling.
    Sensor lights.
    Sensor water dispensers in toilets and sinks.
    Paper recycling.
    Compost making, et al.

  24. Martine permalink
    September 16, 2008

    Hi Daniela,

    You are a conscious person and it is nice to see that you are taking a lot of small actions to diminish your ecological footprint on this beautiful and precious planet.

    I think that we ought to continue being conscious and to transmit our consciousness to others. My daughter is only 3 years old, and she already respects all living things.

    cheers,

  25. Erika N. Mivens permalink
    September 16, 2008

    Hello All! I am happy to share our ‘going green’ process with all of you. We have just initiated a school wide recycling club called YEVA Recycles. We have partnered with our county recycling coordinator and Planet Green. We were given the blue recycling containers for our entire school to recycle paper, plastic and aluminum cans. We also have a fund raising project recycling ink cartridges and old cell phones. Tomorrow we are taking a group of 6 students out into the community to post flyers in local businesses to help collect the ink cartridges and old cell phones. We are doing our part to help the earth beautiful!

  26. Ray permalink
    September 16, 2008

    I think the school had a good idea when they shifted to serving fresh fruit to the students in a way that makes it easier for them to eat apples and oranges. However, Fran makes a good point about the way in which the school implemented the idea.

    May I suggest that the school’s cafeteria staff do what is often done at buffet’s:Cut the large fruit up into small, bite-sized pieces, so a student can take as many bite-sized pieces as he/she wants. This would also enable the cafeteria to offer, economically, other fruits, such as pieces of melons and small bunches of grapes, with minimal waste, and maximum nutritional value.

  27. Susanne Cordery-COtter permalink
    September 16, 2008

    We also have had an uphill battle with styrofoam, and cannot completely eliminate it. We are looking at installing a densifier by Dart Container Corp.

  28. Kathy Baldwin-Heitman permalink
    September 16, 2008

    At Kansas City Academy, we formed a Green Team that created a plan to “green” our school. We worked on behavior changes like recycling, and adopting a healthy lunch program (all local and organic foods). We also integrated sustainability throughout our curriculum. We also planted an organic vegetable garden and also conducted a professional energy audit. We have enjoyed the changes, but feel like we are only beginning…

  29. Tessa Jilot permalink
    September 16, 2008

    Schools across Wisconsin are demonstrating their commitment to a more sustainable Earth, stronger communities and healthier, more productive learning environments for students by choosing to join the Wisconsin Green and Healthy Schools program. The Wisconsin Green and Healthy Schools program is a web-based, self-paced and voluntary program available to all Wisconsin public and private elementary, middle, and high schools. The program is designed to support and encourage schools in their quest for a healthy, safe, and environmentally-friendly learning environment.

    The Green and Healthy Schools program consists of three steps which involve signing a pledge; conducting a self-assessment to determine what healthy and environmentally sound practices are already in place; and using the results from the assessment to target areas for improvement. Guides covering the topics of energy, waste and recycling, water, mercury, indoor air quality, integrated pest management, chemical management, transportation, facilities and grounds, and community involvement are available on the Green and Healthy website to help schools with their assessments. Lesson ideas, correlated to Wisconsin academic standards, are also available for teachers who wish to incorporate these topics into their curriculum.

    Schools that complete all three steps in the program are recognized with prizes and awards. The Wisconsin Green and Healthy Schools program aims to increase students’ knowledge and awareness of Wisconsin’s natural resources and the environmental, health, and safety concerns and challenges that face our schools, our communities, and our Earth. Since its inception in 2004, nearly 70 schools have pledged to the program, and 16 have completed all three steps to achieve official Green and Healthy status.

    Learn more at: http://dnr.wi.gov/org/caer/ce/greenschools
    Of by contacting: tessa.jilot@wisconsin.gov

  30. John permalink
    September 17, 2008

    smoking is a dirty habit, no doubt.

    But second hand smoke a serious health habit ?? Come on, look up the cancer estimates from the cancer institute…..5000 nation wide. Much less than radon and hot dogs…..people really get chumped.

    Living in a city has higher “breathing” impacts, when’s the last time a city posted a “living in the city ban”

  31. Jeffrey Levy, Greenversations Editor permalink*
    September 17, 2008

    Yes, second-hand smoke is a serious health threat, especially for children. In fact, it’s the #3 cause of lung cancer, behind smoking and radon. See this fact sheet for more info.

  32. Tom permalink
    September 17, 2008

    In Wisconsin, some of the school bus contractors are installing an Espar coolant heater to pre-warm the engine and inside the bus thus eliminating the need for long warm up times when the buses start in the cold weather. This is also used to eliminate the need for plugging in the bus and consuming electricity while park in the cold outside temperatures. Another feature that seems to come with this is that the driver gets into the bus in the morning and it is already warm and thus the driver starts his day going to work rather than waiting for the bus to warm up and this eliminates excessive idle and thus reduces fuel consumption, reduces emissions and increases driver utilization. The EPA has grant money for this and also in the State of Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources has a funding program coming to assist with these units.

  33. Lina-EPA permalink*
    September 18, 2008

    Edwin,
    Muchas gracias por sus comentarios y acciones y adelante con la buena labor de concientizar a los niños desde temprana edad, porque como usted dice–eso es responsabilidad de todos!

  34. LaShanna Tripp permalink
    September 18, 2008

    We had to submit to this week’s blog to recognize Grantswood Community School. Principal Ann Tillman shared the following, which led to her school’s recent nomination for the Alabama Partners for Clean Air (APCA) Best School Program for Clean Air Award:

    “Our Carpool Procedure requires the parents to park in the parking lot, down the hill from the school. Parents are encouraged to turn off their vehicles while waiting. A staff person calls the child’s name over the 2-way radio to the teacher in the building where the carpool students wait. When the student hears his/her name, he/she is sent to the sidewalk where a teacher helps them into the car. Once the line starts to move, there is minimal idle time because students are ready by the time their parent gets up the hill! Bus drivers wait until students are loaded on the bus before turning on the engines.”

    We extend our deepest thanks to Principal Tillman, her faculty, staff and students for their gracious support of the Idle Free Zone program, which Auntie Litter, Inc. coordinates on behalf of the Alabama Partners for Clean Air! The goal of the Idle Free Zone initiative is to remind drivers to reduce harmful emissions by turning off engines while waiting for school to be dismissed. We are extremely proud of Grantswood for all they are doing to better the air quality at their school!

    Auntie Litter, Inc.
    http://www.AuntieLitter.org

  35. Don Carli permalink
    September 19, 2008

    Education depends heavily on the use of print and digital communication technology as well as communication activities which are energy intensive, material intensive and all to often wasteful and inefficient.

    The Institute for Sustainable Communication (ISC) is a nonprofit organization seeking opinions about the support and leadership required from software developers and IT hardware companies that will enable school administrators, educators, IT professionals, publishing professionals and students to address the challenges and opportunities ahead with sustainable print and digital media solutions for K-12 and higher education.

    This is opinion research, so all opinions and observations are valid and no specialist knowledge is required. Please take 10-15 minutes during your next break this week to share your opinions in a brief survey at the link below:

    http://bit.ly/sustainabilityineducation

    Also, please encourage your colleagues, administrators and other education professionals who you believe would be interested in sharing their opinions.

    Your candid opinions and timely response to this survey will help us fulfill our mission to build awareness and capacity for the sustainable use of print and digital media in education.

    All respondents will receive a summary of our key findings as well as a coupon entitling them to discounted admission to the “SustainCommWorld: The Green Media Show” conference that is being sponsored by ISC on October 1-2 in Boston. Admission to the Green Media Show Expo is free.

    See: http://www.greenmediashow.com

    Providing your contact information will not result in sales call. Note that it is our policy not to attribute responses to individuals or specific organizations. Only aggregated results will be reported to encourage candid responses.

    Thank you in advance for taking time out of your busy schedule to support this important research effort.

    Sincerely,

    Don Carli
    Senior Research Fellow
    The Institute for Sustainable Communication
    250 East 40th St. 26D
    New York, NY 10016
    Office: 212-922-9899
    Skype, Twitter and iChat: dcarli
    Second Life: Meme Autopoiesis
    E: dcarli@sustaincom.org
    http://www.sustaincom.org

  36. Kourtney permalink
    September 21, 2008

    1. Getting my family to start turning off the lights when they leave the room.
    2. Using reusable bags at the grocery instead of plastic bags.
    3. Encouraging my family to shop/eat locally.
    4. Contribute to grassroots businesses by buying their products
    5. Buying recycled school supplies (paper, folders {yes there is recycled folders out there}, pens)
    6. Buying less and less bottled water and using the good old water from our tap!!!!

  37. Kris permalink
    September 22, 2008

    At my daughter’s school, they recycle paper and plastic. They encourage kids to walk instead of asking mom to drive them everywhere. They have a garden and we have one as well.

    In fact, everything in my child’s school is “green” except for the water coming from the water fountains, which is contaminated with the rocket fuel percholate. What should the kids do about cleaning that up? I’m just curious.

  38. Karen permalink
    September 22, 2008

    I moved to an apartment where i could compost my organic wastes and hang my clothes out to dry on a clothes line instead of using the drier.

  39. Kristin permalink
    September 22, 2008

    I sold my car when I moved in with my boyfriend. We both take public transportation to our jobs and we share his car whenever we have to run errands around town. We try to keep driving to a minimum by getting all of our errands done on either one or two days over the week.

  40. Mary Baker permalink
    September 22, 2008

    I actually starting using safer cleaners in my home 4 years ago. I researched for cleaners that did not contain PESTICIDES or DANGEROUS CHEMICALS. I had 2 grandchildren with respirtatory,problems and 1 boarderline asthmatic and 1 with cema. To my surprise found 1 company that had these and was economical. My grandchildren got better with in a month but now they go to public school. Quess what? SICK again along with many other children, I found in many schools. I would like the EPA to contact me personally. I want to share how to convert school IAQ to safer without many voc than to still be exposing children to LOW VOC cleaners. High or LOW VOC affect children at any level long term. Childrens future is a RISK here. Thank You

  41. September 22, 2008

    A couple of years ago, I told the school I would buy machines for slicing both apples and oranges for the students to eat. The school cannot provide even plastic knives to the kids to aid in eating their fruit. The school responded to me that the machines would do them no good, since they would then need to package the fruits into one whole serving size for each student to ensure they met the dietary guidelines. I frankly could have cared less if my daughter ate 6 pieces of orange rather than 8. 6 pieces are better than none, and seeing all of that whole fruit go into the garbage made me sick. So, the move to prepackaged fruit, while is does increase the waste a little in the form of packaging, it decreases by a very large margin the amount of waste from the whole foods being thrown away. These ARE indeed different sets of issues (the need to reduce packaging versus the need to reduce food wastage), but I think most would agree that it is an agregious waste for our kids to be served fruits that they cannot or will not eat, and see all that good nutritious food going to waste. For our school, it was a move in the right direction.

  42. Dr. Klinkii permalink
    September 23, 2008

    In the UN Program we manage, schools can sponsor a forest in their name to offset CO2 emissions. Reforest The Tropics is a non-profit organization that works with teachers and student to calculate their CO2 emissions. We receive donations to work with selected farmers in Costa Rica to establish forests for US sponsors. Climate Change is a global problem, so sponsoring forest in Costa Rica is one option to learn about that country, its farmers and your specific forest. Each forest has a sign with the school name and a GPS map showing how big it is and exactly where it is. Someday, when its big enough, you may see your school forest on Google Earth. Our smallest forest is 2 1/2 acre, capable, we estimate of offsetting about 25 tonnes of CO2 per year in the 25-year contract RTT signs on your behalf with the farmer. E-mail reports with pictures show you the development of your forest. And each forest is described as a case study.

    The goal of this UNFCCC program is to develop an advanced model of carbon-offset forests and to demonstrate its use in the US.

    Contact hbarres@aol.com or google my name Herster Barres or Reforest The Tropics.

  43. Will Stanley permalink
    November 27, 2009

    1. Used a clothes line to dry our clothes.
    2. Spun the clothes on a low speed in the summer to reduce damage to the clothes and energy usage.
    3. Composted our scraps and food. I line the bottom of the compost with rubble to stop rats digging up.
    4. Foil reflectors behind radiators.
    5. Fitted shower head that aerates the water thus making you feel like you are getting a more powerful shower than you are.
    6. Interlined curtains.

  44. Ken Hightower permalink
    November 28, 2009

    I’m not aware of my children’s school doing anything so I took measures into my own hands by sending my kids to school with water bottles that are reusable and filled with a nutritious healthy beverage called Yoli.

  45. Brian permalink
    December 30, 2009

    We too have added Yoli bottles which are BPA free and dishwasher safe to help make greener decisions for our family.

  46. April 17, 2012

    Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read something like this before. So nice to seek out any individual with some original thoughts on this subject. realy thank you for beginning this up. this web site is something that is needed on the web, someone with a little bit originality. helpful job for bringing one thing new to the web!

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