Back to School: What’s Your Green Inspiration?

back-to-school-signBy Carly Carroll

This morning on my commute to work, I saw several students in uniforms. It’s August, so that can mean only one thing: it’s time for back to school. Going back to school was always one of my favorite times of the year: I loved shopping for new school supplies and I loved the first day of school: seeing all my old friends, finding out what classes we had together, figuring out who would be my new favorite teacher, and what would be my favorite class. By high school, I had that answer: it was environmental science. The experience I had in high school shaped my career path today: I became an environmental educator because I wanted to share the passion for protecting our environment that had been instilled in me by my high school environmental science teacher. As I see these students going back to school, I wonder which teacher will inspire them. Will it be their environmental science teacher? Or maybe their math, language arts, or history teacher?

Whoever it may be, it’s never too late to teach students about the importance of protecting the environment, even as we go back to school. Think about having a waste-less school year:

  • Re-use school supplies from last year, like pens, pencils, and binders. I know when I was in school, we had to have a binder for every class: use those binders again this year!
  • Use less electricity: turn off the lights when everyone leaves class. My all-time favorite classes were the ones where teachers took us outside to have class. Even in English class, we could write our essays outside (when the weather was nice, of course!)
  • Check out EPA’s Facebook and Twitter throughout September for back to more school tips, resources, and activities.

A lot of these tips can also help save money while helping the environment at the same time. What’s your green inspiration during back to school?

About the author: Carly Carroll is an Environmental Education Specialist with EPA’s Office of Environmental Education in Washington, DC. Prior to joining the office in 2011, she worked as a Student Services Contractor at EPA in Research Triangle Park, assisting with environmental education outreach.

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