September 5, 2013

2 Simple Requests for Teachers. {Video}

Photo: kozumel on Flickr.

Teachers: stop sending me paper!

My children went back to school this week. One started his first year of high school and the other entered grade four.

With each child came a stack (and I mean a stack) of paperwork to review, fill out, keep for reference and/or send back to the teacher. Why? The positive changes, if schools were the first place kids learn modern, world-changing, eco-friendly practices, would be astounding!

I’m talking about new, impressionable people learning the greenest way to have an education and to live.

Schools are implementing modern tools and environmentally friendly practices into their classrooms, which is an encouraging step, but it’s not nearly good enough.

Here my two simple requests for a greener way to learn:

1. Please, stop sending paper home.

I received a full paper sheet (colored pink, no less) requesting my email address for communication. Does that seem backwards to you, too? Here’s a nifty idea: I’ll provide my email address in person since we’re meeting face to face anyway and everything can be emailed to me instead. Let’s keep it digital!

Permission slips, newsletters, welcome packages and even the dreaded “someone’s got head lice” notice—I’m more likely to look at it in my email inbox than when it’s been spilled on, crumpled and lost somewhere at the bottom of a backpack.

2. Mandatory learning about our environment.

Many schools now have an eco club of some sort to learn about the basics of recycling, re-use and reducing waste. Can we add a composting and gardening club? How about a general sustainability club?

Taking it a step further, imagine what we could accomplish by transforming these clubs into mandatory environmental studies classes for all grades with age-appropriate levels of education.

Young, imaginative brains are what’s going to effect the greatest change in our world. The world needs more children to inspire and lead the way towards a healthier existence and it’s up to us to help them do that.

Our planet is valuable enough to focus some of our learning on how to keep it (and ourselves) healthy. Let’s make this topic as important as, say history, especially if we want to be alive long enough to keep making it.

Bonus: John Hardy gives us a perfect Balinese example of what a true green school looks like in his TED Talk. Asking for less paper doesn’t seem like such a big deal after you’ve watched this!


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