Just how many schools have adopted a policy that addresses many of the issues raised in lessons regarding Green Issues? Far too few, if research is to be accepted....
Make no mistake, from 2006, European legislation required all schools to make public details their energy consumption! Some schools have started to do what they preach in lessons, and have adopted a true Green Policy. The successes can be mainly attributed to one factor:collective responsibility
There is no doubt that in many curriculum areas students are provided with valuable information relating to energy consumption. The many ways in which we can all reduce the rate at which energy is consumed are often discussed. How often do these discussions actually lead to action? The amazing fact is that research by Eco-schools has revealed that UK schools spend over £39 million on collecting litter, and £56 million on just emptying waste bins. Add on a staggering £150 million on stationery, and reality strikes home. We are simply not doing what we preach! No ifs, buts, or excuses.
Executing a Green Policy, in reality rather than on paper, can have significant effects on pupil performance! Studies have revealed a lower level of absenteeism, and higher SATs results for those schools who have a real active Green Policy, compared with schools who have not acted upon this urgent need for collective responsibility
Sure, there are significant problems to be overcome, not least of the habit of many teenagers who do not think twice, or have any guilt about dropping wrappers and drink cartons and cans. It is very unlikely that this 'culture' can be rectified by schools in isolation, yet litter remains a significant problem in and around many schools. The whole community needs to be involved in this education process...
It all starts at home? Adopting a Green Policy requires an in-depth evaluation and action plan for parents, students, teachers and governors....and the whole community. For example, consider the 'school-run' , involving rapid increases of traffic between 0730 and 0900, and the associated increase in the rate of energy consumption. The travelling distance very rarely exceeds 2 miles, and this suggests that an alternative strategy : walking or cycling, has never really been established as a true, real alternative. It has often been discussed, but few schools have adapted to accommodate for alternative ways of reaching the school gates.
Adopting a whole-school approach to Green Issues can result in significant savings for the school, and promote a collective responsibility fo all members of the school : students, teachers, governors and parents all need to be involved. Yet, this extends beyond a consultation process. It is action, rather than fancy Policy Documents, that results in very real, positive outcomes for the school.
Green Schools Revolution
Green School Initiative