Children spend a considerable amount of their time in schools. It is very important that this environment is a clean, happy and productive learning atmosphere for them. Students being tomorrow’s citizens need to be exposed to an environment that prepares them for a lifetime of sustainable living. It is also important that they realize the need of working alongside their neighboring communities and collectively work towards a better tomorrow for all.
What is a Sustainable School?
A sustainable school adopts a "whole-school" approach; one that extends beyond the curriculum and addresses the entire planning, operation and management of the school facility. School sustainability policies can reinforce what is taught about sustainability in the classroom, improve the school's own carbon footprint and strengthen public relations with the surrounding community.
A sustainable school prepares young people for a lifetime of sustainable living through its teaching and day-to-day practices.
A sustainable school adopts an integrated approach across the campus, curriculum and community. It hence explores sustainable development through:
• its teaching and learning provision, i.e. its curriculum,
• its values, ethos and operation; by focusing on the environment and campus, and
• its engagement of local people and partners which comprise the community.
The Sustainable School Approach
A sustainable school can contribute to sustainable development with the adoption of values that promote responsible attitudes and behavior. With a strong focus on 'learning by doing', they demonstrate the application of good practices that can be replicated at various levels. Schools as educational centers can champion the cause of sustainable development to positively impact communities and their environment. A sustainable school aims to:
• Enhance student skill sets:
Students need to be equipped with appropriate skill sets so as to tackle problems and take correct decisions related to environment and development issues as future responsible citizens.
Exposure to real-life activities facilitate in the understanding of abstract concepts, which at times can be very challenging for young minds to grasp, understand and apply. Sustainable schools aim to provide children with the required understanding and capabilities, encouraging them to be solution providers with an action-based approach.
Establish resource efficient schools:
Sustainable schools aim to consume less natural resources (such as energy, water) and produce less waste, striving to make them resource efficient institutions. By making a school campus eco-friendly through the adoption of best practices, sustainable schools aim to create a healthier and conducive learning environment for their students, whilst demonstrating sustainability in all its functionings.
Create sustainable neighborhoods and communities:
Sustainable schools strive to involve their surrounding neighborhoods/communities and work together towards the betterment of their immediate local environment. This is the foundation block towards building healthier and sustainable communities.
DID YOU KNOW?
As per the World Resources Institute's analyses of country-wise greenhouse gas emissions (2015), India contributes to almost 7% of the global GHGs and is currently the fourth largest carbon emitter in the world. However, it continues to be far behind the other three top big emitters (US, Russia and Japan) in terms of per capita emission.
A carbon footprint is defined as: the total amount of greenhouse gases that are produced (directly and indirectly) to support human activities. It is usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). For example:
• When you drive a car, the engine burns fuel and emits a certain amount of CO2, depending on its fuel consumption and the driving distance.
• When you use electricity that is being fuelled by fossil based fuels, a certain amount of CO2 is produced.
• When you buy stuff (food, goods, etc.), their production and transportation also emits CO2.
Your carbon footprint is the sum of all emissions of CO2, as a result of your activities in a given time frame. Usually a carbon footprint is calculated for a year.
IS YOUR SCHOOL SUSTAINABLE?
• Do you have an energy, and water conservation programme in place?
• Do you have a waste recycling and composting programme in place?
• Do you have a campus greening and a sustainable transport programme in place?
• Do you engage with the local comm unity to address issues of concern within the locality?
• Do you emphasize on the importance of local culture, tradition and knowledge?
• Do you integrate locale-specific issues into the curriculum?
IF YOU SAID W TO MOST, THEN YOU STILL HAVE A LOTTO DO IN ORDER TO BE A SUSTAINABLE SCHOOL!
LEARN MORE AT:
CALCULATE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT AT: http://www.icicibank.com/go-green/carbon-world-day/indexef62.html