The Future of Green: Environmental Awareness in High Schools
A discussion on educating future generations about sustainability.
Content provided by Lea Green, PGi Social Media Manager
Article originally published on PGiGreenBlog.
When Iroquois leaders considered any significant ecological changes, they took into account how the next seven generations would be impacted by the decisions they made. Many of the efforts by today’s environmentalist and green activist groups focus on ways to improve the planet’s immediate well-being that will also create a better world for future generations. Public awareness of ecological issues has motivated an ever-increasing number of individuals and groups to learn about the needs of our planet and to take positive, healing action. But I found myself wondering, what are the efforts of our future generations today?
A 2006 MTV poll of 13-24 year olds found that:
- Twenty-two percent of high school students say that the environment is the most important problem their generation will face.
- Forty-nine percent of high school students have heard little or nothing at all about what they can do to help the environment and slow global warming.
- Fifty-nine percent of high school students believe that in 20 years the environment will be worse than it is now. (Source: http://www.classroomearth.org)
High school students are concerned and taking action. I recently had the chance to speak with Sarah Lynn, a PGi intern, a student at Marist School in Atlanta, and a member of an environmental group dedicated to sustainability efforts and green causes at her school.
The Marist School Environmental Club was founded in 1995 to raise student, faculty, and staff awareness of environmental concerns. The club actively recycles on a daily basis, works to keep the campus clean, and celebrates Earth Day. The members’ goals—among others—are to spread the word about green issues and to show by example the specific actions individuals can take to improve the planet’s well-being.
In addition to supplying receptacles for plastic and aluminum cans, the school provides composting bins in the cafeteria as well as biodegradable plates and utensils, reducing the student body’s trash output dramatically. The Environmental Club has taken the school’s recycling initiative to heart, creating awareness and bolstering school spirit by selling Marist-branded refillable water bottles. Discouraging the purchase and consumption of bottled water is a powerful yet simple gesture, one that impacts both the school and the surrounding community. The habits that students at Marist School are forming today will contribute to the planet’s healing for years to come.
Marist also asks its teachers to participate in a weekly “Day of the Dark.” Every Friday, teachers commit to using minimum energy in the classroom, which includes turning off overhead lighting and limiting the use of smartboards.
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