When education issues make headlines in Los Angeles, the subject’s often bad nutrition and obesity at best and deleterious budget cuts at worst. So visiting Environmental Charter High School in Lawndale, Calif., is like stepping into an unexpectedly healthy green oasis — with organic fruit trees, compost bins for food waste and a healthier vending machine with lots of organic options!
Nonprofits like ReDiscover and Bring Your Own work closely with ECHS — but even big corporations — like Staples Eco Easy for office supplies and Radio Shack for battery recycling collection — take part in the eco-curriculum. Even ECHS’s art classes bring in environmental awareness, with many art projects incorporating recycled and upcycled materials.
Sundance Channel viewers may have seen the Green Ambassadors in action on a “Big Ideas for a Small Planet” episode a couple years ago. Students working on an “Rise Above Plastics” program built boats out of discarded plastics and floated them down Ballona Creek!
Environmental Charter High School’s open to all high school students in L.A. County. Want to find a similar school in your neighborhood? Visit Green Charter Schools, an organization that supports the “establishment, enhancement and advancement of charter schools with environment-focused educational programs and practices,” for a list of like-minded green schools.