Anderson Recycle Project
When I dropped my son off for his first day of school this morning, I wish I could have bottled the excitement and energy generated by twenty eight-year olds and their parents–enough to power the entire campus, I’m certain.  Before you get too deep into school-year inertia, harness the back-to-school buzz by finding parents who are interested in taking steps to help your school go green.

Your first stop is the Green Schools Initiative where you’ll find a Green School pledge and resources to help your school become more energy-efficient, phase out the use of toxic cleansers and insecticides and serve healthier lunches.

Schools are huge consumers of energy, food and other products, many of which can be very damaging to young bodies (and old planets).  There are plenty of eco-friendly alternatives on the market (which you can browse on the Green Schools website)–its a matter of educating parents and school officials on the importance of making the switch, which sometimes costs a little more. Don’t forget to check out the solar schools resource page.

And speaking of solar schools, we’re inspired to learn that the Anaheim Public Utilities (APU) has helped four Anaheim schools go solar and is accepting applications from other schools.  APU pays for 80% of the cost of the system, and the school covers the balance.

Talk to other parents to find out what their top concerns are–indoor air quality, nutrition, energy efficiency, paper conservation–whatever issues resonate, focus on shifting your school’s purchasing policies there first.  Change doesn’t come quickly to most schools, so choose your battles wisely and prepare to be persistent.

If you’re in California, you may want to go to the Green Schools Summit in Pasadena on December 8-10 or the Youth Energy Summit in Sebastopol on September 21.  Denver folks check out the U.S. Green Building Council’s Green Schools Conference on October 4.

–Erica Etelson

Posted by Danny Kennedy

Danny Kennedy co-founded Sungevity and now serves as strategic advisor. He is an internationally recognized opinion leader on climate and energy issues. He is the author of Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Power Can Save Our Economy - and Planet - from Dirty Energy (2012), a book that has been described as the clean energy manifesto for the next greatest generation.