Good-Bye to Green Schools Initiative!Executive Director Deborah Moore to Join Union of Concerned Scientists
January 29th, 2016
I am writing to share some big news: after 11 years since co-founding and 10 years of leading Green Schools Initiative, I am stepping down to join the Union of Concerned Scientists as their Western States Senior Campaign Manager starting February 1, 2016. As I start my new chapter and take stock of our progress as an organization and as a movement, the Advisory Board and I have decided to close Green Schools Initiative's day-to-day operations over the next month. Our website www.greenschools.net will be archived and remain as a great resource to support your efforts to green your school.
Before I co-founded Green Schools Initiative with Josh Karliner, I was a scientist at Environmental Defense Fund working to protect rivers and water resources. After my daughter started kindergarten, I was shocked by how un-environmental her school was. I combined my environmental science background with my voice as a concerned parent to transform K-12 schools into community models of sustainability and provide healthy learning environments for children to learn, work, and play. Now, I will again be a "concerned scientist" working to use science for a healthy planet and safer world for all of our children. I'm excited to join a well-respected national organization where I'll be developing and implementing UCS's Western States campaigns on clean vehicles, renewable energy, water, and climate mitigation and adaptation in California, Oregon, and Washington.
Since 2004, Green Schools Initiative has been a pioneer and catalyst in "whole school sustainability," accomplishing so much with your support and collaboration! You can read some testimonials and watch a short slideshow down below. Together, we have:
- Empowered people with easy-to-use information, training more than 3,000 educators, parents, facilities staff, and school board members from 450 California schools and districts in our holistic "How to Green Your School" approach, integrating green facilities operations, and curricula. More than 500,000 unique visitors have used our website just in the last 5 years, accessing best practices, tips, online tools, and inspiring stories.
- Transformed schools into community models of sustainability, catalyzing hundreds of school Green Teams and supporting green actions at schools and districts across California, including solar, green cleaning, waste reduction, energy and water conservation, and green schoolyards and gardens. Our collaboration with Berkeley Unified School District, as one example, is saving 800 tons of trash per year, reducing emissions by 2,100 tons/year - the equivalent of taking 400 cars off the road for a year.
- Advocated green schools and environmental literacy for ALL students - We contributed to establishing the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award and the California Green Ribbon Schools recognition program to showcase exemplary green schools that engage students in experiential education for sustainability. We contributed to the California Blueprint for Environmental Literacy, adopted by the California Department of Education in 2015 to expand the reach of environmental education to all students.
- Protected children's health - We strengthened Green Seal and Eco-Logo standards for green cleaning products; helped California school districts switch to asthma-safer cleaners, collaborated with California Department of Public Health on its Guidance for Cleaning for Asthma Safer Schools (CLASS); and participated with National Healthy Schools Day.
- Promoted new funding sources for green schools - We organized a coalition of organizations representing more than 1.6 million parents, educators, school board members, and education, environment, and health organizations to advocate that K-12 schools be eligible to access more than $1 billion in grant funds generated from California's cap-and-trade program fees to support greenhouse gas reduction projects on school campuses, including solar, energy efficiency, transit, and behavior change through environmental education.
- Launched the Nature's Voices Project - now a project of Green Schools Alliance - to amplify the voices of young people by sharing their inspiring stories of how green schools and environmental education have transformed their lives and learning.
- Built a movement - We have served on the Advisory Board for the Green Schools National Network, helping to build a movement with partners in all 50 states and a national conference, as well as the California Green Schools Summit, where we raise our collective voices calling for green, healthy schools as a fundamental priority for high-quality 21st century education.
Since Green Schools Initiative began in 2004, there are now many organizations and networks that support healthy, green, sustainable schools and environmental literacy. You can join Grades of Green, Green Schoolyards America, and Eco-Schools USA to access tools, tips, and talent to grow your greening. The Collaborative for High Performance Schools and Center for Green Schools offer excellent technical resources for greening your school facilities and operations. Center for Ecoliteracy and Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education will train and inspire educators on how to transform rote learning into relevant, inspiring, experiential 21st century learning. We heartily endorse their work! Visit our Resources page to find other organizations in your state or region.
I'm hugely grateful for your support and partnership over the years. What I'll remember most fondly are the moments where students found their voice and passion and boldly chose to speak up, take action, and make a difference. I will remember with pride listening to 3rd grader Sophia Padron speak in front of the Berkeley Unified School Board, helping persuade them to adopt a Resolution to divert 90% of the district's waste by 2020. And witnessing Anna Bell Hines - our Nature's Voices Project student story winner - deliver her speech as a keynote speaker at the Green Schools National Conference and receive a standing ovation as she called for action to ensure that ALL students learn in a green school that will make sustainability an everyday habit.
I want to thank the people that worked with me closely over these years as staff and partners, including Kathryn Lee, Susan Silber, Betsy Bigelow Teller, Janine Kubert, Alicia Culver, Paul Chapman, Jenny Seydel, Nate Ivy, Mark Spencer, Claire Barnett, and so many more. We have also benefited from the help of numerous inspiring interns and student volunteers. We are honored by the awards we received from the California Green Schools Summit and the Jefferson Award for Public Service. Lastly, we appreciate the generous support of funders and donors, including the California Endowment, the San Francisco Foundation, the Altamont Education Advisory Board, the Orange County Community Foundation, the Full Circle Fund, the Clif Bar Family Foundation, the Further Foundation, the Lawson Valentine Foundation, the Johnson Ohana Foundation, in-kind support from Klean Kanteen, Seventh Generation, New Leaf Paper, and hundreds of individual members and donors. Thank you all for your passion, smarts, creativity, enthusiasm, and commitment of time, energy, and support!
Please stay involved as engaged parents, active community members, dedicated educators, and active students. Feel free to connect with my new efforts at Union of Concerned Scientists.
Thank you for joining with us and co-creating the reality we want for our schools and kids! I wish you all the best in growing a better, greener future!
With deep gratitude,
"This Certificate of Recognition is presented to Deborah Moore for your exceptional dedication to the students of California, as evidenced by your founding of the Green Schools Initiative (2004), your participation on the Schools of the Future Initiative (2011) and the Environmental Literacy Task Force (2014), and your commitment as a stakeholder and advocate for federal and state Green Ribbon Schools recognition programs (2011-2016). Your accomplishments are many,
and I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors."
-- Tom Torlakson, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction
"Deborah Moore has set the direction for the green schools movement. As the first non-profit with holistic "green schools" as the focus and mission, her
leadership of the Green Schools Initiative has provided a vision for
many others interested in changing the face of how public schools
operate and what public schools teach. As a member of the Advisory
Board for the Green Schools National Network I have found Deborah to be
an essential person on my speed dial. She challenges me to think in new
ways and continually pushes all of us to do what is right and good for
students, teachers, the bottom-line of schools and school
districts...and greatest of all...the planet. Thank you Deborah for you
leadership and vision!
-- Jennifer Seydel, Green Schools National Network
"It has been my privilege to work closely with Deborah Moore over the past decade and am grateful for the significant contribution she has made to helping all our schools become greener, more environmentally sustainable places for students and teachers. A spirited advocate, she has had a very positive influence, from individual schools to school districts, from school boards to the legislature, and from environmental task forces to national organizations. I am grateful she will continue to work in the field with the Union of Concerned Scientists."
-- Paul Chapman, Inverness Associates
"The Green Schools Initiative has brought a whole new rigor to the work of making our schools green and sustainable. The resources available on the site, from the "how to" documents to the inspiring profiles of green schools provide concerned parents, students, teachers and school administrators with the means to make a difference. Deborah Moore is more than just talk; she is 100% action. She has produced results that can be measured in tons of materials recycled and composted, energy and water conserved, and practices changed. We will miss Green Schools Initiative, but are pleased that thanks, in part, to their efforts there are so many programs are now in place to continue to help advance school sustainability and that www.greenschools.net remains an online resource."
-- Mark Spencer, Stopwaste.org
"Deborah is a visionary in the field of sustainability education and action, as well as an incredible community builder. Deborah was the person who started our school on the path towards becoming a green school, and today we are a national leader in eco-literacy and green practices. In 2013, Deborah's inspiration, sustainability trainings, environmental curricula, and community action culminated in our school becoming one of the few independent schools to win a prestigious U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School Award. Deborah and Green Schools Initiative have been amazing resources and will be missed!
-- Katherine Dinh, Head of Prospect Sierra School
Green Schools Initiative's Executive Director is stepping down to join the Union of Concerned Scientists as their Western States Senior Campaign Manager. The slideshow highlights Deborah's efforts to care for people and the planet! Green Schools Initiative thanks all of our members, supporters, partners, colleagues, staff, and interns for 11 years of accomplishments transforming K-12 schools into community models of sustainability. We are closing our day-to-day operations. www.greenschools.net remains an online resource for Green Teams everywhere!
[Music by Ben Harper, My Own Two Hands]