The Green Schools Initiative was founded in 2004 by parent-environmentalists who were shocked by how un-environmental their kids' schools were and mobilized to improve the environmental health and ecological sustainability of schools in the U.S. We believe it is essential to protect children's health - at school and in the world beyond school - and we work to catalyze and support "green" actions by kids, teachers, parents, and policymakers to reduce the environmental footprint of schools by:
- Eliminating toxics
- Using resources sustainably
- Creating green schoolyards and buildings
- Serving healthy food and
- Teaching environmental literacy and stewardship.
The environmental impact of the 130,000 public, private and charter K-12 schools, which educate or employ 1 in 5 Americans, is enormous, in financial, ecological and health terms. The impact includes millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions, thousands of tons of garbage and toxic waste, and exposure to unhealthy conditions that affect students' ability to learn. A growing body of evidence shows that "green" schools that integrate sustainable facilities, healthy operations, and environmental curricula result in environmental and financial savings, improved health for students and staff, and better academic achievement.
We work to transform schools into models of sustainability for communities, engaging youth in hands-on, inquiry-based learning and action to improve the health and sustainability of facilities and operations. We advocate for policies, action plans, and professional development that foster high performance, cost-efficient, and academically excellent schools. Our work focuses on training teachers, parents, facility directors, school board members and others in our "7 Steps to a Green School" approach; providing the tools and resources to support schools in reducing their environmental footprint; and advocating for state policies that support healthy and sustainable schools and environmental literacy. We have trained about 2,000 educators from 350 schools and districts. We focus our efforts on K-12 schools and districts throughout California; and we collaborate with and support organizations and individuals in other states and nationally.
Deborah Moore, a mother and environmental scientist, is Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Green Schools Initiative. She has twenty years of experience working with environment and social justice organizations in the U.S. and internationally. She spent fourteen years working with Environmental Defense Fund protecting rivers and water quality and promoting water conservation.
We also have a Communications Coordinator, a School Coordinator, and several interns.
The Green Schools Initiative is a mostly volunteer effort, relying on dedicated parents, teachers, staff, and School Board members to start Green Teams and implement green school programs in their own communities. We provide training, support, and advocacy to leverage their efforts. We also establish strategic partnerships with other education, environment, and health organizations, and eco-friendly businesses.
The Green Schools Initiative is a project of Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs, a 501c3 non-profit organization registered as a public charity, which provides non-profit status and fiscal administration (www.saveourplanet.org). Donations are fully tax-deductible.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE: There are many ways you can support us. We rely on local volunteers to take action in their own school communities. Contact us to find out ways of investing in our work, volunteering, and taking action locally.
Paul Chapman, Inverness Associates and former Head of Head-Royce School, Berkeley, CA; Alicia Culver, Responsible Purchasing Network, Oakland, CA; Sharon Danks, Green Schoolyards America, Berkeley, CA; Alison Diaz, Founder and Executive Director, Environmental Charter Schools, Lawndale, CA; Josh Karliner*, Green Schools Initiative Co-Founder, and Health Care Without Harm; Mindy Landmark, Ethnic Health Institute; Kathryn Lee, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, New Haven, CT, and formerly Director Innovation, Partnerships, and Service at Prospect Sierra School, El Cerrito, CA; Jim McGrath, Green Schools National Network, WI; Jeff Mendelsohn, New Leaf Paper Inc., San Francisco, CA; Deborah Moore*, Executive Director; Dr. Justine Weinberg, California Department of Health Services, Indoor Air Quality Section; Mark Thomas*, Environmental Educator, Santa Cruz, CA; Pandora Thomas, Earthseed Consulting, Berkeley, CA.
* = Executive Committee
ABOUT OUR STRATEGY
The Green Schools Initiative has a powerful long-term vision that is based on six strategic goals that we hope to achieve during the next two years. Learn more about our strategy under "Our Strategy."
ABOUT THE "LITTLE GREEN SCHOOLHOUSE" REPORT
DATE PUBLISHED: February 2005
Joshua Karliner, founding director of the Green Schools Initiative, is now the International Team Coordinator for Health Care Without Harm, an international coalition of more than 400 groups in 52 countries working to "green" the health care industry. He has worked with numerous environmental and human rights organizations over the years and is author of two books on global environmental politics.
This report was reviewed by the Green Schools Initiative Executive Committee as well as the following individuals. We thank them for their very helpful time, effort and input, yet take full responsibility for any errors this report contains:
Claire Barnett, China Brotsky, Tammy Damon, Rochelle Davis, Jim Ford, Forrest Gee, Tamar Hurwitz, Anupama Joshi, Tom Lent, Nancy Myers, Yomi Noibi, Anne Rabe, Debbie Rafael, Gary Ruskin, Katie Silberman .
SUPPORT FOR OUR WORK AND THIS PUBLICATION PROVIDED BY:
The Lawson Valentine Foundation; the Max and Anna Levinson Foundation; the Sam and Mary Mills Fund of the East Bay Community Foundation; Anonymous Trust; California Wellness Foundation; the Rudolph Steiner Foundation; Allan and Marion Hunt-Badiner, China Brotsky, Jack Chin, Deborah Moore, Jennie Oppenheimer, Nick Wilton.
Deborah Moore and Adela Karliner
Synergy School Sun Room, Sofia Karliner & Mariah Dawson
DESIGN OF WEBSITE:
Design Action http://designaction.org/
WEB SITE DEVELOPMENT:
Radical Designs http://www.radicaldesigns.org/
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
David Weir, Misa Koketsu, Zenobia Barlow, Sharon Danks, Mark Lindeman, Victor Wallis, Peter Gabel, Maria Rogers Pascual.