Kids and teens all across the world are getting involved in the fight against climate change. And where better for them to start than at their own school. That’s where the Green Schools Campaign comes in. Green Schools is an initiative started by a Youth Action Committee from The Climate Reality Project’s Los Angeles Chapter. The initiative focuses on transitioning every school to 100% clean and renewable energy.
Steps to 100% renewable energy
Get a Group Together. Green School Campaign (GSC) acknowledges that it can feel overwhelming trying to get your school to become green, but they recommend building a passionate support group of students, teachers, and other allies, along with the GSC team.
Start with people you know like friends and classmates. Talk to them about what this initiative would do for your school and community. You may also want to give a short 3–4-minute presentation to your class that gives details about your goal in a way other kids will understand (Head to GreenSchoolNow.org to get helpful resources when building your presentation.). You can also get more students involved by emphasizing that by getting involved, they will have more say in the decision-making process.
Oh and don’t forget about your parents. Having the backing of parents at the school is also an important element to have when convincing decision makers to support your goal.
Finding a Decision Maker. GSC recommends finding a decision-maker within your school or district that supports the goal of 100% renewable energy. Be persistent. You are not being annoying if you keep pushing leadership for something you believe in. It’s their job to listen to student concerns. Having the awesome group that you created of like-minded, goal-driven students is also important in persuading a decision-maker to take part.
School Board Approval. Once you have a group and a decision-maker you’ll want to talk to your school board members about your 100% renewable goal so they can pass a resolution that would commit the school to this goal. To do this, make sure to show up at as many board meetings as you can on behalf of this initiative. This shows your dedication and persistence.
It’s a good idea to put together the benefits your school and community will see when they transition. Benefits can include saving money, increased student involvement, becoming an example for other schools and the community, and learning from one other through the entire process. The important benefit to emphasis is how a 100% renewable energy investment can actually save a school money. School board members often push back because of concerns on cost. But you can show them how, by lowering energy costs, they will have additional funds to invest in teachers, classroom resources, and more.
Don’t forget about a good old fashion petition. Allowing parents, community members, and students to sign a petition about your initiative can show the school board how much support your idea has.
Research. You’ll want to know how much energy your school is consuming, how it effects the community and environment as a whole, how your school board members feel about environmental issues, and what source(s) of renewable energy would best benefit your school. With that information in hand, you’ll go beyond your school to talk to local energy companies about any initiatives or incentives they provide that might help your school transition to the renewable energy source you’ve identified as ideal for your situation.
You Are Not Alone in This. Always remember you aren’t alone. GSC has a list of successfully completedandcurrent campaigns with contacts for people within each initiative so you can always reach out and ask questions or get extra guidance. Plus, once you’ve started the process with GSC, there is a Slack channel provided that all members have access to that allows you to ask your questions, get answers, and share resources. You’ll also be able to participate in monthly Zoom meetings with everyone involved in this campaign, from around the world!
Don’t forget. When a group of kids work together for this common goal, it carries a lot of impact. School board members are tasked with the responsibility to make decisions based on what is in the best interest of students. As a student, you have a right to voice your concerns and goals for the school. The youth of this world are powerful! You can do anything.
Get Started. Take the first step and head to the Green Schools Campaign signup page!
More info. To learn more about the Green School Campaign, please visit them online at GreenSchoolsNow.org.
A special thank you to the directors of the campaign and the fearless youth leaders, Lily Morse (Executive Director, 16 years old) and Angeline Aloysius (Engagement and Intake Director, 18 years old) for their time answer my questions for this article!