Here’s a little check – list from the New Delhi based children’s newspaper Gobar Times, to rate your school.
Optimum use of the school bus fleet: School bus routes should cover a lot of area, with the fleet picking up as many students as possible.
Car pooling: This is quite a workable idea today. Students coming to school from the same neighbourhood should be encouraged to car-pool, after working out the cost of petrol and vehicle wear and tear.
Saving energy: Sometimes, we’re so busy making the world a better place that we forget to switch off the fans lights when we leave the classroom.
And paper: At the end of a year, there are usually lots of blank pages left in exercise books. These make great rough books and note-pads when torn out and stitched/stapled. Re-using the flip-side of photocopied notes also saves paper. Also photocopy on both sides of the paper.
The watering hole
The green canteen: Plastic and thermocol throw-away cups may be cheap and convenient, but they are extremely eco-unfriendly. Investing in some good reusable crockery is cheaper in the long run.
School taps: Make sure that drinking water taps and bathroom taps aren’t left running and don’t leak. This will save precious water.
Catch water: A school could work out a system of catching rainwater and storing it. Take a space of 25 sq metres, perhaps the roof, in a city that gets 50cm of rain in a year. The amount of run-off would be close to 12,500 litres per year. That’s two months of water supply for a family of four – for everything that a family of four does !
The Green Patch
Over-watering: Many schools have a field, a lawn or a green patch that is its pride. The mali often leaves the hose spouting water, making soggy patches all over the grass. This does not make the grass any greener. If possible, use sprinklers or a drip-system of watering. These are much more efficient.
Home’s best: Plant indigenous or local species of plants and trees which are acclimatised and aren’t water-guzzlers or need artificially-heated hot-houses.
An eco-club that invites interesting speakers to speak at the assembly, organises trips to successful projects or gets involved in green networks is a must.
Wall Mag : An eco-mag that’s informative and entertaining, but easy to produce, serves as a platform for sharing new ideas and good experiences. Good work and upcoming events should be displayed on a notice – board. The third alternative is combining these to make a Wall-Magazine.
Recycling garbage: If you have the space, make a compost-pit to turn organic waste produced in the kitchen, etc, into soil-enriching manure that can be used on school lawns. This reduces the use artificial fertilizers.
The design of a school building should be such that it optimises on natural lighting and air flow. This can reduce the use of lights and fans to a very great extent. So, orienting a building and its doors and windows so that catch the dominant wind and light directions is very important in energy – saving, besides influencing the atmosphere. Doesn’t a dark artificially lighted school make you feel dull?
Your school may not have done all of the following, and we certainly haven’t covered everything, either. Its aiming to get there that matters.
[ Courtesy: Gobar Times, a children’s newspaper produced by the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment. It aims to create environmental awareness among children by dealing with issues in a language that is simple, quirky and fun, along with innovative visuals.]