When it comes to making a home, business or other institution “greener”, knowing where to even start is often the greatest hurdle. Indeed, the word “green” can have many meanings, and is mainly an umbrella term to describe just about any initiative developed with the environment in mind.
The challenge, then, is to zero in on specific green initiatives that stand to benefit an individual, community or organization. Here, we’ll explore some real-world applications of “green” ideas within the field of education – and delve into their potential to inspire new generations of environmental game-changers.
Eco-conscious skills training
Let’s face it: the age-old skills of pencil-and-paper mathematics and impeccable book report preparation simply don’t cut it anymore for the modern earth-dweller. With re-wilding still a top trend on social media in 2023, it’s more important than ever to think of how to cultivate useful skills like engineering or construction through a lens of environmental consciousness.
Indeed, the workforce of the future needs to be equipped with climate-savvy, ever-adaptable skills to keep up with a fast-paced planet. Architects, for example, must learn not only how to make buildings strong and aesthetically interesting, but also how to minimize their negative environmental impact.
A glowing example of how to both build green and teach green: Green School Bali. Made entirely of bamboo, the school has a zero-walls policy – it’s all fresh, open air while children learn about developing sustainable solutions to environmental problems. Of course, this wouldn’t work in every environment (Canada, is that you calling?). But here at Green Schools Green Future, we salute those who take advantage of their natural climate to make their buildings that much more sustainable.
Environmentally conscious tech solutions
Green education can mean employing technology to solve issues within communities – and to preserve their integrity. Putting this philosophy into practice, Canadian charities CAMFED Canada and 60 Million Girls are bringing back a successful 2020 initiative in which they provided Mobile Learning Labs to rural communities in Ghana. No Internet necessary – the labs’ content is 100 per cent downloaded, and delivered via iPad for optimum accessibility. This particular initiative qualifies as “green” in that it’s non-invasive, employs reusable tech, and most of all respects the existing characteristics of the communities it serves.
Another way that technology can make a school greener: architecture. Indeed, a “green school” can mean an institution whose very architecture boasts environmentally conscious specs. Take Somos Tagma, for example: this green school, which resides in Canelones, Uruguay, was the very first completely sustainable public school to be built in Latin America. It’s powered by 100 per cent photovoltaic panels, has a rainwater reuse and filtration system, and is made primarily of recycled bottles and cans. Sounds like something out of your grade-school imagination of what an “eco-school” was, right? Now it’s a reality, and an excellent example of technology’s role in modern-day green architecture.
Gender equality, eco-style
Remember that International Women’s Day 2023 is coming up on March 8 of this year! There’s no better month to spotlight how women around the world are making waves in the world of sustainable agriculture. Women-led sustainable farming initiatives have the power to revive families, communities, and the environments in which both social institutions evolve.
Allow us to provide some background. Around the world, women reinvest an average of 90 per cent of their earnings back into their families – more than twice that of their male counterparts. The takeaway: due to their ingrained traditional roles in their families, women are likely to invest in their children’s education and support their studies. As a result, both genders stand to benefit immensely from women’s education and employment.
For this reason, the up-and-coming field of women’s “agripreneurship” stands to benefit many. As suggested by its name, this field is a confluence of agriculture and entrepreneurship. It’s also how many women in developing countries are securing a brighter economic and environmental future for themselves and for their communities. Charities involved in this up-and-coming field include CAMFED, which runs a female- and community-led agripreneurship program for sub-Saharan African women, and Agripreneurship Alliance, a Swiss not-for-profit that offers courses on business development to young African agripreneurs.
Build green, teach green
There are countless ways that a system of teaching and learning can be ecologically conscious and make a positive environmental impact. One thing’s for sure, though: the ideal green school respects the ecosystem and community in which it has been built, provides environmentally conscious skills training to its students, and is itself a self-sustaining, eco-friendly architectural feat.
Ultimately, going “green” looks different for every individual and every community that adopts it. Here at Green Schools Green Future, we’re all about embracing the multi-faceted, ever-changing nature of green education.
Blog image credit: GSGF site
Written by Tara Smylie