My son is starting kindergarten in a few weeks, but our PTO (which is arguably managed better than most companies) has already assessed all the incoming kindergarten parents’ skill sets and competencies for various volunteer opportunities. No shocker here, I was drafted for the Green Team. I was enthusiastic because my initial thought was that I could be really helpful given that green living, is well, my day job.
We haven’t even had our first meeting yet (it’s Wednesday), but I’ve already figured out these parents are WAY ahead of the curve. Led by the dynamic duo of Jamie Scarborough Green and Sun Woo Khang and formed last year, the group has managed to achieve immediate results, including:
* switching from disposable to reusable cups for parent coffees, PTO meetings, etc. One thing I loved is that they asked the whole school to donate old coffee mugs to make this happen–what a great idea!
* switching to compostable disposables for large events ranging from the school fun run to graduation
* developed good relationships and support from Angino Farm (a community farm) and Whole Foods. The school has a garden supported by students and parent volunteers and Whole Foods helps with composting.
* shared the results of the school’s energy efficiency audit and will assumedly lobby the city for improvements
* set up a Big Tent online community which has parental advice for things like earth-friendly school supplies. It is also linked with the Greater Boston Green Schools community to share ideas and get inspiration. My personal favorite thing on the site was this video that the kids in the school made to encourage people to reduce, reuse and recycle.
The project plan for this year includes improving the quality of school lunch, tackling pesticides, greening over 15 events, pursuing lots of kid and parent education, and potentially joining in broader events like the Waste Free Wednesdays, Green School Days, and Litter Free lunches–and oh yes, finding a HEPA vacuum to be donated to the custodians.
What I noticed from this amazing, intensive project plan, however, is how many initiatives still need a point person. If your school has a green team, I am confident that Jamie and Sunwoo’s counterparts at your school are looking for foot soldiers who are willing to tackle a projects large and small. Imagine what would happen if 10-15 parents picked just one Green Team thing to help lead for their school–whether it’s a big thorny issue like pesticide use or being an event “Waste Warrior.” That project plan would start having “done” next to lots of items. And fast! I’m looking at the list and can see several actions that fit my time, skills and interests, and I’m looking forward to checking my first item off the list.
If your school doesn’t have a green team, there are lots of online resources to help get you started, on sites like Greenschools or Eco-Schools. If you need one more reason? You can get points on Practically Green for joining your school’s green team!
This post was submitted as part of the Green Moms Carnival.