Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Why We Need High Performance Healthy Schools

Insights + Opinion
Why We Need High Performance Healthy Schools

Everyone who knows me knows how passionate I am about the future of our children. As a mom, I constantly think about the planet we are leaving to future generations and how it will impact their health and wellbeing.

In a few weeks, I will be speaking at the Green Schools National Conference in Denver to share my vision for providing children with healthy learning environments, as well as access to environmental education.

I’ll be joined by some of our country’s top education and environmental experts to discuss how schools can access funding for green projects and resources teachers can use in the classroom to ensure their students are environmentally literate.

Through my work with the Captain Planet Foundation and Mothers and Others for Clean Air (an organization I co-founded with my friend Stephanie Blank), I have seen the powerful impact certain programs can have on students, educators and school systems. I would like to take the opportunity to share a few examples here today.

An Education Model That Works  

At a recent Captain Planet Foundation Benefit, we presented Arabia Mountain High School Academy of Engineering and Environmental Studies with a CPF School Award for fostering the growth of young environmental stewards and helping students connect the lessons they learn in the classroom with the outside world.

I was so impressed when I learned about this school’s education model, known as The EIC Model™, which stands for “using the Environment as an Integrating Context for improving student learning.”  Not only does Arabia Mountain High School follow The EIC Model™, but it is also the first public school in Georgia with an LEED Silver Certification.

Developed by the State Education & Environmental Roundtable (SEER), the EIC Model™ consists of educational “best practices,” to teach students K-12 about the environment and service learning in their communities.

In this specialized high school, students study energy, biodiversity, water conservation and eco-friendly growth. They also have access to the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area, which encompasses 40,000 acres in three counties in the Atlanta Metro Area.

In each grade level, students are assigned an inquiry question which they study for an entire year.

This program was designed to improve engagement as well as teach students about the environment. While this is just one specific example, there are multiple schools throughout the country that follow similar models. I hope that it is a continuing trend that we will see in more schools in the future.

A Healthy Learning Environment

Mothers and Others for Clean Air works to reduce children’s exposure to air pollution—at school and in their communities. Childhood asthma is unfortunately a growing trend and here in Georgia, we have one of the highest rates of the condition in the country. To me, this is unacceptable, so I started Mothers and Others to help improve air quality for all Georgians.

We established the Mothers and Others School AQI (Air Quality Index) Flag Program based upon the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index. Through this system, parents, teachers and students are informed about each day’s air quality based on a colored flag flying outside the school.

We also encourage transportation officials to apply for grants that pay for school bus retrofits to reduce the toxic diesel emissions students are exposed to on their morning and afternoon commutes.

Our youth are our future. By educating them about our planet’s important resources, as well as providing them with safe learning environments, we are giving them the tools they need to build a healthier, safer future.

Sun Cable hopes to start construction of the world's largest solar farm in 2023. Sun Cable
A large expanse of Australia's deserted Outback will house the world's largest solar farm and generate enough energy to export power to Singapore, as The Guardian reported.
Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Construction on the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric station in 2015. Government of Newfoundland and Labrador / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Tara Lohan

In 1999 a cheering crowd watched as a backhoe breached a hydroelectric dam on Maine's Kennebec River. The effort to help restore native fish populations and the river's health was hailed as a success and ignited a nationwide movement that spurred 1,200 dam removals in two decades.

Read More Show Less

Trending

We pet owners know how much you love your pooch. It's your best friend. It gives you pure happiness and comfort when you're together. But there are times that dogs can be very challenging, especially if they are suffering from a certain ailment. As a dog owner, all you want to do is ease whatever pain or discomfort your best friend is feeling.

Read More Show Less
A new study has revealed that Earth's biggest mass extinction was triggered by volcanic activity that led to ocean acidification. Illustration by Dawid Adam Iurino (PaleoFactory, Sapienza University of Rome) for Jurikova et al (2020)

The excess carbon dioxide emitted by human activity since the start of the industrial revolution has already raised the Earth's temperature by more than one degree Celsius, increased the risk of extreme hurricanes and wildfires and killed off more than half of the corals in the Great Barrier Reef. But geologic history shows that the impacts of greenhouse gases could be much worse.

Read More Show Less
Coronavirus-sniffing dogs Miina and Kössi (R) are seen in Vantaa, Finland on September 2, 2020. Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva / AFP/ Getty Images

By Teri Schultz

Europe is in a panic over the second wave of COVID-19, with infection rates sky-rocketing and GDP plummeting. Belgium has just announced it will no longer test asymptomatic people, even if they've been in contact with someone who has the disease, because the backlog in processing is overwhelming. Other European countries are also struggling to keep up testing and tracing.

Meanwhile in a small cabin in Helsinki airport, for his preferred payment of a morsel of cat food, rescue dog Kossi needs just a few seconds to tell whether someone has coronavirus.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch