Earth Day: Air Quality in SchoolsApril 18, 2017
By Jessica Vician
Earth Day 2017 focuses on environmental and climate literacy. The theme calls attention to the importance of educating ourselves and our children on the needs of Earth’s environment and how humans can reduce the negative impact our species has contributed in the past and move forward with the knowledge of how fragile the environment is.
With that knowledge, we can make better choices every day that might seem small—like daily recycling—but lead to a big impact—reducing the size of our landfills. When we raise our kids to be mindful of their environment, they will grow up to be more environmentally conscious than the generation before them and can develop processes and plans to live smarter, more efficiently, and more Earth-friendly for future generations.
The Earth Day Network has organized many projects, from reforestation efforts (reversing the current trend of losing over 15 billion trees each year) to protecting endangered species. One of their projects that directly impacts your children is the Green Schools Campaign.
Why should you support this initiative? The Earth Day Network says,
“With children spending two-thirds of their waking hours inside schools, benefits like pure air quality, healthy lighting, safe outdoor spaces, and high quality cafeteria food aren’t fancy extras—they are essential.”
Think about air quality alone.
The air quality indoors can be up to 100 times worse than outdoors, and roughly 50 percent of classrooms have poor indoor air quality, according to Earth Day Network. Many school classrooms have low ventilation rates, where respiratory illnesses have increased between 50 to 370 percent, according to research provided by Lawrence Berkely Labs. American students miss about 14 millions school days each year due to asthma, according to the Green Education Foundation.
Those statistics are a rallying cry to use this Earth Day as an opportunity to change. You can start by further educating yourself on the Green Schools Campaign.
- Learn why the initiative is important and how it will impact your child’s health.
- Start talking to other parents about it.
- Schedule a meeting with the school principal to start a conversation. Find out what your school is doing to improve air quality and make the school healthier and greener.
- Introduce yourself to the person leading the initiative at the school and ask how you can help. That might include organizing meetings, fundraising for better building technology, or even educating others on the issue.
These are the first steps to enacting change. Educate yourself, talk to others, and learn what’s already being done. Then think of what else you can do to help current efforts or lead the charge yourself. Change for the future starts with one person. Change for your child’s future starts with you.
Tell us what you learned about your child’s school’s green initiatives in the comments below. Then keep us posted on your progress. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a more direct conversation.