Schools release a large amount of greenhouse gases through the energy they use just to keep the building working the way it should. Add in the gases that are created just to get everything — from the students to the lunches — onto the premises, and you've got a lot of potential to cut back on these emissions. Some of them, such as how to cut overall energy use, are covered in other chapters, but here are some more concrete ideas for tackling global warming as a school.
Get your classroom a copy of The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming by Laurie David and Cambria Gordon. It is a comprehensive resource for ages eight and up that clearly describes the science and has ideas for how we can work together to stop it. It's informative, inspiring, and has enough great photos to keep any young reader engaged.
Design an Awareness Campaign
It's wonderful to let kids use their own creativity to develop awareness campaigns. They can design posters that offer tips for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that they can hang on your school's walls. They can offer ideas to school boards and other school officials for reducing emissions. You can also work with your students to assess your school's carbon foot-print. Do an online search for “school carbon footprint,” and you'll find a variety of resources to walk you through the process. For the best experience, start the effort in the fall or winter and reassess in the spring or summer. It takes people time to make changes, and it motivates students when they see they've made a difference.
School carbon-footprint calculators let you look at how much your school's greenhouse gas emissions are, and individual carbon-footprint calculators do exactly the same thing. Have each student do an assessment of his or her home and then aggregate the results for the whole class. Have a contest with other classrooms to see which one can bring their overall footprint down over a given period of time. The natural spirit of competition can create enormous changes (and it's a great way to get the kids to bring the issue home).