During Dr. Naomi Oreskes’s public forum a few weeks ago, she spoke about how she answers the question, “What can I do to help fight climate change? Should I buy a new hybrid car?” Dr. Oreskes said that she instantly responds that the best car is the car you already have. The amount of waste created by passing along a car and buying a new one, far outweighs the carbon emissions your car may emit (except of course if you are driving around a HUMMER). When you NEED a new a car, this may be the time to look into one with better gas mileage.This concept is easily transferred to other components of our life and at school. I wondered this year as I walked the corridors of my daughter’s school looking at the piles of new sparkling school supplies, what had happened to last years notebooks, markers, crayons and glue. Were those still writable markers thrown out? The half filled notebooks sent home and put away in basement and attic storage? This idea and inclination for the newest, the most bright and sparkling is a hard one to fight. Who doesn’t like to crack open a new notebook? But how long does that feeling really last? An hour? A day? Making this something to be proud of needs to become more streamlined and every day in our schools. Make a contest to see who can use the same notebook until the very last page and celebrate the learning that occurred between those covers and over the time it took to finish it. Finish the glue down the very last drop and then reuse the bottle for something else.
Have you come up with any creative ideas at your school? Send them in and we’ll share them here on Climate lessons blog!