For five days last month, I braved the frigid temperatures (well, frigid to this Southern Californian) of our nation's capital to speak at the national Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference on a panel about Green Schools. The conference, celebrating its fourth year and attended by more than 3,000 people last year, was presented by the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation, a non-profit that conducts research and educates the public and media about solutions to environmental challenges that create economic opportunities for the American people. The conference included several notable speakers, including EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. The panel I spoke on entitled, "Good Schools, Green Schools," focused on various efforts to build and renovate schools using green building approaches as well as some of the policy drivers impacting the building and renovation of green schools nationwide. The audience included labor union members, environmentalists, school teachers and administrators (no students, unfortunately!)
My presentation featured Global Green's work to green schools in Los Angeles and New Orleans, and I also shared news of the launch of our Green School Makeover Competition, the result of a partnership with Pureology. The Green School Makeover Competition is open to K-12 schools across the country and will award the winning school $65,000 for the opportunity to green its facilities. But more importantly, the Competition is designed to educate and raise awareness about the many benefits of green schools (among them higher student test scores, lower absentee levels) and expand the constituency for green schools.
The remainder of the week in DC was spent in meetings with national education organizations, all of whom we hope to engage as partners in our effort. Although most of these groups do not have environmental or greening as a primary focus, all of them have already begun to consider the benefits of green schools and in some cases have taken steps to incorporate green school issues into their agendas. Global Green is looking forward to working with these potential partners and making green schools the norm rather than the exception. Learn more about our Green Schools Initiative and Makeover Competition.
To download Mary's presentation for Good Jobs, Green Jobs, click here.