Effective green teams in your school can help drive a culture of sustainability. Here are some of our top tips on how to create effective green teams in your school community:
Resist the urge to do this work on your own.
Have conversations with colleagues, leadership, the school business manager, parents and of course your students. You will find traction for your ideas in one or more of these conversations. It is important to have succession in mind. If you were to leave the school, would the Green Team and its work continue and thrive.
Examine what aspects of the curriculum allow you to embed sustainability into classroom teaching.
Explore where this could this be a way of enlisting your colleagues, through faculty, curriculum, subject area meetings. If you can embed sustainability and environment education in the curriculum this can really help the school to embrace a Green Team. STEM or STEAM education is a great vehicle for this.
Investigate where in the student leadership structure is there room for an Environment/Sustainability Captain.
Would this be a rallying point for a Green Team of students? In my experience it is often the quiet achievers who are attracted to this cause and often existing leadership categories aren’t what they are looking for. So if the category doesn’t exist, create it.
Green Teams can make a difference to school budgets.
By reducing energy, water and waste, the school can save money. The Resource Smart Schools (RSS) program works to highlight these savings in schools and if your school isn’t enrolled in Resource Smart, this may be a time to contemplate enrolling and using the program to galvanise school commitment. And, even if RSS isn’t the way to go for your situation, making a business case for your business manager could make them a valuable supporter!
You may decide to start with a group of passionate students.
They might have bold ideas which have the potential to grab the attention of other students. An event to promote an idea might launch a Green Team if there is enough attention brought to the event such as a guest speaker of some note, or the support of local council, politicians or well-known activists and advocates for the environment. Wow the school into supporting these energised students!
Canvass your parents.
There is such wealth of skill, knowledge and desire in a community of parents to support the work of their students. If it’s a veggie garden you want to build, this might be the beginning of a Green Team and there might be a parent who has casual or professional skills and knowledge to help create this garden. A veggie garden or an indigenous garden can create a real sense of community and can lead to composting, increasing biodiversity at school and increasing biodiversity corridors in the neighbourhood, and more.