Laura Turner SeydelBy Laura Turner Seydel

When going green, knowledge is power and each day is a new opportunity to educate ourselves with vital information to make a difference and improve our quality of life. As we embark upon a new school year we must recognize the importance of environmental education and celebrate those schools that have already spearheaded sustainability initiatives.

Some schools have already embraced sustainability like the Lovett School, which was recently featured on CNN for its amazing conservation efforts. Through an efficient, Internet based carpool finder, bio-diesel fueled on-campus vehicles, stringent recycling efforts, resource reduction and windmill power, Lovett has successfully reduced its carbon footprint and teaches others to do the same.

Lovett and other area schools, like Paideia School, have taken the environmental commitment one step further and have joined the Green School Alliance ( and have participated in the Green Cup Challenge. This national, student-driven, interschool challenge aims to reduce electricity use, related greenhouse gas emissions, and improve conservation and recycling efforts. Of the 20 Atlanta schools that participated, Paideia School came out victorious having saved $15,000 in energy costs during the month of February thanks to its commitment to go green.

If your school doesn’t already have an environmental sustainability plan in place, here are a few tips:

• Buy environmentally friendly school supplies. Look for supplies made from recycled content or those that can be recycled at the end of their life.

• Reduce your resources. Encourage your kids to write on both sides of a sheet of paper or use the back of old photocopied worksheets as printer paper.

• Create a school carpool with neighborhood moms to reduce carbon emissions. Also, do not idle when waiting in the carpool line. Turn off your car to save gas and reduce emissions.

• Pack school lunches in reusable containers and bags. And don’t forget the reusable water bottles instead of disposable juice boxes.

• Encourage kids to ask environmental questions like, “where’s the recycling bin?” or “can we turn the lights off when we leave the room?” Teachers can learn from their students, too.

For tips to reduce your environmental impact, visit, or to learn more about the ZWZ, visit

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.