What You Can Do: At School
Did You Know?
Students, educators and school administrators can all play a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Here is a directory of some education and action-planning resources to help you:
Middle school students: Explore climate science and solutions
Explore A Student's Guide to Global Climate Change to learn more about the science and impacts of climate change. The site also provides videos, animations, and interactive expeditions where students can explore and learn how climate change will affect places around the world. The site helps students, their parents, and their teachers learn about solutions and the actions they can take to reduce greenhouse emissions.
High school students:
- Track your school's climate impact
High school students can investigate the link between everyday actions at their high school, greenhouse gas emissions, and climate change. Using EPA's Climate Change Emission Calculator Kit (Climate CHECK) (WinZip of Excel spreadsheet, 3.4MB), students can learn about climate change, estimate their school's greenhouse gas emissions, and identify ways to mitigate their school's climate impact. Students gain detailed understandings of climate-change drivers, impacts, and science; produce an emission inventory and action plan; and can even submit the results of their emission inventory to their school district. They can also use Portfolio Manager to compare the energy use of your school with other schools nationwide, and earn the ENERGY STAR for your school if it qualifies as a top performer.
- Spread the word. Give a presentation to your family, school, or community group that explains how their actions can cause or reduce climate change. You can use EPA's “Create a New Climate for Action” presentation (PowerPoint file, 51 pp, 32MB) or full–screen PDF (51 pp, 33MB); presenter notes (PDF) (51 pp, 5MB) or develop your own. Get creative, and think of more ways to help others make a difference!
- Track your school's climate impact
College students: Get involved at your college or university
College students can play an important role in reducing greenhouse emissions at their colleges or universities by reducing their emissions from energy they use in dorm rooms. Students can also work with school administrators to develop an inventory, increase energy efficiency on campus, and reduce their school's greenhouse gas emissions by using green power.
Teach students about climate change and ecosystems
Use the teacher resources on EPA's Students Guide to Climate Change. Use the Climate Change, Wildlife and Wildlands: A Toolkit for Formal and Informal Educators to learn about the science of climate change and its potential effects on our nation's wildlife and their habitats. Download and share EPA's eight-page brochure, Frequently Asked Questions About Global Warming and Climate Change: Back to Basics (PDF) (8 pp, 1.6MB, About PDF), which provides illustrated answers to frequent questions.
Engage middle school students in estimating emissions
Enhance critical-thinking skills by introducing the Global Warming Wheel Card Classroom Activity Kit to middle school students. A hand-held wheel card and other resources help students estimate household greenhouse gas emissions in order to encourage students to think about ways they can reduce their personal, family, school, and community contributions to climate change. If you are an informal educator, simply use the Global Warming Wheel Card as a part of your field activities.
Learn from other educators
Investigate what other schools and organizations are doing to educate their audiences on climate change by clicking on Educators' Links, a database offering links to resources such as lesson plans, videos, books and toolkits.
Save money and the environment
The least efficient schools use three times more energy than the best energy performers. By partnering with the highly successful ENERGY STAR for K-12 School Districts and using Portfolio Manager to track and rate the energy performance of your portfolio of school buildings, school districts can serve as environmental leaders in their community, become energy efficient, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and save money! If you're considering a new building, EPA's voluntary School Siting Guidelines can provide tips for reducing climate and health impacts.
Estimate your emissions and take the challenge
School administrators can also work to reduce their school's greenhouse gas emissions by developing an inventory of their school's emissions or by taking the College & University Green Power Challenge.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
Recycle school or classroom paper, newspapers, beverage containers, electronic equipment and batteries. Reducing, reusing, and recycling at school and in the classroom helps conserve energy, and reduce pollution and greenhouse gases from resource extraction, manufacturing, and disposal. You can reduce, reuse, and recycle at school or in the classroom by using two-sided printing and copying, buying supplies made with recycled content, and recycling used printer cartridges. For your old electronics, donate used equipment to other organizations, or investigate leasing programs to ensure that used equipment is reused and recycled.