Greening Your Legacy
By Rachel Gutter
Make no mistake -- green is everywhere. A basic Internet search for the phrase “go green” returns links to more than 10 million websites, including sites for government agencies, nonprofit organizations, product manufacturers, and news outlets. International corporations, local business owners, celebrities, and political leaders are going green, saturating the media and the marketplace with messages about sustainability and environmental stewardship.
We hear many stories of true impact, while others are better characterized as “green washing.” As consumers, educators, and leaders, our job is to know the difference.
The proliferation of green is for a very good reason, even if some claims are overstated. In the midst of an economic crisis, and on the brink of an environmental one, we are armed with a comprehensive understanding of the impact our actions have on the world in which we live and the ways in which we can do better.
Buildings in the U.S. are responsible for 39 percent of CO2 emissions, 40 percent of energy consumption, 13 percent of water consumption, and 15 percent of gross domestic product per year, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity. Greater building efficiency can meet 85 percent of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green building has the potential to generate 2.5 million American jobs.
More important, greening our homes, our schools, and our lifestyles will improve our health and our children’s health. As a school leader, you should encourage your district to rethink the way your schools are designed, built, and operated.
Make green your legacy.
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