The greenest school on earth

| June 17, 2015 | 0 Comments

The Global Coalition for Green Schools, an initiative run by the Centre for Green Schools, part of the US Green Building Council based in Washington, DC in the US, has announced that Dunbarton High School in Ontario, Canada is the 2015 ‘Greenest School on Earth’.

The award is given annually to an institution that embraces a ‘whole-school’ approach to sustainability.

Many of Dunbarton’s green initiatives are student-led. They include participation in an Atlantic salmon restoration project and an on-campus waste management programme. The school also has a 40-seat outdoor classroom (meant to bring students closer to nature), a 5 000 square foot ‘pollinator garden’ (designed to attract butterflies) and ‘insect condominiums’ (stacks of wood with holes to provide shelter). It’s also installed energy-efficient lighting and windows.

Said one of this year’s judges, Princess Noor bint Asem of Jordan, “One of the things we loved about Dunbarton is that so much of its activity is driven by the students and the community. We really believe that is the way it can be sustained and magnified.

“Dunbarton is also applying sustainability across many different subjects, from photography and art classes to finance and maths.” Dunbarton stood out from a list of schools from 20 countries that told the judges how they reduce energy, water and waste; how well they’re enhancing health and well-being in their environment; and how effectively they’re teaching environmental literacy.

The judges gave an honourable mention to Vele Secondary School in Limpopo, South Africa. Unlike Dunbarton, which was built in the 1960s, it’s a new school with its own energy monitoring system, natural ventilation and gardens for growing food. But it doesn’t engage students in the same way Dunbarton does, according to Carly Cowan, the Centre for Green Schools’ international programme manager. “The big differentiating factor between Dunbarton and Vele is that Dunbarton’s students showed a lot more leadership and initiative in making the school green,” she says.

Category: Winter 2015

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