Green Schools: Green Moms Tell It Like It Is!

August 11th, 2009

With 32 submissions from 28 green women bloggers, I am thrilled to share what may be the most comprehensive listing of environmentally friendly back-to-school tips on the web. From daycare to college to homeschooling, we’ve got you covered! And these tips are from women who’ve been there and done that: the wonderful women of the Green Moms Carnival.  Thanks to all of the contributors for sharing your insights so that together, we can green those schools!

On a side note, Happy Birthday to the Carnival! It’s hard to believe, but we got started a  year ago August when we launched our very first carnival, “Tackling Global Warming.”

Let’s  dive in. The 32 blog posts fall into eight categories:

  1. At the Beginning: Green Childcare;
  2. Healthy Meals and How to Pack a Waste-Free Lunch;
  3. School Supply Lists and Eco-Friendly School Supplies;
  4. The Edible Schoolyard;
  5. Why It’s Worth Fighting to Keep Recess;
  6. Greening Your School: From Green Committees to Green Certification;
  7. Back to School: Homeschooling Edition; and
  8. Tips for Green College Kids.

So sit back, grab your BPA-free water bottle, and enjoy this comprehensive look at Green Schools.

At the Beginning: Green Child Care

  • Mary Hunt of In Women We Trust tells us how the Los Angeles Community College District is setting new standards for green building, which benefits the child care centers in the system. As Mary puts it, “build green, teach green, learn green, live green and bring the next generation along in your footsteps.”

Eating Healthy  – What to Eat and How to Pack a Waste-Free Lunch

  • Of course we all know the most important meal of the day is breakfast. Sommer from Green and Clean Mom shares  some great Healthy Breakfast Ideas
  • Amy from Crunchy Domestic Goddess shares some really nifty tips for Turning Back to School Lunches Green. I especially appreciate the fact that Amy brings up the issue of over packaging, and she even includes links to great recipes!
  • Green Bean from Green Phone Booth shares a wonderful story about an old cookbook, circa 1951, devoted to packing  healthy, interesting, and waste-free lunches. She poses the question: So what have we really learned in 2 generations?
  • Like Green Bean, Mindful Momma writes about a simpler era and then goes on to include some simply wonderful, clever tips for packing a healthy lunch. Check it out!
  • Amy of  Gift of Green passes along some helpful tips for how to pack a waste-free lunch in her post, “Back to School, Back to Green.”

Those Darn School Supply Lists, Plus Eco-Friendly School Supplies: What are They? And  How to Find Them

  • Are you sick and tired of antibacterial soap everywhere, including on your child’s school supply list?  ( I know I am!) Katie from Kitchen Stewardship issues this Bath and Body Works Anti-Antibacterial Soap Letter.  Katie has made it easy to, as she puts it, “vent about the overuse of the toxic triclosan and the crazy marketing Bath and Body Works throws at us, our children, and their school administrators.” On her site you’ll also  find links to information about safe hand-washing, the dangers of antibacterial soaps, and a breakdown of hand sanitizers to prepare you for the back-to-school germaphobia.  (Frankly, I think I’ll pass her letter along to my school administrators in addition to Bath and Body Works. It irks me to no end that we were all but required to buy anti-bacterial cleansers  for the classroom!)
  • Sommer of Green and Clean Mom, in her second submission to the carnival, feels much the same as Katy does about anti-bacterial cleansers, particularly those with triclosan.  In her post, “Triclosan and the Non-Toxic Classroom,” this former teacher offers some tips for dealing with the schools around this issue.
  • Beth Terry of Fake Plastic Fish presents us with a conundrum: which one of these three binder options is actually more environmentally friendly?  As with so much in the green movement, the choices aren’t clear-cut.
  • However, as Beth points out in her second contribution to the carnival, the choice of using PVC or not is actually quite clear-cut. Beth presents a great argument against the use of PVC binders, lunchboxes, and the like, and links to more resources from the Center for Health and Environmental Justice, which has just launched a Parent’s Guide to Safer School Supplies.
  • I swear, everytime I read one of EnviroMom’s postings I feel like packing it in and moving to Portland. This one is no exception,  with Renee writing about a wonderful local organization that consolidates the school supply lists and donates excess to charity. She also shares some of her hits and misses in shopping for eco-friendly items for back-to-school.

Eco-Friendly School Supplies,  Waste-Free Lunch Tips and More: All in One Green Tips for Back to School!

Several of the @GreenMoms shared great round-up posts with tips for green back-to-school that include everything from healthy waste-free lunches to eco-friendly school supplies, to clothing, walking instead of riding, and more! 

  • Just when we’ve figured out what BPA is and what all those plastic # signs mean, we’ve got another strange substance to become familiar with:  Microban.  Read all about it here courtesy of Jennifer Taggert, the SmartMama.
  • Tiffany from Nature Moms gives great tips on Eco Friendly lunch boxes and water bottles,  including reviews of some of her favorites, as well as helpful tips for clothing, backpacks, and other school supplies that are kind to the environment.
  • In “Going Back to School Green,” Leslie from Recycle Your Day shares her memories of how she prepped for back to school – back in the days when recycled paper was gray and cheaper than conventional paper!  Plus, she shares plenty of more-up-to-date tips with us, including reviews of a few favorite products.
  • And if you’re not sure your kid can master the art of returning bottles and containers, Diane of Big Green Purse has a “secret tip” for you, in addition to some great background information on why environmentally-friendly lunch boxes are so important. Check out “Lunch Boxes Should Be Safe and Environmentally Friendly” and learn about some of Diane’s favorite eco-friendly options!
  • If you find that some of these eco-friendly lunch kits simply cost more than  you’re willing to spend, check out “How to Pack a Cheap and Easy Waste-Free Lunch” where I share some of my favorite frugal green tips, from $1.99 for a big pack of recyclable brown bags to el-cheapo reusbale food containers.

School Supplies: End-of-Year Disposal Issues and a Quest for More Sustainable School Supplies

The Edible Schoolyard: Kindergarten Edition

  • Deanna from Crunchy Chicken shares “The Edible Schoolyard,” an encouraging tale of how a kindergarten class started an edible garden at her local elementary school.

Why It’s Worth Fighting to Keep Recess

  • In “Recess Helps Kids Learn, Don’t Take It Away!” Katy Farber of Non-Toxic Kids shares her insights about why it’s important to keep recess a priority in the schools. One would think that the research on the benefits of healthy recess would be well understood by educators, but unfortunately it’s still not a priority in our nation’s schools.

Greening Your School: From Green Committees to LEED Certification,  & Asbestos Abatement

  • Tiffany from Mommy Goes Green shares “My Healthy School” – some great tips for working with your school administration to green your school. 
  • The bloggy world is so crazy – I had to go to BlogHer to meet Jennifer from Puddle Jumping in DC – who just submitted a wonderful post about a  certified green school, right here in Montgomery County, Maryland, where I live! I had no idea! Check out Jennifer’s post, which includes a wonderful video of a 5th grade girl discussing what it’s like to study at a green school.

Back to School: HomeSchooling Edition

  • Of course, it’s dilemmas like the fight for recess that Katy described in her post that are pushing more and more parents to private schools and to homeschooling. Lisa Sharp doesn’t  have kids of her own, but she was homeschooled and she shares some wonderful memories and tips for Green home schooling parents in her post, “Back to School: Home Schooling Edition.”

Tips for Green College Kids

  • We’ve run the gamut from daycare to college. The kids have grown up, but we parents are still concerned with keeping ep them healthy and safe. Karen Hanrahan of Best of Mother Earth shares her tips for helpful herbal remedies for how to Keep  Your College Kid Healthy.
  • Lisa of Condo Blues shares ten tips for college students who want to go green. My favorite? Donate unused clothing, furniture, food, etc. before leaving campus.

About the Green Moms Carnival – We are a group of green women bloggers, united by our desire to protect and preserve Mother Earth. Once a month or so, we share our thoughts on a common theme, so that together our environmental messages are heard by more people than we could possibly ever reach on our own. You can read more about us here and you can subscribe to all our blog posts automatically through Twitter at @GreenMoms.

– Lynn

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20 Responses to “Green Schools: Green Moms Tell It Like It Is!”

  1. mother earth aka karen hanrahan on August 11, 2009 10:01 am

    WOW! The volume of contribution and expertise in this post is astounding! Thank you Lynn for hosting and Happy Anniversary to all of us!

  2. Sommer @greenmom on August 11, 2009 7:07 pm

    Lynn, thank you for hosting this great carnival and what a round-up of submissions! Wow! I have a lot of reading to do and some amazing some green tips for the back to school season to share with my readers.

    Best wishes for a wonderful three week break. Enjoy!

  3. Lynn on August 11, 2009 8:00 pm

    Karen and Sommer,

    Thanks for your comments. I can already tell that taking my cyberbreak will be hard…good thing it’s 3 weeks…it may take me that long to really break the habit for a day! :)

    Lynn

  4. Green Bean on August 11, 2009 8:40 pm

    Thanks for hosting, Lynn! Enjoy the rest of your summer as I head off to read everyone’s posts.

  5. Crunchy Chicken on August 11, 2009 9:10 pm

    There’s a lot of good stuff here! I linked to the post and added an update for how the garden is growing at the school. It’s getting good and bushy!

  6. Mary Hunt on August 11, 2009 10:02 pm

    Oh my MY, what an fabulous write up that pulls you through that massive list.

  7. Lynn on August 12, 2009 4:44 am

    Mary, thanks so much for the compliment about the write-up. You’re such a great writer, coming from you (especially), that means a lot!

    Crunchy, can’t wait to read the update – hope you were spared the tomato blight.

    Hey Green Bean, thanks for stopping by and your comment!

  8. Janelle Sorensen on August 12, 2009 8:11 am

    I am personally awarding this post “Best Carnival Ever” – and not just best Green Moms Carnival – best any carnival ever!! What a wealth of knowledge. This group is definitely improving with age (Happy Birthday!!)

    Thanks for hosting, Lynn! Have a super cyber-break!

  9. The Lexus of Waste-Free Lunch Systems by citizenpip™ : Green and Clean Mom ™ on August 13, 2009 6:01 am

    [...] green tips and advise for this back to school season that includes nearly 30 posts at this months Green Moms Carnival. It is simply [...]

  10. Organic and Green Mom Blog | Mean Mommy No More: How Eco-Green Became Really Awesome at Organic Mania on August 14, 2009 8:41 pm

    [...] the way, I just updated the Green Schools Green Moms Carnival (below) with a late entry from Jennifer Taggert about microban in school lunch boxes.  Check it [...]

  11. Jennie on August 15, 2009 11:40 am

    I have a whole week of Green your Back to School ideas, as well as a weeks worth of Green your Back to School Giveaways. If you are interested, check it out. http://www.mysweetgreens.com. Great ideas on your blog.
    .-= Jennie´s last blog ..Green your Back to School:: CG Kidz Stainless Steel Bottle {Giveaway!} =-.

  12. Green school supplies and waste-free lunches « Bethesda Green on August 19, 2009 5:38 am

    [...] Our friends at OrganicMania have assembled a comprehensive listing of back-to-school tips — Green Moms Tell It Like It Is — a great resource for [...]

  13. Alexis on September 9, 2009 1:37 pm

    What a comprehensive list! I love it. I just found a green back to school item that I wanted to share. Backpacks that are each made from 7 recycled water bottles! I found them at AskMelissa..you can check them out along with some other back to school items here:
    http://www.askmelissa.com/index.php/features/back_to_school_08-31-09

  14. Organic and Green Mom Blog | Mandated Waste: Simple Questions about School Lunch Reform at Organic Mania on September 16, 2009 1:51 pm

    [...] Check out the rest of the Green Moms Carnival Submissions here at The Mindful Momma!  (And for a few more great posts on school lunch, check out last month’s  Green Moms Carnival on Back to School, [...]

  15. Beth’s Big Back to School Binder Debate & Give-Away | Fake Plastic Fish on October 13, 2009 7:53 pm

    [...] post is part of my contribution to August’s Green Moms’ Back to School Carnival hosted by Organicmania. tweetmeme_url = [...]

  16. New Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies | Fake Plastic Fish on December 24, 2009 5:04 am

    [...] post is part of my contribution to August’s Green Moms’ Back to School Carnival hosted by Organicmania.  tweetmeme_url = [...]

  17. Back To School Freak – Best of Mother Earth on August 3, 2010 10:33 am

    [...] started gathering monthly to write about topics of greenness.  How cool is that!   Click on here to find twenty eight green savvy perspectives and awesome resources regarding back to school [...]

  18. Richard Matthews on August 21, 2010 1:28 pm

    Excellent post! There are thousands of examples of green educational programs that meet the sustainability demands of the modern era. From a green school in Bali that offers sustainable education starting at preschool, to rapidly proliferating college level curriculums in America, green academics are on the rise around the world. Sustainable education programs are bridging the gaps in our knowledge and transforming the students of today into the leaders of tomorrow. Please see Green Schools are Bridging the Knowledge Gap.

    http://thegreenmarket.blogspot.com/2010/08/green-schools-bridging-sustainable.html

  19. Green Mom’s Carnival Celebrates One Year! – Best of Mother Earth on October 14, 2010 4:31 am

    [...] about topics of greenness.  How cool is that! This month the topic is green schools.  Click on here to find twenty eight green savvy perspectives and awesome [...]

  20. Eco Friendly and Green Back to School Tips | Greenschoolandoffice's Blog on August 24, 2011 8:06 am

    [...] Organic and Green Moms – I linked an older post, but good information [...]

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