Many Cambridge residents will not be surprised that “Green Schools” is a major plank of my election platform. Indeed, green schools was a major plank in my election platform in 2007 when I was the Green Party candidate for Cambridge in the provincial election that year.
I believe now, as I did in 2007, that every school in the Region should be home to at least one renewable energy source. Wind, solar, and geo-thermal energy projects are viable at almost any school location due to the large (and usually flat) roofs and large properties.
While the Board may save some money in the long-term with these projects, there are even greater benefits.
- Learning Opportunities: the students could be involved in the energy projects – monitoring how much energy is saved, for example.
- Leading by Example: we cannot justify teaching our children about living sustainably if we are not willing to do so ourselves.
- Community Partnerships: we are lucky to have renewable energy businesses right here in the Region that could be engaged in the schools’ renewable energy programs.
- Reducing Local Energy Demand: by generating some of their own electricity, schools will help keep the power consumption levels lower – especially during the peak summer months when schools use even less energy.
There are, of course, smaller-scale efforts that can be made to make our schools greener than they already are. The Board should be drawing on the creativity of its students (and staff) to find green solutions in their schools. One way to do that would be to encourage participation in grant programs like the WWF Canada’s Green CommUnity School Grants program. Beyond encouragement, the Board should be offering matching funds to any successful applicant.
On October 25th you have the opportunity to have a say in the future of your school board. I ask for your support. To make sure you are on the voter’s list and to find out where to vote, please visit this page: http://cambridgepublicschools.ca/on-the-list/
Update: I’ve just been reminded of the great EcoSchools program at WRDSB. Congrats to all the students and staff involved at those schools!