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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Environmental Footprint Of Schools + Resources

Environmental Footprint Of Schools + Resources

Related Tags: Environmental Education
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There are a number of things that cause pollution in schools leading to the degradation of the environment. This include things such as exhaust fumes caused by old/faulty cars, print paper/ink, office waste, industries located nearby, mildew and mold, pesticides, toxins from furniture, floor coverings and paint among many other things.

These can cause problems to the environment which can lead to harmful effects at the end of the day.

It is possible to come up with green school initiatives which are normally successful if everyone is behind them including teachers, students and other staff. There are some tools that can be used for ecology in schools to motivate everyone to be part of the initiatives.

These are important as they can also be used to evaluate progress which will help celebrate the achievements that have been made so that students can continue working with the seven steps to a green school.

Prospect Sierra School is one of the schools that have used the footprint tool successfully. Students here were engaged with an analysis of how to reduce impact on the environment caused by the paper products purchased yearly.

Using the Paper Calculator that will be discussed below, they were able to realize the impact on environment the paper products they bought had. It also helped determine how many trees and how much energy would be saved simply by using paper products that have high recycle content. A cost benefit analysis was also conducted to develop a business case for utilizing recycled paper.

The online tools for students are important as they offer hands on experimental learning that is normally incorporated into social studies, environmental education, global issues and science curricula. These has resulted in:

  • Enhanced critical thinking skills
  • Improved student achievement
  • Adults who are actively involved in taking care of their environment
  • Nurtures children's ability to feel compelled to "do good" for the environment

Genera Footprint Calculators for the Environment:

Green Schools Quiz


This seeks to find out how green a school is. Taking the quiz will allows users to get the score that will determine whether the school is included among Green School Profiles to know if they are doing the best for ecology in schools.

Ecological Footprint Quiz


This answers concerns people have on the amount of nature needed for their lifestyle. This quiz helps to estimate the ocean and area of land that is needed to support consumption of food, services, goods, energy and housing as well as assimilates wastes.

Energy and Carbon Calculators:

The Cool School Challenge Classroom Carbon Calculator


This engages both students and teachers in some practical strategies that can be used to reduce CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) and other green house gas emission in the school. It comes with a Classroom Toolkit that has easy step to step instructions and comprehensive calculator.

EPA Calculator for Schools


This helps students understand the importance of taking action at home when it comes to reducing impacts of changes in climate.

Green Schools Climate Change Carbon Calculator


This gives students instructions on how to gather data and analyze it. It was developed in Ireland by a company known as Repak recycling.

Greenhouse Gas Equivalences Calculators


This is ideal for people who are looking for the answers on how much CO2 emissions by a million metric tons means every single day. The calculator translates abstract measurements into some understandable concrete terms. For instance, it can be similar to avoiding CO2 emissions from about 183,000 cars every year.

Energy Kids

http://www.eia.gov/kids/energy.cfm?page=about_energy_conversion_ca (_US Energy Information Administration_)

These are simple calculators that can be used by kids in US to learn about greenhouse gas emissions from a number of things such as electricity, coal, crude oil and natural gas.

Paper Calculators:

The Paper Calculator (by Environmental Defense Fund)


Using less paper, increasing use of recycled content and making other major/minor improvements can save water, energy, wood and cut solid waste and cut pollution. This calculator shows the impacts on environment of different types of paper across their lifecyle.

Waste Calculators:

Waste Reduction Model (WARM)


This assists organizations and waste planners track and also voluntary report the greenhouse gas emissions reductions made from a number of waste management practices. This is available on Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and Web-based calculator.

Green Purchasing Calculators:

The Responsible Purchasing Network Calculators


The cost and benefit calculators are used to quantify results of purchasing responsibly. The Buying Guide can be used to help out in terms of more responsible purchases.

Water Footprint Calculators:

This helps to estimate how many gallons are wasted daily and yearly from leaky faucets. It is a pretty simple concept but it adds up to help engage in the best practices for ecology in schools. Data included is the number of leaky faucets and the number of drips per minute.

Water Footprint Calculator for Kids


Almost 95% of water print is hidden in the food a person consumes, energy used, services, products bought and water that is drunk, used for flushing and bathing. This helps estimate the water used.



The extended/quick calculator can be used to look at personal water footprint as well as national, global or corporate water footprints for other people.

Many thanks to EarthTeam (http://www.earthteam.net) and ESP agency (http://espprintmgt.com.au) for contributing couple of these resources and enriching the list a bit. Cheers guys!

I'll try updating this list with help of the discussion moderators so you can safely bookmark this page for future use. Thanks for caring!

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Samer Rabadi's picture
Samer Rabadi
Community Manager at Edutopia

Hi Chris, great list. Thank you for contributing to our community.

On thing though--it seems that a number of the links you provided lead to sites that are either broken or up for sale. If you would like to re-post a cleaner version, I can delete this one.

Chris's picture
Environmental/Ecology Enthusiast

Hey Samer, thanks for reaching.

Yeah, I noticed that as well now.

Here's the updated list (hope Dropbox link will work for you), sorry for sloppy work.
Updated list link: http://goo.gl/X36Lsv

Also, when i published the list i made accidentally couple of copies of the discussion as there's no "edit" button (at least I didn't noticed it yet) and I was going for browser's back button, then edit and clicking save so these are the threads you could delete safely:


Let me know if I can do something else or you need some help.
Thanks a ton and please share if you can! :)


Samer Rabadi's picture
Samer Rabadi
Community Manager at Edutopia

Hi Chris, I updated the post using the document in the Dropbox. All the links work now. I also deleted the duplicate posts.

Thanks again for sharing this list with us. Just out of curiosity, what inspired you to put it together?

Chris's picture
Environmental/Ecology Enthusiast

Hey Samer, thanks!

As father and environmental activist I hope to influence people in charge to start educating our kids about things that really matter these days.

Our kids are growing up in world where their kids will have to wear masks outside (just look at the China/South Korea) and won't be able to enjoy sun as we did when we were kids.

Entire one world is being stolen from them without them even realizing it. And we are to blame.

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