Teach kids how to protect the Earth
(Family Features) Teaching kids about the environment from a early age starts lifelong habits and creates awareness about the way humans affect the Earth. Connecting those lessons to school is an easy way to reinforce how the whole family can make everyday changes that make a difference.
Lower lunchtime impact. Between brown bags, baggies and other packaging waste, school lunches generate a heap of trash. Instead, encourage kids to pick colorful reusable lunchboxes they can use again and again. Bento-style boxes add kid-friendly fun while keeping food separated so you can skip plastic baggies. Another earth-friendly suggestion for school lunch: instead of single-serve products, buy larger bulk packages you can use to fill reusable containers.
Manage transportation. Getting kids to and from school affects the environment in multiple ways, from energy consumption to pollution. You can reduce your family’s impact by having kids ride the bus or carpooling with others in your neighborhood. Avoid idling while at school pickup and drop off and advocate for your school district to use clean energy options, like propane, for its transportation fleet.
According to the Propane Education & Research Council, propane school buses offer multiple benefits for school districts and students alike. Not only do propane buses save school districts’ money, but they also reduce harmful emissions, giving students a healthier ride to school.
Find more information at BetterOurBuses.com .
Stop water waste. Over the past year, access to water fountains has been significantly limited to prevent the spread of germs. That means many school districts are more receptive to having kids bring water bottles from home. Sending your little learners off with reusable bottles offers a win-win that reduces reliance on plastic bottles and other single-serve beverage containers, while also encouraging kids to practice healthy habits by staying hydrated throughout the day.
Skip the supply splurge. While there’s something exciting about breaking open a brand new box of crayons or markers, it’s not really necessary to buy all new supplies year after year. Reusing what gets sent home at the end of the year saves money and prevents waste of still-functional supplies that would otherwise take up space in landfills.
Encourage resourceful recycling. Get kids excited about recycling by designing and decorating recycling bins using leftover materials around the house. When it’s fun and they’ve had a hand in creating the tools, kids are more likely to remember to put recycling in its place.
Include the whole family. Family time can be a precious commodity while school is in session, so make it meaningful when you can by bringing everyone together for a cause. Take the family to a local recycling center for an afternoon of volunteering or gather everyone for a pick-up day at a nearby park.
School is often the center of kids’ worlds, so bringing lessons about protecting the environment into the education setting is a natural way to introduce them to ideas for protecting the Earth and its resources.
A Better Option for Buses
When it comes to schools and education, paying more attention to earth-friendly practices isn’t limited to just your home. Switching to propane buses is one of the main ways school districts are updating their transportation plans to ensure every child has a safe, clean, healthy ride to school.
Electric vehicles make sense for several uses, including the passenger cars parents use to drive their students to school, but propane has a fuel range and performance better suited for school transportation vehicles that travel long distances at a time.
Generally, the more affordable energy is, the more equitable its distribution will be. The cost of a propane school bus and its refueling infrastructure is one of the most affordable options for school districts. Propane buses are nearly four times less expensive than electric buses.
Plus, school districts save money throughout the lifetime of propane buses. Propane school buses cost 30-50% less per mile to operate than diesel, according to the Propane Education & Research Council, and some districts are saving more than $1 per gallon, which can add up to thousands of dollars over a single school year. That’s money that can go back into classrooms.
In most of the United States, propane school buses are a lower carbon option than electric school buses charged using the electric grid. New innovations in the industry have also led to a renewable propane option for school buses, which ensures low-carbon options well into the future. Because it’s produced from renewable raw materials, renewable propane is a lower carbon option than conventional propane and is cleaner than other energy sources.
While diesel exhaust is classified by the World Health Organization as a carcinogen, propane buses don’t expose students to the same harmful emissions. Propane school bus engines lower greenhouse gases and other harmful emissions to near-zero levels, which improves air quality and eliminates concerns about breathing-related issues.
In fact, propane school buses significantly reduce the harmful emissions that are federally regulated due to their negative impact on human health and are a known trigger for issues like asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory problems.
Rod is a blogger, writer, filmmaker, photographer, daydreamer who likes to cook. Rod produces and directs the web series, CUPIC: Diary of an Investigator. He is also the editor, producer and administrator of TNC Network.