February 15 was the day the Culver City Unified School District and Community Sustainability USA launched a pilot project at Linwood E. Howe Elementary to build awareness of sustainability and inspire behavior changes at school and at home. Two back-to-back morning assemblies with a “CooltheEarth.org” skit performed by a group of Culver City High School students kicked off the campaign.
“The sustainable transformation of Linwood E. Howe is truly exciting. Kids, teachers, parents and staff are working together to make changes in our every day lives to improve our environment – and our future. I am so glad my kids are getting a great sustainable education at school, and feel fortunate to be a part of this change,” said Meghan Sahli-Wells, Linwood E. Howe parent.
Students and their families take a baseline sustainability survey; learn about sustainability and the science behind it; commit in writing to five behavior changes that will lead to greater sustainability and to encourage others to change behaviors; and track and report their behavior change progress. Students, classrooms, and grade levels that excel in participation and behavior change progress receive recognition and rewards.
Green5 behaviors – using natural sunlight when possible to light up classrooms; layering up or down to regulate temperature and opening doors and windows to reduce energy consumption; unplugging and sharing electronics; using reusable bottles; and committing to reduce, reuse, and recycle – advance sustainability.
“Through Green5, we aim to make a real positive shift in Lin Howe community’s culture by bringing the concept of sustainability and its significance to the forefront of our everyday lives, ” said Shea Cunningham, parent of two Linwood E. Howe students and advisory member of CCUSD’s Environmental Sustainability Committee.
To learn more details about Linwood E. Howe Elementary and Community Sustainability USA’s joint project or to get involved, visit their websites at ccusd.org/sustainability and communitysustainabilityusa.org.
Sustainability is about meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Advancing sustainability is widely recognized in the scientific, business, and policy worlds as critical to maintaining a good quality of life, preserving our natural resources, and ensuring business profitability.
“Sustainability as a concept can seem overwhelming, but at Community Sustainability USA, we’re proving that lots of people making small behavior changes can have a big impact and can drive big policy changes. When elected officials recognize that their constituents are taking action, they follow suit,” said Community Sustainability USA founder, Chris Ann Lunghino. “When people make incremental behavior changes for a sustainable future, they start to see themselves as people who care about sustainability, which naturally leads to more and bigger behavior changes. Research shows that people are more likely to follow through on behavior changes when they commit in a group in writing and their commitment is publicized,” she continued.