How Green is Texas? Part 2: The Superb School Districts

By John Rose, April 11, 2016, Energy Efficiency, Green

When Texans observed the first Earth Day in April 1970, the state was America’s petrochemical capital. Oil and gas production gushed, and chemical plants belched smoke into the sky. Forty-six years later, Texas businesses and institutions are still energy leaders, but instead, they’re building energy efficient renewable energy technologies for the 21st Century. In our “How Green is Texas?” series, we’re going to highlight the companies, school districts, universities, and home builders moving Texas towards a greener state of being.

How Green is Texas? Part 2: The Superb School Districts

“Miss Trudy?” “Yes, Bobby?” “Is that apple from an orchard that uses organic and sustainable growing practices?”

While your average school district might not be on your radar when investigating green initiatives in Texas, in reality, they are often the leaders in educating the next generation. They also take a leading role in many communities for leading the shift towards more environmentally responsible practices. Let’s look into the four school districts leading the way in sustainable practices and green living.

1. (and 2.) Houston and Austin ISD 

How Green is Texas? Part 2: The Superb School Districts

It’s hard to choose between these two districts up as they both do so much to qualify them as the greenest school districts in Texas. I could probably write a whole blog series on their efforts! To condense their respective stories, I will focus on the fact that both Houston and Austin ISD are members of the Green School Alliance’s District Collaborative (GSA).

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GSA is a worldwide organization whose mission is to connect and empower schools worldwide to lead the transformation to a sustainable future. Member districts in the GSA come together and use their collective knowledge and power (both politically and budgetary) to implement environmental policy changes and increase the availability of affordable sustainable alternatives.

The District Collaborative is currently comprised of 21 districts from across the USA, representing a total 3.6 million students. 8 of these districts are among the 12 largest in the country, with Houston coming in at number 8. Membership is open to any district with more than 40,000 students, which means only 27 districts in Texas could be eligible. This puts Houston and Dallas in rarified air, and they’re making great strides at teaching students to be responsible stewards of the environment and leading them by example.

3. Dallas ISD 

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While Dallas ISD isn’t quite the leader like Houston or Austin, it does boast one of the greenest “classrooms” in the country. The Environmental Education Center is a 500-acre facility that is always free for Dallas ISD students, parents, teachers, and staff. They teach programs that are aligned with local curricula and all standardized testing goals. All lessons are rooted in imparting an awareness of the environment and our responsibility for it. It truly is an amazing resource.

 

In the next installment of the “How Green is Texas?” series, we’ll investigate Texas colleges and universities.

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