If there’s one word synonymous with my beloved hometown of Atlanta, it’s “traffic.” More than just an interstate and highway hassle, harmful pollutants emitted by vehicles in congested areas also impact school campuses—like when parents wait for their children with vehicles idling. Recognizing the rewards of early education about the importance of clean air, as well as the opportunity to directly build healthier school environments, The Clean Air Campaign launched The Clean Air Schools program.
The Clean Air Schools program aims to reduce air pollution and improve air quality by educating children about sustainability, air quality, and transportation. After working with Georgia schools for almost a decade, the program, which is part of the larger non-profit The Clean Air Campaign, is taking its efforts a step further with a star-rating system to recognize schools going above and beyond to make a difference in air quality.
Participating schools will be awarded 1 to 4 stars based on their level of engagement in activities that promote healthier school environments. For example, to receive a one-star rating, schools have to commit to raising awareness about air quality by signing up for the Clean Air Schools program, receiving smog alerts via email, and reporting the daily Air Quality Index of the school.
With each rating increase, schools must demonstrate a stronger level of commitment to reducing air pollution. This can be achieved by taking part in a variety of action-based learning projects like sponsoring a Clean Commute Week or impacting long-term behavior through No Idling and Get There Green programs.
To achieve the highest four-star rating, schools have to reach beyond their hallways and impact change community-wide by partnering with civic organizations and local leaders.
Ready to join the 300 schools (and growing!) that are already changing the state of their air? Visit http://www.cleanaircampaign.org/Your-Schools/About-Clean-Air-Schools for detailed program information, success stories, and more.
Already joined? Let us know what you and your school are doing in the comments below.