Learning the 4 R’s: Kansas City Area Students Strive to Reduce Food Waste

Read the full post from U.S. EPA.

About 95 percent of the food we throw away ends up in landfills or combustion facilities. That is a huge problem for our country. Over the last year, I’ve had the pleasure of working with many great people to help schools in the Kansas City metro area understand more about food waste and what they can do to reduce it.

I really enjoy teaching the 4 R’s – refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle. “Refuse” means saying no to accepting unnecessary packaging, such as plastic bags. Kids get it. I also involve custodial and kitchen staff in the process. My focus is to help the school divert waste from the landfill, while remaining focused on not adding more work tasks to school staff.

In St. Louis schools, water fountains are symbols of inequality again

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Dangerous levels of lead in dozens of public schools have made the water undrinkable — but not for white, wealthy kids.

Eagle Scout builds butterfly waystation at Carriel Jr. High

Read the full story in O’Fallon Weekly.

Braden Gaab, a freshman at O’Fallon Township High School and an Eagle Scout, has left a lasting legacy at Amelia V. Carriel Junior High in an attempt to aid in the preservation and migration of Monarch butterflies. Gaab, under the supervision of his seventh grade science teacher, Mrs. Amanda Mellenthin, created a butterfly garden and certified Monarch Waystation.

Illinois: New Law Encourages Schools to Donate Food

Read the full story from SCARCE.

For the past year SCARCE Director Kay McKeen worked with Jennifer Walling of the Illinois Environmental Council to get a state-level bill written and signed into law that would prohibit any language in school food-service contracts that prevented donation of leftover food items. The Food Donation for Schools and Public Agencies bill was signed by Gov. Rauner on July 15, 2016 and took effect immediately.

4 reasons net-zero energy should start with schools

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Can we afford to teach our children? In the U.S. we generally can agree that educating our children is important. Consensus stops there.

Whether the U.S. education system is broken, and if so, how to best fix it, is an increasingly politicized debate. Current discussions on how to improve education have focused on better teachers, better technology and more funding (which deepens the debate on who should pay for it).

But consider that each year K–12 schools spend more than $8 billion on energy — more than they spend on computers and textbooks combined. Too commonly overlooked is the opportunity to cost-effectively improve our nation’s schools and enhance student performance by tackling the performance of the very buildings in which children, faculty and staff spend more than eight hours each day.

Schools around the country find lead in water, with no easy answers

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

In Portland, Ore., furious parents are demanding the superintendent’s resignation after the state’s largest public school district failed to notify them promptly about elevated lead levels detected at taps and fountains.

In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie (R) has ordered lead testing at every public school in the state after dozens of schools in Newark and elsewhere were found to have lead-contaminated water supplies.

In the District, which experienced a devastating lead crisis barely a decade ago, officials last month announced plans to spend millions of dollars to install water filters and more rigorously test the city’s public schools and recreation centers after a handful were found to have unacceptable lead levels.

The ongoing crisis in Flint, Mich., has shined a spotlight on the public-health hazards that lead continues to pose in U.S. drinking water. In particular, it has led to renewed pressure to test for the problem in the nation’s schools, where millions of young children, the age group most vulnerable to lead poisoning, spend their days.