U.S. Mayors Unite to Make Green Schools a Priority
The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) has announced an initiative to join forces with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to promote green schools. The USCM has created the Mayors’ Alliance for Green Schools, a coalition of mayors seeking to accelerate the implementation of programs supporting a 2007 USCM resolution calling for green schools for all children within a generation.
City leaders already on board for the program include: Mayor Manny Diaz, Miami; Mayor Greg Nickels, Seattle; Mayor Gavin Newsom, San Francisco; Mayor Will Wynn, Austin, Texas; Mayor Sheila Dixon, Baltimore; Mayor Frank Cownie, Des Moines, Iowa; and Mayor George Heartwell, Grand Rapids, Mich.
“As mayors, we know all too well that schools are the heart of our communities, as they represent the promise we make to our children and future generations, a promise of learning and of opportunity,” said Mayor Diaz, president of USCM. “With this alliance, we are coming together and reconfirming our promise to the health and learning of our children, and ensuring that future generations are mindful of the importance of protecting our environment.”
“This new coalition of mayors will shine the light on the countless opportunities to make our schools greener, our students and teachers healthier and our communities stronger,” added Mayor Nickels.
Already, mayors across the nation are leading efforts to build green schools and rehabilitate existing structures to be greener. For example, Mayors Diaz and Newsom are working with EcoMedia, a sustainability focused media and PR company, to leverage innovative public/private partnerships that create new opportunities for green school projects.
According to the USGBC, other Alliance initiatives will work to:
- Develop and create public/private partnerships with local businesses to allow schools to plant green roofs, install solar gardens, or start recycling programs.
- Help school districts green their existing facilities through the Clinton Climate Initiative’s K-12 Retrofit Program.
- Encourage state legislatures to create policies and incentives for green school improvements.
- Engage in a national dialogue about green schools, green jobs and green infrastructure.