Imagine a typical schoolyard. Are you seeing asphalt in your mind’s eye? Or are you seeing a natural parklike space with trees, and plants, plus a variety of outdoor settings in which children can play and learn?
That latter vision guides the work of the International School Grounds Alliance (ISGA), a global network “working to enrich children’s learning and play by improving the way school grounds are designed and used.”
But can changing a schoolyard, or many schoolyards, really make a difference for the climate at large?
The answer lies in the fact that there are schoolyards everywhere that there are schools. In some communities, schools represent the largest public spaces. According to Green Schoolyards America, public school grounds in just the United States cover an estimated two million acres. That’s more than twice the size of the state of Rhode Island.
More importantly, wherever there are schools there are young people. Not only do green schoolyards protect students from the effects of extreme heat, they can provide daily access to the natural world.
ISGA has wonderful examples of what’s being done, all over the world, to change how schoolyards are designed, used and managed.
Ready to take some action? You can start by sharing this email with others in your community and by asking your local school leaders questions like these:
- Is there a plan for transitioning to green, sustainable schoolyards?
- Do we have schools or communities particularly impacted by heat island effects or storm-related flooding that would benefit most?
- How can you and/or your local organization help schools make it happen?