, Salem, MA


April 19, 2013

Column: Raising awareness about sustainability at Saltonstall School


We have also received a grant from Dominion to work with a local agency called “Change is Simple.” This small, local organization has a big mission — to “instill environmental and social responsibility in our communities through sustainability-enrichment programs. By educating individuals on the cumulative impacts of their choices, we seek to inspire, empower and motivate others to protect our future.” Classes have frequently initiated fundraisers for causes that are dear to them, including Lifebridge wreaths of hope, animal shelter donations and an upcoming event to sell energy-efficient light bulbs, which will involve National Grid.

By design, Saltonstall has an enrichment block built into our weekly schedule. This enrichment block, called Friday Club, affords teachers a valuable collaborative planning time and offers a variety of activities for all students. Saltonstall’s mission to integrate the local community and to involve parents is sustained by Friday Club volunteers, parents, local agencies and school personnel. Our recent Friday Clubs have been organized to focus on people, place and profit — one simple way to define the three aspects of sustainability. Examples of clubs that have focused on people include “Be Positive,” a club that focuses on creating and supporting positive messages within the school, a club that focuses on the Heifer Project International, visiting the Senior Center and learning about traditional foods. Focusing on creating a “robust economy,” we have had presentations by the Salem Five bank, introducing the idea of thoughtful use of money, and visits to Life Alive, an organic restaurant located in downtown Salem. As a business, Life Alive has made responsible decisions about its construction, food choices and profit. Focusing on environment, we have craft clubs using recycled materials, watching and discussing the movie “Kilowatt Hours,” and learning about plants and trees.

We have a distance to go to make this important concept live with each of our decisions, but we are taking those first important steps, and we’re willing to keep raising our awareness to make healthy decisions for now and for the future.

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