Now that the Eco-Schools program is coming to a close four years later, we can say with certainty that it was a model for sustainability education in the 21st century.
The environmental education program at PS 31, PS 34, PS 110 and MS 126 brought sustainability coaches to the four schools. They worked with the faculty and staff to integrate sustainability into the curriculum, expanded partnerships with community organizations and transformed the school campuses into outdoor learning labs.
Whether it was the annual Eco-Fashion Show at PS 34 or the STEAM wing at PS 31, these creative projects brought environmental education to the forefront.
One way we can determine if the Eco-Schools program was a success long term is if the schools can continue these sustainability initiatives when the coaches transition out.
We hope the faculty will continue to not just teach science, but inspire the next generation of environmental stewards and green activists.
The success of Eco-Schools can also be emulated around the city. It would require significant funding and a host of community partners, but the Greenpoint community demonstrated that it can be done successfully.
At this point, climate change and sustainability education shouldn’t be seen as a luxury, but rather as a necessity. If we are to survive the climate crisis, we will need the next generation to lead.
For now, we must teach them, to the best of our ability, everything we know about taking care of this earth.
Look no further than the Greenpoint Eco-Schools as a model for that type of education.