Green Back to School Ideas

| 7/30/2010 10:48:00 AM

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At 8 years old, I thought the first day of school was a holiday. I got to wear a new outfit. My mom fussed over my hair. My brother, sister and I posed for pictures (at home and climbing onto the bus). The first day of school had all the makings of a holiday celebration, and I was often so excited to go back to school that I would only sleep for a couple of hours the night before my first day.

School suppliesToday, I wish that I could bring back that first-day-of-school adoration. That passion that made me burst into tears when my mom told me I had to stay home because of a lousy case of pink eye is long gone. Now, as a 24-year-old graduate student, I see supermarket shelves stocked with backpacks, notebooks and writing utensils and cringe. I prepare myself for spending hundreds of dollars on school supplies, most of which I don’t particularly want (my enormous calculus textbooks spring to mind).

This year will be different. I’m preparing myself for my final year of school ever. In the future, the only back-to-school shopping I’ll have to do will be for my excited children who also believe school is something to celebrate. So this year, I’ll add a little bit of excitement to my school anticipation by attempting to make my school year as eco-friendly as possible. These green back to school ideas will get you on your way to an eco-friendly school year as well.

Take the Bus, Carpool, Bike or Walk 

When I was in elementary and middle school, riding the bus was as much a social endeavor as a means of transportation. Many a young memory was formed around strange conversations with angry bus drivers. I took the bus because it was what young people were supposed to do.

Then, in high school, I turned 16. My parents bought me a used car that I’m still driving today. I drove to school every day, and began to view the bus as a dirty, lesser option. Most of the kids in my high school behaved the same way. In my area, 16-year-olds were given cars almost as a rule rather than an exception, and many of them were more deluxe than any car I’ll ever own. We drove our cars to school, and as the school year wore on and more of us earned our licenses, the parking lot filled to maximum capacity.

8/3/2010 2:10:55 AM

Ahh ... the good old days of going to school. I must admit though, my parents seemed to have it a lot tougher than some of those mentioned in this article. My parents recanted how they not only walked 5 miles to school, uphill, both ways, but did so barefoot while toting 3 younger siblings on their back (like a pack mule) and carrying all their books for them. And the winters here in Maine were absolutely brutal; 20 feet of snow, 70 mph winds and -40 degree temperatures all the time. At least that's how they remembered it. :-)

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