ENCINITAS — The Grauer School has dedicated the current school year to an all-campus effort to embrace sustainable environmental practices and work to reduce the local and global impacts of climate change.
A joint resolution passed by the school’s Board of Trustees, faculty and students calls for action to help turn back the Earth’s rising temperatures, and to use environmentally sustainable practices wherever possible. The initiative encompasses the entire school community, from curriculum in all academic disciplines, to student activities on and off campus, as well as the school’s front-office functions.
On campus, a key goal is carbon neutrality and a reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases. Efforts to reduce the school’s carbon footprint include ordering supplies made with sustainable materials, moving toward paperless offices, and practices such as food waste control, composting, no-idle parking lot zones, and a ban on plastic bottles and utensils. The board’s finance committee will also calibrate investment policies with the school’s environmental stance.
“The Grauer School has a long history of teaching and practicing environmental sustainability. Even our mascot, the gorilla, was intended to showcase and support a critically endangered species. But we feel a new sense of urgency to be good stewards of the environment and address climate change based on recent science, which warns of the potentially catastrophic consequences of inaction,” said Stuart Grauer, Head of School.
The initiative, although grounded in the school’s academic curriculum, goes well beyond into all aspects of campus life.
An environmental element has been introduced across academic disciplines at the school. For example, Marine Biology students are performing weekly water quality tests at local beaches, and surveying for fish and microplastics in local waterways. History students are learning about the establishment of the national park system and creation of the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Math students are investigating the statistical evidence of climate change and calculating the costs and benefits of outfitting all school buildings with solar panels. Students are doing their part through classroom work and community service geared toward environmental causes. The student government has even created a new position this year for a Vice President of Sustainability.