Green clubs are a great way to bring environmental activism into the spotlight at your school. Whether your school has a thriving climate club or none at all, we're here to help you start a green club, expand your existing climate club, and get more students involved to make the biggest impact possible. And hey, maybe you'll make some new climate-conscious friends along the way!
For more eco-friendly tips and tricks for kids of all ages, check out our article about how one kid can be a climate hero, and subscribe to our Earth Kids newsletter.
How to Start a Green Club at Your School
Starting a new club at school is such a great way for kids to make a difference and meet like-minded students. The first step to starting any club is to find a group of people who want to be involved. Maybe your friends are already interested in climate activism, or maybe it's time to reach outside your social circle. Posters and social media posts may help you find prospective members. Word of mouth is also a great tool.
Once you've found a handful of people who want to go green with you, look into your school's policies for new clubs and organizations. Ask the school principal if you're not sure what to do! Most schools require clubs to have at least one teacher sponsor and supervise each club. It may also be helpful to create a mission statement that shows what the main focus of the club is.
For younger kids, parents can get involved with some of the organization and setup, but remember to let kids lead the way.
What Can a Green Club Do?
School is one of the best places to make a difference. There are many ways that your green team can be impactful both within and outside of the school community. At the first couple of meetings, try to assess what members are interested in doing. Successful activism is best when many different strategies are used, so be open to any ideas and plans, even if they're different from what you originally had in mind.
The club might choose to focus on making changes to the way the school handles trash, on creating educational resources, or on raising money. There are no wrong answers! What matters is dedicating time and energy to creating a greener planet.
Ideas for Environmental Club Activities
1. Find ways for your school to reduce waste
There's a reason that "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" has been a green mantra for decades. Reducing waste is one of the best ways that individuals or organizations can limit their carbon footprints. While choosing a metal water bottle over a disposable plastic one may not seem like a huge difference, making similar swaps at the school level can amplify the impact by huge amounts.
One helpful exercise is to take a walk around your school and look for waste. You might notice a leaking tap, mislabeled recycling bins, or lots of single-use utensils getting thrown out. Identify where your community can conserve, and then bring your solutions to the administration. If you can show that your initiative is popular with other students, you have a great chance of success.
Remember, advocacy takes time and patience!
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Plant a garden and create a composting area at school.
2. Start a composting initiative
Composting is a great way to reduce food waste and produce nutrient-rich fertilizer to help plants grow. Starting a composting program at school may be a big task, but there are many helpful guides on how to start composting at school that can help you make it happen. And don't forget to start composting at home, too!
3. Advocate for sustainable water use
Reducing water waste at a school can have a major impact. Advocating for changes like low-flow water faucets and rain barrels can help conserve way more water than one person can on their own. These changes may be time consuming or expensive! Persistence—and fundraising—are persuasive tools to use to convince the school administration to invest in change.
4. Organize a carpool system
If most kids at school arrive in a car every day, carpooling can be a great eco-friendly tool for your school. By reducing the number of cars driving back and forth every day, you can limit how much gasoline is being consumed. This is also a great way to save money, making it a true win-win. Talk to parents and school administrators to get people interested, and see if the school will support a centralized carpool system.
5. Plan sustainable swap events
So much functioning stuff is thrown out every day! Especially for kids, who outgrow clothes and toys left and right. School is the perfect place to plan a clothing or toy swap to give all that stuff a new life. Work with the school to find a time and space, and be sure to advertise the event ahead of time.
Encourage people to bring their well-loved items in to swap for new-to-them things! To add to the positive impacts, consider donating leftover items to a local charity.
6. Invite climate activists to speak at your school
Schools are a place of learning, so why not invite climate activists to teach you about their lives and work? From youth activists to climate scientists, people love to speak about what they do. Find people in your local community or even alumni of your school who might be extra excited to come and chat with you.
Be sure to offer your speakers compensation if that's your school's policy! This is a great thing to fundraise for, as it benefits the school and supports the speaker in their work.
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Share earth-saving knowledge with classmates, and put them into action at school.
7. Share eco-friendly tips and facts
Although not quite as high impact in the short term, getting people thinking about climate problems and solutions can have a huge impact in the long run. Use your club as a space to get educated about climate change, and then share your knowledge with the school community at large with posters, social media, and word of mouth.
This list of 26 Tips for Living More Sustainably Every Day is a great place to start. Some clubs have a "Tip of the week" system, where they share a different way to conserve every week. Sharing facts can also be a great way to get new members.
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Look for ways to band together at rallies and marches in your area. Photo by Mommy Poppins
8. Participate in larger actions
One of the best ways to make big changes is to be part of a bigger movement. There are many organizations out there looking for kids to join the climate cause, from the Sunrise Movement to Fridays for Future. Check out this list of amazing youth organizations for inspiration and opportunities.
9. Raise funds for climate causes
Of course, money is still one of the most important ways to get things done. Many of the projects that you might want to complete, like starting a school garden or implementing sustainable lunchware, will need funding. By hosting fundraisers, you can fund the club's projects and make it harder for the school to say no. You can also raise funds to donate to climate justice organizations or mutual aid funds for people impacted by climate change.
Classic fundraising events like bake sales are always a hit. (Our recipe guide is a great place to get ideas for easy, kid-pleasing recipes to make.) You can also try some more eco-focused fundraisers, like a used book sale or selling recycled crafts.
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Community initiatives or organizations are a great way to get the whole family involved on a local level.
10. Get involved outside of school
While school is a great place to start, it's important to reach out to your local community and beyond. Look for volunteering activities like park clean-ups, or organize trips to museums and talks that focus on the climate. There is so much to learn by listening to the people already working for climate justice!
Unless noted, photos courtesy of Canva