EL CERRITO (CBS  5) – Do you know that in one year a typical size school emits 2,000 tons of carbon dioxide, uses about 3 tons of paper and generates nearly 20,000 pounds of garbage?

Parent and former scientist Deborah Moore recently used those statistics while asking her daughter’s El Cerrito class if they had any idea how many plastic bottles are used in this country per year.  Moore is trying to encourage the students to develop lifelong habits that keep preserving our environment in mind and it seems the classroom is the perfect place to start.

“I was an environmental scientist I worked on environmental issues 24/7, and it just felt hypocritical to look the other way at my own daughter’s school,” said Moore. “So I just got started as a parent volunteer.”

For years, Moore worked for the Environmental Defense Fund but it was thanks to her own daughter’s elementary school experience ten years ago, that she realized “being green” wasn’t really part of the school experience. Today, Deborah can look back at the change she made to her daughter’s school Prospect Sierra in El Cerrito.

The recycling program she started a decade ago is still in full swing with composting bins behind the classrooms, barrels collecting rain run-off that help water an organic garden plus even student made playground benches to sit on crafted from recycled wood,

“My dream was that this school would be green top-to-bottom in everything that it did and the students would use the campus as a hands-on laboratory to test out their ideas for how to solve these environmental problems that we’re all facing … and it’s happened,” said Moore with pride.

When Moore saw the success from these environmental lessons, she wanted to spread the message to other schools, so in 2004 she co-founded The Green Schools Initiative. The program helps parents start green programs in their own children’s schools. A website also helps students and teachers go green step-by-step.

Moore has personally trained close to 1,000 teachers and school administrators and so far 300 schools in California are participating.

“Just to increase student’s awareness of themselves on this planet and their impact on the planet is just really our big goal,” said Berkeley’s Rosa Parks Elementary School Principal Paco Furlan.  “And Deborah’s helping us do that.”

Fourth-grader Sarah Weaver is an eager pupil, “I really like learning about it because it’s our future so we really need to monitor and do the best we can to preserve the planet.”

Nygel Sanders, also a fourth-grader agreed, “They don’t realize how important it is for people to recycle and stuff.”

As for Moore, she thinks seeing the students in action gives the greatest hope for the future. “The kids inspire me. For me, action is an antidote to cynicism and making change in the world and doing it with kids is just really positive.”

Website: www.greenschools.net

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (11)
  1. CLD says:

    This is so impressive–one’s person’s action and energy towards protecting life on this planet–from taking down dams to education children. There could be no more worthy recipient of this award. Thank you Deborah. . .

  2. Firuzeh Mahmoudi says:

    There is no way to ensure that we live sustainably than by practicing it and most importantly engaging the next generation in a real way. This is the best way to make change. Inspired by your dedication and vision. Thank you.

  3. Wilson Korol says:

    In a world with ever limited resources, it is great to see a person and organization devoted to educating some of our most important global stakeholders. Great job Deborah and congrats on the Jefferson award, which is well deserved. Keep on trucking.

  4. A Bell says:

    This is a very fine program. It is important to show children that taking care of our planet is very important. Unfortunately many Americans think that our democratic freedoms include doing anything you want without taking into account how it affects the rest of us. A citizen may own land now, but once they are dead that land will belong to future generations and should not be spoiled. People who do not believe in global warming and poisoning the future of our earth are usually poorly educated; want to exploit their holdings for money; or are just plain selfish. Teaching children to understand how their actions impact on society as a whole and our earth is common sense not brainwashing. We must learn to care about each other.
    Thank you Deborah Moore

  5. Betsy Bigelow-Teller says:

    As Deborah said, “Action is the antidote to cynicism.” Cynicism is easy — it requires very little effort. Making a real positive difference in the world requires effort and energy. I’m grateful for Deborah’s work, and all the work of local heroes like her. They make the world a better place for all of us every day. Thank you!

  6. Pamela Wellner says:

    Deborah’s work for our children, planet and economy is truly inspiring. Not only is she helping schools become environmentally sustainable and children learn about sustainability, the school can save money by becoming green. With kids participating in their school’s sustainability efforts they are also using math, science and collaboration skills for real time benefit. The Green School Initiative engages the whole school community to better our planet and our kid’s future. Kudos to CBS5 for recognizing this good work.

  7. Dana Whitaker says:

    Deborah shows us how easy, essential , creative and connecting it is for everyone to be a daily environmentalist. Congratulations, Deborah and thank you.

  8. Deborah K says:

    It is true that one person CAN make a difference! Deborah’s efforts help children realize they have a role in protecting the environment. The habits learned today will change the way they think about the environment forever.

  9. Mary Metzger says:

    With all the burdens parents have today, how many parents can dedicate time to an environmental issue that affects all of us? I thank Deborah Moore for being a steward of improving our environment, a steward for the young to take on a challenges beyond good grades, cafeteria politics, sports and texting.

    Don’t stop Ms. Moore!! Will you continue when she goes to high school and college?

  10. Nick Morgan says:

    Every day we make choices that affect others. By helping young people become critical thinkers and learn what choices they have in life, Deborah is giving people the power to make the world a better place. Thanks Deborah!

  11. Kari says:

    Congratulations, Deborah! Thanks to you and Green Schools Initiative for all the work you are doing to inspire the next generation to be environmentally conscious.

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