Happy Green Birthday!
Today, 18th September, is Green Standard Schools’ birthday! Our not-for-profit association was formally constituted on this date in 2020, so today we are two years old!
Back in September 2020 the world was a very different place. The Coivd pandemic was dominating news headlines everywhere, travel was still tightly restricted, and most language schools were operating exclusively online – if they were operating at all. Not the ideal time to ask language schools mangers to assess their environmental impact, but that’s what we did, and a good number of schools responded.
Two years on and we’re delighted to have 20 accredited member schools, from 8 different countries, each of which has demonstrated a serious commitment to environmental sustainability. And there are many more applications in the pipeline.
Predictably, not all the schools that apply for GSS accreditation are able to demonstrate that they have reached the minimum standard we require. That doesn’t mean they that can’t, or they won’t reach this standard; it simply means that they haven’t got there yet.
One of the tasks GSS has set itself is to provide language schools with a detailed review of their environmental performance, designed to help them identify which of their current practices and policies they need to work on. This is something we offer to all language schools, wherever they are operating, completely free of charge.
If a school fails to make the required standard at the first attempt, they simply have to introduce some of the changes we suggest in our performance review. They can then reapply and perhaps achieve accreditation at the second attempt.
This sort of thing has kept us pretty busy during our first 2 years. As has setting up our website and social media, and signing cooperation agreements with several national and multinational associations of language schools.
We have also started developing a series of lesson plans and study materials for language teachers and learners. One of the highlights of our first 2 years was the successful application for Erasmus funding to help finance the development of these study materials. We put together a consortium of GSS accredited members from 4 different countries and have obtained funds to produce materials for learners of English, Spanish and French. The first of these materials should be available by our next birthday.
It's difficult to predict what’s going to happen in the world in the next year or two. Did anyone foresee Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, back in September 2020? But one thing we can predict is that without intervention on a massive scale by governments, companies, educational institutions, and individuals, the environment we all depend on is going to be degraded even further. The consequences of what we’ve been doing to our planet are there for everyone to see. The time for action is now. That includes serious environmental action by language schools everywhere. GSS is here to help. Let’s get on with it, shall we?
If you're celebrating a birthday soon, why not try this yummy vegan cake recipe?
The photo above is by Imants Kaziluns on Unsplash.