The Greenest Green Schools Around the World

I’m a big fan of people and organizations that back up their talk with actions and create tangible movements, with not only their words, but actual know how. Here is an example of what I mean. – Tony

Sustainability is on the rise worldwide, and schools are no exception. Curriculums in the U.S. and abroad are starting to include more environmental issues, and the schools themselves have started to adopt recycling and other practices that have become widespread in households but not necessarily in educational environments.

But they’re also literally building green, too: using sustainable design and renewable materials to give students the most vivid possible example of the possibilities that can sprout from green thinking.

In Bali, the Green School has been making waves both for its construction and for its curriculum. TreeHugger has described it before:

The school’s 75 buildings are cooled and powered with renewable energy sources like micro-hydro power, solar power, and bio-diesel. Bamboo, lalang-alang grass (a local grass), and traditional mud walls form the structure of the buildings.
The school was carefully built on 20 acres of land and is on an organic permaculture system, designed to work in perfect cohesion with the natural ecology of the land. A thriving organic garden to be cultivated by the school’s own students will grow fruits and vegetables, herbs, and other crops including chocolate.

Financial Times describes the school this way:

As well as traditional classes, the students plant, grow and eat their own food. They learn all about recycling, too, as waste is used to feed the school’s animals and the output from their toilets is used as a natural fertilizer.
The school is also working towards disconnecting completely from the local electricity grid, generating its own power in several ways, including a simple but ingenious water vortex driven by the local river.

The children learn about conservation at first hand. Green School has its own aviary, which houses many Bali Starlings, a white bird with a striking blue mask. There are believed to be only 20 breeding pairs left in the wild.


The school, which is growing fast—132 students last year and on the verge of hitting 200 this year—has received numerous accolades, including an Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

The Bridge School

Also an Aga Khan Award for Architecture recipient, the Bridge School in China’s Fujian Province connects the two parts of Xiashi, a village divided by a small creek that was said to be declining but now had a central social space. The school exists between two steel trusses that span the creek, and a pedestrian bridge is suspended below the structure for the people of the village to use.

João XXIII School

Down in Brazil, students are leading the green revolution themselves. First, they suggested replacing disposable cups for the water fountains with reusable bottles—causing the 3,500 cups that were being discarded in one day to drop down to 250. More from IPS:

Founded in 1964, with 915 students and run by a foundation established by parents, João XXIII intends to invest more in the project “O Mundo Passado a Limpo” (The Past World Made Clean)…The school already had a vegetable garden and systems to process compost (organic materials) and to separate recyclable materials from trash.

In 2009, a study at the school, “Biodiversity: Know It to Preserve It,” about identifying the native and exotic species found in the school’s green area, won the attention of biologist Camila Rezendo Carneiro and agricultural engineer Sérgio Luiz de Carvalho Leite, professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul.

The school and the university joined efforts, and through an extension course Carneiro and Leite are guiding the students in their analysis of species. They will put together a bio-map and establish a nature path on the school grounds.


This year, IPS reports, they will design a model for a city that will be assessed based on environmental sustainability, ethics and cooperation.

Hug It Forward

And a school literally constructed from plastic bottles in Guatemala has grown from a one-off impressive effort to an entire movement, Hug it Forward.

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