Cool Schools recognizes young peoples’ desire and ability to create positive change in their community. Cool Schools develops and facilitates classroom-based service learning projects, engaging students to take action at school and in the community to reduce emissions causing climate change. We primarily work with high schools and high school aged students.

Teachers, students, parents, administrators! [Cool Schools is not active at this time (Feb., 2011) in Sonoma County.]

About Cool Schools

Education. Cool Schools brings educational resources and solution-based activities to high school aged students and classrooms.
Community. Sonoma County is a national leader in climate protection and sustainability. Cool Schools partners with experts, civic leaders, and elected officials to bring technical and informational resources from the community into the schools.
Action. Through Cool Schools, we encourage high school students to engage meaningfully in the community. Projects move beyond personal action and support students as they participate in collective change. Cool Schools offers activities to directly reduce emissions and to support the youth voice in community-wide decisions.

What we did

Presentations to classrooms in the science of climate change and local initiatives.
Service-learning projects at school and in the community – aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting Sonoma County’s commitments to climate protection.
Support the youth voice in our community – students address local elected officials and community groups, expressing their opinions about climate protection.

Benefits

  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions causing global warming. Student efforts support Sonoma County to achieve its community-wide goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 25% below 1990 levels by 2015, the boldest in the nation.
  • Engages students, schools, and community members in an integrated approach to problem solving.
  • Enhances student learning and civic engagement.
  • Builds confidence, poise, and maturity in students as they start planning for college and careers.
  • Offers hope for the future.

Cool Schools Projects:

eCO2mmute

eCO2mmute is an award-winning student commute project that encourages alternative modes of transportation to reduce your school’s greenhouse gas emissions. Analy High School in Sebastopol, CA, reduced emissions from their commute by more than 30% over the last two years. Cool Schools can partner with a class or a club at your high school to develop an eCO2mmute program. Download the TCool Schools eCO2mmute Project Manual (PDF 1.42MB) to get started on implementing eCO2mmute at your high school. You can also download the project templates as a Word file.

Urban Sustainability

This project was a yearlong field-studies project we developed for Windsor High School in Windsor, CA in partnership with their Environmental Studies program.  In the project, forty-five students participated in a field day for three hours every week for as part of their regular class, rain or shine.  The goal of the program was for students to practice applied skills in environmental studies and to learn about careers in environmental protection.
During our field days, we planted CO2-absorbing trees with the Town of Windsor Park and Recreation department, and learned about sustainable agriculture, SMART Growth, alternative transportation, and the connectivity of climate change with urban life.

Cool Art for Cool Schools

In the words of environmental author Bill McKibben, “art, like religion, is one of the ways we digest what is happening to us, make the sense out of it that proceeds to action.” The goal of the Cool Art for Cool Schools project is to take global warming out of the realm of science and politics and into the visions and minds of the next generation.
We produced an amazing student art show in November 2006 with students from nine art classes from five high schools. The event engaged over 400 students and the students’ work helped to raise $11,000 for Cool Schools projects at their schools.

Voice of the Future

Young people have a pressing stake in today’s decisions that impact tomorrow’s choices. They can play an important role in public decision-making. Voice of the Future encourages government and business to consider future generations in their decisions.
Youth involved in Voice of the Future have made presentations about climate protection and the need to take action today to their school boards, city councils, business groups and at local and regional conferences.

Climate Quest

Climate Quest is a national educational network of programs that bring together high school students, college students and college instructors to study the climate crisis. Additionally, each Climate Quest program will document and share local impacts and solutions using video reporting that can spur action in local communities.