Climate Change

What You Can Do: At School

Photo of a student at school recyclingStudents, educators, and school administrators can all play a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Here is a directory of resources to help you:


  1. Middle school students: Explore climate science
    Explore A Student's Guide to Global Climate Change to learn more about the science and impacts of climate change. The site also provides videos, animations, and interactive expeditions where students can explore and learn how climate change will affect places around the world. The site helps students, their parents, and their teachers learn about solutions and the actions they can take to reduce greenhouse emissions.
  2. High school students: Track your school's climate impact
    Use Portfolio Manager to compare the energy use of your school with other schools nationwide, and earn the ENERGY STAR for your school if it qualifies as a top performer.
  3. College students: Get involved at your college or university
    College students can play an important role in reducing greenhouse emissions at their colleges or universities by reducing their emissions from energy they use in dorm rooms. Students can also work with school administrators to develop an inventory Exit, increase energy efficiency on campus, and reduce their school's greenhouse gas emissions by using green power.


  1. Teach students about climate change and ecosystems
    Use the teacher resources on EPA's Students Guide to Global Climate Change.
  2. Engage middle school students in estimating emissions
    Enhance critical-thinking skills by introducing the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Calculator to middle school students. The online calculator lists 16 easy actions students can take to save energy, and calculates the reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. The calculator also features links to more information explaining the links between everyday actions and carbon pollution, and providing additional tips for kids who want to do more. 
  3. Learn from other educators
    Investigate what other schools and organizations are doing to educate their audiences on climate change by viewing Additional Web Resources, a database offering links to resources such as lesson plans, videos, books, and toolkits.


  1. Save money and the environment
    The least efficient schools use three times more energy than the best energy performers. By partnering with the highly successful ENERGY STAR for K-12 School Districts and using Portfolio Manager to track and rate the energy performance of their portfolio of school buildings, school districts can serve as environmental leaders in their community, become energy-efficient, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and save money! If you're considering a new building, EPA's voluntary School Siting Guidelines can provide tips for reducing climate and health impacts.  
  2. Estimate your emissions and take the challenge
    School administrators can also work to reduce their school's greenhouse gas emissions by developing an inventory Exit of their school's emissions or by taking the College & University Green Power Challenge.
  3. Reduce, reuse, recycle
    Recycle school or classroom paper, newspapers, beverage containers, electronic equipment, and batteries. Reducing, reusing, and recycling at school and in the classroom helps conserve energy and reduces pollution and greenhouse gases from resource extraction, manufacturing, and disposal. You can reduce, reuse, and recycle at school or in the classroom by using two-sided printing and copying, buying supplies made with recycled content, and recycling used printer cartridges. For your old electronics, donate used equipment to other organizations, or investigate leasing programs to ensure that used equipment is reused and recycled.

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