How do we include schools in the climate agenda? Let’s ask the new president

K12 Climate Action is asking just that in a letter to the Biden-Harris Transition Team.

In the letter urging the Department of Education participation in a cross-agency approach to address climate change, they note, “By including representation of education in a cross-agency plan, the Biden-Harris Administration can help to acknowledge the critical role education can play in climate solutions and help our country build long-lasting change to advance a more sustainable society.”

“The U.S. K-12 public school ecosystem is a large public sector with a considerable environmental impact. With over 98,000 schools across the country, schools are among the largest energy consumers for public sector buildings, and energy costs for schools have been estimated at $8 billion annually, the second highest cost for schools behind only salaries. Schools operate the largest mass transit fleet in the country with 480,000 primarily diesel school buses and drive an estimated 3.45 billion miles annually. Schools also serve over 7 billion meals each year, and decisions on food sourcing, options, and waste contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.”

“In addition to the considerable need to address climate change in America’s public schools,
education also provides a critical opportunity to work toward climate solutions. Our education
sector can work to mitigate its environmental impact and work to build resilience in preparation
for climate change. With over 50 million children enrolled in public schools, education can help
prepare children and youth to advance a more sustainable world.”

Read full letter here

NNHS March for Climate and Racial Justice

Newton North High School students marched for Climate and Racial Justice on 10/17. The event was organized by the NNHS Climate Collective. Take a look at the report by Newton North TV.

The Climate Collective also created an online petition asking for Climate Justice for Newton

“To ensure the progression of our just, equitable, and sustainable vision for Newton, we ask that local leaders (Mayor Fuller, the city council, the school committee, etc.) meet with Climate Justice, antiracism, and social justice representatives on a recurring basis to review progress towards these goals. ”


Reduce & Reuse School Supplies

From the Bigelow PTO, June 13, 2020 – 

The Bigelow PTO invites you to think about school supplies in a sustainable way.  

The end of the year is a great opportunity to embrace our sustainable values with our children and show them how they can personally take climate action. Going together with the kids through their books, notes and school materials can be a valuable experience – in economic and environmental terms – and help reducing waste at the end of the school year by practicing the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

There’s a reason reduce & reuse come before recycle – not just because it sounds good, but it’s the order in which we should approach sustainability. Here are some tips to use with your child when cleaning out their school supplies:

  • Empty backpacks, pencil cases, binders, folders.
  • Clean everything (a swipe of rubbing alcohol can remove marker and make everything looks like new).
  • Repair or patch what you can. 
  • Organize pens, pencils, markers, scissors, calculators, etc.
  • Take out the used pages of notebooks and evaluate what can be reused in school or at home.

You will note that you can really reduce the purchase of new supplies because a lot can be reused next year. And we can all celebrate how much energy, water, resources and money we will have saved in our community! 

Check out more resources:

Students Can Take Action Against the Climate Crisis

Small habit changes can make a big difference. And students, as well as parents and educators, can take action and have a positive impact to reduce our carbon footprint.

Download and print flyer: Take Daily Action Against the Climate Crisis

What students can do

What can be done at home

Home heating and electricity account for a large portion of fossil fuel use. Talk to others at home about:

1. Signing up for 100% Renewable Electricity at Newton Power Choice, a really easy way to make a huge difference! Find your homers Eversource account# & call 866-968-8065 or visit

2. Signing up for no-cost home energy assessment and insulate/air seal your home. Call 781-305-3319 (select #2 & mention Green Newton) or go to

Download and print flyer: Take Daily Action Against the Climate Crisis

How to Make NNHS a Leader in Climate Justice

The Newton North High School Climate Advocacy Club is creating a student and teacher organization in order to advise the Principal on climate issues. The Climate Advisory Panel will be formed by a nomination process in Fall 2020 where students and teachers can be both self-nominated and nominated by others.

“Our school is lacking in both the educational side of the issue and physical side of the climate issue, most egregiously on the very important topic of climate justice. Given our position as a school that has traditionally led in academic and social emotional learning, it is our duty to be a leader and an example for ourselves and others in the values and practice of climate justice. ”

The panel’s goals, according to the document developed by the students, are to:

  • Educate peers on climate justice through developing, advising, and observing the revised sustainability curriculum with teachers; organizing Sustainability Day; and more.
  • Oversee and facilitate a strike absence policy.
  • Ensure that Newton North’s infrastructure is as sustainable as possible, specifically by working with the city of Newton and the sustainability director.
  • Incorporate climate justice into all facets of the school.

The panel will be a leader in connecting all the different groups in Newton that work on climate issues: teachers, activists, administrators, and more. If you are interested in being involved with the panel next year in any capacity, please fill out the interest form so we can keep in touch:

Climate Change Bracelet Pledge

We have a creative idea that can help to make talking about climate change easier to discuss. Simply make yourself a homemade braided bracelet to wear on your wrist and then take a pledge to have a conversation about climate change every time someone comments on your bracelet. 

There are a variety of easy bracelets that you can make at home. Our favorite uses fabric from old t-shirts or other material. Just cut three 1″ bands and make a simple braid. Then you can sign the pledge like others have done, send us a picture,  and start the conversation!

Braided Old T-shirt Bracelet

Download the pledge 

Congrats to All Who Submitted Essays About “Students Taking Climate Action”

In February, Green Newton invited Newton high school students to write essays on the theme “Students Taking Climate Action” and they were asked to submit them to Green Newton by the end of Earth Week. We saw this as an opportunity for students to voice their concerns and inspire others to make a difference by suggesting solutions that can benefit our environment.

Three essays were chosen to be published:

In a raffle drawing, two students were chosen to each receive a $50 gift certificate from Green Newton to use at a local shop or restaurant of their choice: Aidan Lieberman and Esther Zhang. 

Thank you to each of the students who participated in this Green Newton activity to honor our organization’s 30th Anniversary!

Earth Day 2020 Boston, by Newton South Students 03

Earth Day 2020 Boston, by Newton South Students

A promotion for Earth Day 2020 Boston by students from Newton South High School. Let’s  join them as we celebrate the start Earth Week tomorrow.

Earth Day 2020 Boston is being organized by a Newton South teacher, Michael Kozuch. The live event, Earth Day 2020 Boston Facebook Live Rally, is Saturday, April 18, and includes Marty Walsh, Jean-Luc Pierite, Reverend Rob Mark, Senator Ed Markey, City Councilors Michelle Wu and Andrea Campbell, Mass Sierra Club, Mass Audubon, musical performers and more.

Earth Day 2020 Boston Program

Sidewalk Chalk Climate Joke

Sidewalk Chalk Climate Jokes: Let’s Have Fun and Take Action!

While the climate crisis is a no joking matter, we can all use a little humor to keep our spirits up. As a lighthearted activity to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, Green Newton is proposing that we all beautify our streets with “Sidewalk Chalk Climate Jokes”. This is a great way to introduce Green Newton’s new Take Action!  tool and encourage our community to take action on climate change.

Take Action! draws attention to the actions that each Newton resident can take to lower their impact on climate. With almost 60% of greenhouse gases coming from household energy and cars, our personal actions really matter! Sign in and check off the actions you’ve already taken. Make a list of “To dos” and get to it. Challenge others to take action with Green Newton!

Help us get the word out! Here’s what to do:

  1. Pick a silly wordplay joke that can be used for your chalk messages (ideas here).
  2. Write the joke on the sidewalk with the words “Take Action! at
  3. Post pictures of your sidewalk jokes on social media and tag #NewtonTakesClimateAction

Have fun and Take Action!

Newton students are invited to submit an essay on “Students Take Climate Action”

In honor of Green Newton’s 30th Anniversary, we invite all high school students who live in Newton to write essays to voice their concerns and inspire others to make a difference by suggesting solutions that can benefit our environment.

The essay topic may be chosen from the list below or it can be an environmental topic of your choice. Students can write how they and others they know are learning to cope with the current challenges we face, while taking positive steps at home and in our community to conserve energy and protect our natural resources.  

Selected essays (300 words max) will be published on the Green Newton website, in our e-news bulletins, and on the GN School Connections website. Green Newton reviewers will determine on a weekly basis how many essays will be selected for publication.

There will be a raffle drawing on a date yet to be determined, in which all students who submit essays will be eligible to receive one of two $50 gift certificate prizes to use at a local shop or restaurant of their choice.

How to submit the essay? Send it by email by April 27 to [email protected]. Please include a title, your full name, school and grade. 

For more information, please email us at [email protected] 

(Information updated on March 20, 2020)


  • How can an education in climate science impact your future career possibilities?
  • Write about the benefits of one of the goals in Newton’s Climate Action Plan.
  • Create testimony is support of a climate-related bill that is being considered in the Massachusetts Legislature. (Resources for legislative priority lists: Mass Power Forward, Mothers Out Front, 350, Our Climate, Sunrise, Conservation Law Foundation, Clean Water Action, MassPIRG, MCAN)
  • Describe how the Sunrise Movement or Greta Thunberg has inspired you to get involved in Climate Action.
  • Write a review of a movie/book by Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein, Al Gore or Rachel Carson and describe how it inspires you.
  • What are the most important steps for Newton residents to become more sustainable in their commutes to school, work and other locations?
  • What are the benefits of transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and is Massachusetts making progress in this transition?
  • How does climate change impact lower economic communities?
  • What are green building principles and how can they benefit proposed building projects in Newton?
  • What is pump technology and how is it being used in Newton’s homes?