Best planning and implementation toolbox

Green Education Programs:

Purpose of Tool:
Green education programs are intended to increase public awareness and knowledge about environmental issues or problems. In doing so, the public is provided with the necessary skills to make informed decisions and to take action to improve their communities.

Benefits of Using Tool:
Green education programs are beneficial to communities through the following potential results:
  • Reductions in the consumption of household chemicals, energy, water, and fuel
  • Reductions in the production of solid waste and emissions
  • Increased awareness among citizens of environmental impacts
  • Establishment of a community committed to sustainability
  • Education of citizens, local officials and public agency staff to increase the understanding of growth impacts and to foster support for sustainable planning initiatives
  • Environmental issues are addressed, such as watersheds, riparian corridors, forested areas, and other natural systems that transcend political jurisdictions

    Steps Involved to Use Tool:
    Green education should illustrate not only relationships among natural systems, but also how individuals affect their surrounding environment through their daily actions. Maintaining and enhancing environmental quality depends largely on individual, voluntary actions at home and at work. The following steps are typically taken in implementing green education programs:
  • Awareness: help groups or individuals acquire an awareness and sensitivity to the environment overall, as well as specific to their community
  • Knowledge: provide community groups and individuals with the resources and information about how to reduce waste and conserve energy
  • Attitudes: help the community and individuals to establish a concern for the environment and the motivation for actively participating in environmental protection
  • Skills: provide individuals and the community as a whole with the resources to identify and address environmental issues
  • Participation: encourage the community and individuals to participate in addressing environmental issues through a variety of tools such as tax incentives, as well as personal participation opportunities

    Special Requirements to Use Tool:
    Because many environmental issues affect multiple jurisdictions, cooperative agreements between agencies and governments may improve the effectiveness of green education programs.

    Specials Resources Needed to Use Tool:
    To effectively implement a Green Education Program, the local government should launch an outreach program designed to educate the community and elevate its environmental consciousness. Educational resources include guidebooks, sustainability calculators that measure ecological and carbon footprints, and information on “greening” the home and office. Many educational resources are available online and are convenient and easily accessible for the community. Green education programs are suitable for any setting, but typically occur in local government or community centers.

    Communities / Agencies that Have Used Tool:
  • Pasadena, California: The City of Pasadena has launched a Green Training program to inspire, motivate, and educate the city employees, residents, and business owners, to play a part in improving the environment.  Contact:

    Pasadena Planning Department
    175 North Garfield Avenue
    Pasadena, CA 91109

  • Denver, Colorado: The City of Denver has established a program to help citizens make changes within their own households and neighborhoods by providing guidance on saving energy and water, recycling, commuting on bicycles and transit, and green building practices.  Contact:

    1437 Bannock Street, Room 350
    Denver, Colorado 80202

    Metrics to Use to Monitor Tool Effectiveness:
    Depending on the objective of the green education program, effective metrics may include a variety of measures, such as consumption patterns before and after program attendance. For example, Denver, Colorado and Duval County, Florida have implemented a program that educates citizens about changing their households and neighborhoods by bringing together action-oriented people who are concerned about the impact of their consumption habits on the environment. The program has proved to be successful as individuals are conserving more resources and using less energy after completing the program. Public awareness and opinion may be measured with surveys or, less precisely, by observing trends in the occurrence of program topics in newspaper articles, green website hits, and attendance at education program events.

    List of Resources to Obtain Additional Info:
  • Greenprint Denver.
  • Green Action Guide: Denver Area edition.
  • Green Action Guide: Online Sources
  • Pasadena’s Online Green Training Program.
  • Sustainable Seattle