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Green School Bali: the world’s most eco-friendly school

8 min read

Better Society
Source: GreenByJohn.com

“A green vortex creating green leaders”—One school’s vision to educate the decision makers of the future in global citizenship.

Green School Bali — where kids get a holistic and eco-conscious education

What do you want in a school? When you step onto a school campus, what do you want to see, hear, experience and feel? Imagine this, a school without walls, a campus which ignites the senses and the natural curiosity of children, a place where innovation, creativity and learning flourish, a community which has come together from all corners of the globe to share new experiences, a place of joy—Seeing children learning by doing, hearing deep and meaningful student discussions, experiencing daily growth as a whole person and feeling the joy of being part of a vibrant community of learners is the Green School experience.

This is what its founder, Canadian millionaire John Hardy, wanted it to be. Here's the world's most environmentally-friendly school. Source: Facebook/BrutNature

Green School: a community of learners making our world sustainable

Creativity often springs from the confluence of disparate ideas and events, and such was the case with Green School Bali.

Green School was conceived by its founders, John & Cynthia Hardy in 2006, following their exit from their jewelry business. After years of homeschooling, the Hardys wanted their daughters to attend a ‘real’ school. 

John wanted the girls to attend a school that he believed in, a school that he would want to attend, and he wanted to stay in Bali. When he read Alan Wagstaff’s “Three Springs” concept, he was so inspired by the dream that he wanted to build it in Bali.

Then one day in 2006, John and Cynthia saw Al Gore’s ‘Inconvenient Truth’ and it changed their life. They were compelled to take up his call to action.

These events gave the Green School plan its reason and purpose, and in August 2006 John and Cynthia decided to build the school.

The School’s bamboo bridge, spanning 22 meters (72ft) across the Ayung River, was completed in November 2006, creating a beautiful, strong symbol of the transition from the realm of idea to reality.

Green School opened in September 2008 with 90 students and a tailor-made campus that emerged from the jungle and rice fields. Since then it has grown to 400 students from all over the world, aged from 3 to 16 years old, and has become an inspiring example of education for sustainability.

Source: GreenSchool.org

The school was built by master carpenter Jorg Stamm and designer Aldo Landwehr. In order to teach people how to build and design with Bamboo, bringing together tradition and Innovation, the project Bamboo U came to place. This program provides architects, designers, engineers, environmental advocates and enthusiasts with a foundation in Bamboo construction.
The all-bamboo campus was conceived by John and Cynthia Hardy The school was built by master carpenter Jorg Stamm and designer Aldo Landwehr. In order to teach people how to build and design with Bamboo, bringing together tradition and Innovation, the project Bamboo U came to place. This program provides architects, designers, engineers, environmental advocates and enthusiasts with a foundation in Bamboo construction. Source: Facebook/GreenSchool

Green School are pioneers in combining sustainability within education

The school prepares students to be stewards of the environment, teaching them to be critical and creative thinkers, who champion the sustainability of the world and the environment. It strives to inspire their thirst to know more, equip them with appropriate and relevant knowledge, and nurture their passion to influence change in the way this planet is managed.

Concerned about the depletion of the world’s resources, the Hardys became advocates for the use of bamboo and wanted to create a project that offered a strong alternative to rain forest timber as a building material, while participating in the fight against climate change and poverty.

They decided to build a school to demonstrate how to build with sustainable materials, inspire and educate children to live sustainably and motivate communities to fight climate change and poverty.

To build such a project, three entities were created: Green School (the architectural project), PT Bamboo (bamboo factory) and the Bamboo Community Project that work hand in hand.

Sustainability features:

  • Structures are built from renewably, locally sourced bamboo, from the roof and walls to the blackboards and chairs. Roofs are made of ylang-ylang thatch.
  • Working towards using 100% renewable energy, using photovoltaic panels, a micro-hydro-powered vortex generator, and bio-gas (methane extracted from animal manure) instead of bio-diesel.
  • Bamboo sawdust is used to power the water heating and cooking systems.
  • Walking paths are constructed with stones, rather than materials with a higher ecological impact on the site, such as cement or asphalt surfaces. The roads are volcanic rock and walkways are gravel.

Bio Bus: in 2015, Green School high school students launched the Bio Bus, a student-led social enterprise to provide sustainable transport services to Green School students, teachers and community—

This initiative looked at solving the transportation system to the rural setting of Green School, which mainly consisted of private cars, carpooling and motorbikes. The Bio Bus now has four 18-seater buses that run purely on biodiesel (B100) made from used cooking oil collected from other islanders.

Green School also has summer and holiday camps on its schedule, with groups coming from all over the world.

Source: Ecology.com

The whole structure was constructed entirely from bamboo within six months.
2008 when Green School main building ‘Heart of School’ was being built The whole structure was constructed entirely from bamboo within six months. Source: Facebook/GreenSchool
Solar energy is an important and material component of Green School’s renewable energy and carbon emissions reduction strategy. In 2011, Akuo Energy generously donated a solar PV and microgrid energy management system to Green School. The solar PV energy system is composed of 118 solar PV panels, a 72 kWh capacity lead acid battery bank, and inverters.
Solar Photovoltaics Solar energy is an important and material component of Green School’s renewable energy and carbon emissions reduction strategy. In 2011, Akuo Energy generously donated a solar PV and microgrid energy management system to Green School. The solar PV energy system is composed of 118 solar PV panels, a 72 kWh capacity lead acid battery bank, and inverters. Source: Facebook/GreenSchool
The bridge was completed in November 2006, creating a beautiful, strong symbol of the transition from the realm of idea to reality.
The School’s bamboo bridge spans 22 meters (72ft) across the Ayung River The bridge was completed in November 2006, creating a beautiful, strong symbol of the transition from the realm of idea to reality. Source: Facebook/GreenSchool
Green School is a place where innovation, creativity and learning flourish, a community which has come together from all corners of the globe to share new experiences, a place of joy.
A school without walls, a campus which ignites the senses and the natural curiosity of children Green School is a place where innovation, creativity and learning flourish, a community which has come together from all corners of the globe to share new experiences, a place of joy. Source: Facebook/GreenSchool
This provides constant opportunities to experience the impact that humans have on our environment. To build an appreciation of sustainability, the students start small by thinking locally, they reacquaint themselves with the environment and rebuild their symbiotic relationship with it.
The school campus is immersed in the jungle This provides constant opportunities to experience the impact that humans have on our environment. To build an appreciation of sustainability, the students start small by thinking locally, they reacquaint themselves with the environment and rebuild their symbiotic relationship with it. Source: Facebook/GreenSchool
Dr. Goodall was in Bali to promote her Roots & Shoots Programme and spread her message of hope. The theme of all her talks centred around the premise “everyone can make a difference every day”. The planet is in a perilous state and it is this generation of children who will, and can, change the world for the better. Melati and Isabel Wijsen are alumni of the school.
Dr. Jane Goodall, with sisters Melati and Isabel Wijsen from the Bye Bye Plastic Bags Campaign Dr. Goodall was in Bali to promote her Roots & Shoots Programme and spread her message of hope. The theme of all her talks centred around the premise “everyone can make a difference every day”. The planet is in a perilous state and it is this generation of children who will, and can, change the world for the better. Melati and Isabel Wijsen are alumni of the school. Source: Facebook/GreenSchool
The curriculum is a progressive model of learning that connects the timeless lessons from nature to a relevant and effective preparation for a fast-changing future within the guiding values of integrity, responsibility, empathy, sustainability, peace, equality, community, and trust.
Green School Bali’s vision is to educate young green leaders in global citizenship The curriculum is a progressive model of learning that connects the timeless lessons from nature to a relevant and effective preparation for a fast-changing future within the guiding values of integrity, responsibility, empathy, sustainability, peace, equality, community, and trust. Source: Facebook/GreenSchool
Concerned about the depletion of the world’s resources, the Hardys became advocates for the use of bamboo and wanted to create a project that offered a strong alternative to rain forest timber as a building material, while participating in the fight against climate change and poverty.
Children learn about the raw material of their school: bamboo Concerned about the depletion of the world’s resources, the Hardys became advocates for the use of bamboo and wanted to create a project that offered a strong alternative to rain forest timber as a building material, while participating in the fight against climate change and poverty. Source: Facebook/GreenSchool
The bamboo buildings are much more than just an architectural wonder in the middle of the jungle. They are giving back to the land that has adopted them by expanding, yet preserving, the innate beauty, plentiful culture and genuine souls of this magical island.
This aerial shot of the campus shows the school surrounded by jungle on all sides The bamboo buildings are much more than just an architectural wonder in the middle of the jungle. They are giving back to the land that has adopted them by expanding, yet preserving, the innate beauty, plentiful culture and genuine souls of this magical island. Source: TripAdvisor.in
Living a sustainable lifestyle is a process of learning by doing and remembering what we once knew and have forgotten over many generations. Many things need to change to lead a life that is more integrated with the natural systems that surround us. The most important change that can lead to living an authentically sustainable life is a change in our mindset and habit patterns.
On a Journey to living sustainably Living a sustainable lifestyle is a process of learning by doing and remembering what we once knew and have forgotten over many generations. Many things need to change to lead a life that is more integrated with the natural systems that surround us. The most important change that can lead to living an authentically sustainable life is a change in our mindset and habit patterns. Source: Facebook/GreenSchool
The large open-air structures were created from local, natural, renewable material, primarily bamboo, and the remaining open space has been planted with organic fruit, vegetable gardens and rice paddies.
Just one of the 74 unique buildings at the Green School campus The large open-air structures were created from local, natural, renewable material, primarily bamboo, and the remaining open space has been planted with organic fruit, vegetable gardens and rice paddies. Source: Facebook/GreenSchool

“My Green School Dream” — John Hardy Join John Hardy on a tour of the Green School, his off-the-grid school in Bali that teaches kids how to build, garden, create (and get into college). The centerpiece of campus is the spiraling Heart of School, perhaps the world’s largest freestanding bamboo building. Source: TEDGlobal
“We are building Green School to create a new paradigm for learning. We want children to cultivate physical sensibilities that will enable them to adapt and be capable in the world. We want children to develop spiritual awareness and emotional intuition, and to encourage them to be in awe of life’s possibilities.”
The Founders, John & Cynthia Hardy “We are building Green School to create a new paradigm for learning. We want children to cultivate physical sensibilities that will enable them to adapt and be capable in the world. We want children to develop spiritual awareness and emotional intuition, and to encourage them to be in awe of life’s possibilities.” Source: GreenSchool.org
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