Martial Arts going Green

Martial Arts going Green
Let's face it. Everywhere you turn these days, things are going Green. It's the new buzz word out there. But going green is more than just a catch phrase to draw people's attention. Going green is talking about how we can minimize our footprints on this Earth and live in better harmony with the environment around us.

Martial Arts is about finding and living in harmony with our surroundings. But we don't always think about how we can be green while we're training. Here are some ideas to think about that might help get you and your school on track.

One of the biggest culprits of waste I see at most schools is the empty bottle. When you're working out that hard it's good to nourish the body again with fluids. But that often comes with a cost to the environment, lots of empty bottles. There are some ways around it:
  • Offer a water dispenser. These days you can often rent water dispensers which can be placed anywhere in the school. Rather than having paper or Styrofoam cups, place a shelf or locker nearby that people can store their own reusable cups. If the cost is too prohibitive, consider asking the students to all pitch in to pay for it monthly. With the cost is spread over more people it's often not as bad.
  • Setup recycling bins. Even with dispensers, there may be students who still bring in bottles of their own. Setup recycling bins in your school and encourage students to use them. If you live in an area that the bottles and cans can be exchanged for money, encourage empty bottle/can drives to your students. Collect the money for something the students need. For instance, is there a big seminar coming up? Give students who go about collecting empty bottles for the school to recycle a discount.

    Changing area. One of the hidden "non-green" areas is the amount of laundry that students go through. This is often compounded by the fact that many students may wear their uniforms out after class and thus expose it to more opportunities to get dirty. Their uniforms are going to get dirty just from training. Offering a changing area within the facility may minimize how long the students wear the uniforms and thus how dirty they get and how often they need to be washed.

    Equipment exchange. If you are in a school that has a lot of younger students, you'll find that often parents end up having to buy new equipment every year because their little one has outgrown the previous year’s gear. Help these parents out. At the same time you’re doing the registration for the new year, host a flea market or provide a consignment shop to allow used goods to be sold.

    Merchandise green products. Green can be beneficial as well as helpful to the environment. These days, there are many merchandising options that can help promote greener living. In my area, all grocery stores now charge you for plastic bags. Because of this most people bring reusable bags from home to use. Having these reusable shopping bags available for purchase is a nice way to both promote being green and have some publicity.

    Switch to the Internet. Most schools are still fairly traditional in how they communicate, using paper newsletters and flyers to make announcements. While these options will still be needed, you can reduce the amount of paper needed by offering students alternative means of communication such as online calendars or email.

    Going green doesn't have to be drastic. Every little bit helps. Look around and see how your school and your Martial Arts can be greener and live in better harmony with the environment around us.

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