When Jill Buck served as the PTA Council President for Pleasanton, California, she became concerned about the amount waste being generated at her children’s schools, and the use of unsafe pesticides around playgrounds in the community. A former Naval officer with experience in recycling programs, Buck decided to take action.

After inspiring passage of a resolution on PBT’s (persistent bioaccumulative toxins) and their hazardous effect on children’s health at the California State PTA Convention, Buck realized that parents and teachers could band together to initiate substantive changes in the way communities interact with the environment for the sake of protecting children’s health.

She researched environmental education programs in hope of finding one that she could bring back to her children’s school. After weeks of exhaustive research and phone calls all over the nation, Buck concluded that there was no comprehensive environmental action program anywhere in the country that would help school communities operate in an environmentally responsible manner. So, she wrote one. In July 2002, she created the Go Green Initiative on her kitchen table.

The Go Green Initiative is a grassroots environmental program that unites parents, teachers and students to create a culture of conservation on campus. The program involves students at every level and takes a comprehensive approach to help schools evaluate every aspect of their environmental impact. It provides schools simple options and tools to examine everything from recycling to energy conservation.

By September 2002, the Go Green Initiative was being piloted at Walnut Grove Elementary School, where Buck’s children attend school. Today, the Go Green Initiative is the nation’s fastest growing fully comprehensive environmental action plan for schools. By promoting environmental stewardship on campuses from elementary schools through universities, Go Green works to involve families, businesses and local governments in the common goal of protecting human health through environmental stewardship.

Since its inception in 2002, the Go Green Initiative has been endorsed by the National School Boards Association, National Recycling Coalition, adopted by numerous State PTA Boards, implemented in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, along with schools in Canada, Mexico, Asia, Europe and Africa. There are currently over 1.5 million students and teachers in registered Go Green schools.

The Go Green Initiative Association is a non-profit organization that seeks to provide every school the opportunity to protect the environment and children’s health through environmentally responsible behaviors. The GGIA provides training and resources for Go Green schools and serves as a clearinghouse for information on environmental education programs throughout the country.

Historic Firsts

  • First GGI school: Walnut Grove Elementary
  • First GGI middle school: Harvest Park Middle
  • First GGI high school: Amador Valley High
  • First school district to adopt the GGI: Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District
  • First City to adopt the GGI: San Jose, CA
  • First state PTA to adopt the GGI: Texas State PTA