by Kaia Roman

When John Hardy sold his successful jewelry business in 2007, he could have retired quietly, but instead turned his attention to building “Green School,” a 20-acre preschool through high school campus in the jungle in Bali,

Indonesia—all in response to seeing the movie “An Inconvenient Truth.”

“Al Gore ruined my life,” says Hardy. “I have four children, and if even half of what we’re hearing is true, they will not be able to grow up in the world that I did, a world with abundant resources.”

So Hardy built Green School in 2008, with a visionary approach to solving the world’s environmental problems: educate a new generation of leaders who will fix them. Green School is built almost entirely from bamboo, down to the chalkboards and chairs. The classrooms were intentionally built with no walls, so the students can feel a connection with the environment around them. The “Heart of School” building, which houses the administrative offices, IT lab, school library, art rooms and meeting spaces, is a three-story, 60-foot bamboo structure of three interconnecting spirals in the shape of a double helix. The school has been a finalist of the Aga Khan Architecture Awards for its daring design. This exceptional learning environment inspires students to be as creative and innovative as their surroundings.

Green School was awarded the 2012 Greenest School on Earth by the United States Green Building Council Center for Green Schools and has become a “destination school” which has attracted over 250 preschool through high school students from more than 55 countries seeking a unique, nature-based, student-centered education. The school follows a holistic education model, with green studies woven into every area of study throughout the curriculum. Organic food for school lunches is grown in permaculture gardens on site, with students participating in the cultivation and harvest. The campus is powered by a hillside of solar panels, with the upcoming addition of a hydroelectric “vortex,” harnessing energy from the nearby river.

Essential to the Green School model is the school-centered village, housing and small businesses built around the focal point of a school. Since its humble beginnings with a handful of buildings in 2008, Green School has expanded into a thriving village community in Bali, with numerous houses and businesses built around the school. One of those businesses, the Living Food Lab, serves organic, raw, vegan delights to students, parents, staff and visitors to Green School, which is a buzzing hub of activity on a daily basis. Living Food Lab was started by two Green School parents, Steve Munroe and Avara Yaron, who shared a passion for raw foods and healthy living as well as a desire to incorporate raw foods into the diet, and curriculum, at Green School.

“Green School has been very supportive in getting the Living Food Lab running on campus, as well as having raw food workshops for the Green School community. The kids love the food, which is now one of their three main options available for lunch every day. We are also excited to have a series of weekly raw food ‘cooking classes’ and weekend retreats planned for the near future at the school,” said Living Food Lab Co-founder Steve Munroe.

Food is one of the major areas of education focus at Green School, as it is the most basic and integral aspect of sustainability for all beings. “So many people in the Western world never think about where their food comes from, what has been added to it, or taken away from it, and how it is sustaining or harming their bodies. We have become so removed from the essential elements that sustain our life,” said Green School Facilitator Chris Thompson. “At Green School, students learn where food comes from—from seed to plant to plate—and they are actively involved in growing and preparing the food that we eat every day at the school.”

Green School is a work in progress, with new projects and partnerships popping up every day. It serves as a thriving model for future green schools around the world, which Hardy and his team are keen to build.

For more information, see



conduct internet search: “John Hardy TED talk”

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