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A school district climate change resolution offers model for other districts

You just never know when a quick email reply will lead to something important.  As a member of the Citizens Climate Lobby, I received a message from Park Guthrie stating his interest in working with a local school board on passing some kind of climate change resolution and asking if anyone on the list had connections to school board members.  I happened to know that Lawrence Jaffe, a former The Climate Center Board member, was serving on the Sebastopol Union School District. In addition, Renata Brillinger, Executive Director of CalCan and former The Climate Center employee, is also on the SUSD. So, I quickly wrote back to Park and gave him contact info for Lawrence and Renata, encouraged him to contact them and use my name.

I take no credit for the result but am thrilled that the Sebastopol Union School District adopted a Resolution recognizing climate change as a children’s issue. Children today are in the unfortunate position of growing into a world increasingly harmed by the adverse effects of climate change while being too young to vote or be in positions of policymaking. The SUSD resolution acknowledges that climate change is a grave threat, is not partisan or political, and that there is a broad scientific consensus that human activity is the dominant cause, and that it is a children’s issue because they are vulnerable and because greenhouse gases will continue to accumulate in the atmosphere. The resolution creates a Climate Change Committee “to develop recommendations for taking action on climate change that are within the purview of the District, such as: curricular and educational opportunities; facilities and operational priorities and projects; targets for reducing District greenhouse gas emissions; and, engagement with local, state and federal jurisdictions.”

It is my hope that this resolution brings about concrete actions by the SUSD and inspires other districts to follow suit. Our children spend much of their lives at school and it matters greatly what school authorities say and do about climate change. When school officials make climate protection a priority, its send a message to our children that we care what happens to them on this planet they call home.