On Dec. 4, the Sebastopol Union School District passed a climate change resolution. The district recognized climate change as a children’s issue and suggested that “all institutions and elected leaders” need to show leadership in addressing it. It also created a committee to recommend ways the district can take further action on climate change. This is possibly the strongest and clearest statement about climate justice and climate action by any K-12 public school board in the nation.
As a parent and longtime educator, I am so grateful that the Sebastopol Union School District (SUSD) took this bold and compassionate stand in order to protect current and future students. This resolution strengthens the coherence and moral authority of the district, because silence about climate justice would undermine its mission and core values to educate our youth.
School board members are the only elected officials with a singular focus on young people. This makes their voice especially important in the effort to preserve a healthy climate. There are about 10,000 school districts in the nation. If just 10 percent of them followed the SUSD’s lead, it would generate significant public will for science-based climate policies at a national level.
Let’s all empower other local school board members to build on the SUSD’s lead. Learn more about the SUSD school board resolution or how you can help empower other school boards to speak up for climate justice by visiting schoolsforclimateaction.weebly.com.
To paraphrase the SUSD school board, climate change is neither a partisan nor political issue, but it is a children’s issue. As caring adults, we can all speak up for climate action. An easy step would be to contact your local school board and ask it to pass a climate change resolution similar to the SUSD’s.
Park Guthrie is a teacher who lives in Sebastopol.
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