A Growing Number Of Schools Take Lead On Climate Action

Above photo: From Tommy’s Holiday Camp.

Sonoma County, CA – The Schools for Climate Action (S4CA) campaign is a grass-roots, non-partisan, youth-adult campaign with a mission to empower school communities to speak up for climate action in order to protect current and future students. Inspired by the work and methods of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, it was started by a team of students, parents, and teachers in Sonoma County, CA in July, 2017. The S4CA campaign took on new urgency in the aftermath of the climate-related wildfires in Sonoma County in October.

As a result of the S4CA campaign, since December 17, eighteen school boards have passed climate action resolutions articulating the political will for national climate action and/or declaring climate change a children’s, human rights, or generational justice issue. Many of these resolutions also celebrate or expand existing in-district sustainability or greenhouse gas reduction efforts.

The strongest climate change action resolution by any school board in the nation was just passed by Albany Unified School District (SF East Bay) on May 22nd, 2018. Tamalpais Union in Marin also passed a climate action resolution that same week.

On June 9, 2018 a youth-adult team with the S4CA campaign will travel to Washington, DC to hand-deliver these resolutions to members of Congress and to the National School Boards Association. In addition, S4CA co-founders Kai, Lola, and Park Guthrie along with Novato high school senior Lucy London will present a breakout session at the Citizens’ Climate Lobby conference on June 10. The session is titled Schools for Climate Action: Help Create a Groundswell of Youth-Adult Activism.

Park Guthrie, co-founder of S4CA, 6th grade teacher at Salmon Creek Charter School, and a volunteer with Citizens’ Climate Lobby, explained, “Many Americans and scientists agree that our lack of common-sense national climate policy puts all of our young people at future​ risk of economic and physical harm due to climate destabilization and climate-related disasters. But this climate harm is not limited to a
distant future.

As educators, working at the interface between the generations, many of us understand that the moral and spiritual harm of this generational justice issue is already significant and growing. Few or none of the core values our schools exist to cultivate are consistent with our current national climate stance. And silence about this generational justice issue not only helps enable our current national climate inaction, but also compounds the moral and spiritual damage to our institutions, to intergenerational relationships, and to our individual and collective character.

Fortunately, we do not have to be silent witnesses to this great burden adult generations are currently placing on our youngest and future generations. By passing climate action resolutions, school boards can preserve institutional coherence as well as generate non-partisan political will for a positive national solution.”

Currently, there are Schools for Climate Action supporters working on local school board and student council climate resolutions in more than 12 public school districts and independent schools in California as well as districts in Ohio, New York, Washington, Pennsylvania, and Colorado.