Two Lake Tahoe USD Trustees, Bonnie Turnbull and Troy Matthews along with parent Nick Eskline filmed our first Call-to-Action video to help amplify the message of their boards' climate action resolution from the fall of 2017. As mandated reporters, they call on Congress to act quickly and boldly on climate. They also call on fellow trustees and ed sector leaders to join them in speaking up for climate action. National climate inaction and ed sector silence about it undermine our most important shared values. By speaking up, these trustees can help prevent climate harm (by helping to move Congress to act) and reinforce our important ed sector values which are so threatened by silent witnessing of Congressional climate neglect. Thank you Nick, Bonnie, and Troy!
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want a copy of a template "Call-to-Action" for your school board, student council, PTA, or ed union.
Slideshow---Student Councils: Help End Climate Silence and Congressional Climate Neglect with A Student Council ResolutionRead Now
Patagonia Reno Hosts Teens for Climate Action event with S4CA, CCE, and Kids Speak for Parks on 3.8.19 at 7:00pm!Read Now
Save-the-Date: S4CA Congressional Advocacy Day on 3.28.19
Help Hand-Deliver Climate Action Resolutions from School Boards and Student Councils to Every Congressional Office
On Thursday, March 28th, youth-adult teams with the Schools for Climate Action campaign will deliver a respectful, but assertive message to every of Member of Congress: Congress has both the moral imperative and the ability to act quickly and boldly on climate change. As mandated reporters, education leaders from across the country will no longer be silent witnesses to Congressional climate neglect which harms all our students. As those who will bear the greatest burden from unmitigated climate change, young Americans from across the country will not be silent and will hold leaders to higher standards of responsible climate behavior.
In just over a year, 38 school boards, 8 student councils, 4 PTAs, and 2 educators' unions from nine states have passed climate action resolutions. In addition, 2 state/national education organizations---the National Black Council of School Board Members (a caucus of the National School Boards Assocation and the California Association of School Psychologists) have also passed resolutions. More student councils, school boards, and education sector organizations and associations are joining the effort and passing new resolutions each week. These resolutions frame climate change, and therefore Congressional climate inaction, as a generational justice, human rights, equity, and children’s issue. These resolutions bear witness to the unfair burden that unmitigated climate change creates for current students and future generations. These resolutions call on Congress to work together to enact commonsense climate policies which protect students and future generations from climate harm. Congress can take immediate, commonsense steps to help create a more sustainable, healthy, and prosperous future for all Americans.
The Schools for Climate Action campaign invites your school or organization to send a youth or youth-adult team to join us as we walk the halls of Congress and amplify the non-partisan voices of the education sector calling for national climate action. We currently expect about 175 participants. We hope that we will have at least 2 youth for every 1 adult. We will host Zoom training sessions mid-March for all participants.
You can donate to the travel fund for teams coming from out of town at the S4CA Gofundme site. We will kick off the day at 8:20 for a Meet and Greet, followed by a panel on the Climate Burden: Climate Impacts on Youth and Schools. The primary audience for this panel is Congressional staffers. Next, 100+ DCPS middle school students will join us for a panel on Climate Solutions with Representative Mike Thompson and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and moderated by S4CA Co-Director Jonah Gottlieb. After this panel we will have a formal Call-to-Action by education leaders and youth leaders. Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton will give a final send off after which 150+ youth will hand deliver the resolutions to every member of Congress. We should finish in the early afternoon.
Schools for Climate Action is a non-partisan, youth-adult, grassroots campaign to empower school communities to speak up for climate action. Since December, 2017, 30 school boards and student councils in 5 states have passed non-partisan climate action resolutions.
For more information, please contact email@example.com or visit our website at www.schoolsforclimateaction.org. This event is co-sponsored by Young Voices for the Planet.
To register, please complete this S4CA Congressional Advocacy Day 3.28.19 Interest Form.
ear Trustees/CSBA Delegates,
Thank you for your service as school board members and as delegates to the CSBA. My name is Park Guthrie and I am a 6th grade teacher in Sonoma County, CA. As an 18+ year California public school teacher and parent of 3 school kids, I appreciate your work and commitment to California public schools. I am also a co-founder and lead volunteer of the non-partisan, youth-adult, grassroots Schools for Climate Action campaign. We were founded by students, teachers, and parents in Sonoma County, California in July of 2017.
Please consider a non-partisan CSBA climate action resolution at the delegate assembly in San Francisco next week. In 2015, the California PTA passed a resolution describing climate change as a "children's issue". This resolution enumerated some of the many ways that our national climate inaction threatens current and future students. Since this resolution has passed, hundreds of thousands of California school kids have been exposed to climate-related harm and trauma. Yet, during the same time period, our federal government and Congress have repeatedly neglected to act to mitigate this threat to our students.
In the past 11 months, at the urging of our campaign and in direct response to national climate neglect, 27 school boards and one student council in California, Colorado, New York, and Virginia have passed non-partisan climate action resolutions articulating the moral imperative for Congress to act on climate change to protect our students and future generations. Several of you included in this email have voted for climate action resolutions on your local or county school boards; thank you for your important leadership and courageous example!
The Pacific Region Trustees of the National School Boards Association have proposed this strong, non-partisan climate action resolution which will be considered in March, 2019.
Proposed NSBA Climate Change Resolution
As CSBA delegates, you have tremendous power to articulate the non-partisan will of the educational sector for commonsense Congressional action on climate change. Please pass a strong climate action resolution in the CSBA Assembly and engage the CSBA board, the CA State Board of Education, and the NSBA board to join you.
Here is our current proposed template:
Model School District Climate Action Resolution...
Here are 5 strong examples of school board climate action resolutions
Albany (CA) Unified School District Climate Action Resolution
San Lorenzo Unified School District Climate Action Resolution
Harmony Union School District Climate Action Resolution
Sonoma COE Commitment to Climate Change Action Resolution
Tamalpais Union High School District Climate Action Resolution
The Credo High School student council climate action resolution specifically encourages the CSBA, the NSBA, and the State Board of Education to stand with them and pass their own climate action resolutions. Here is the language in the Credo High School student council resolution pertaining to the CSBA: "We encourage other student councils, school district boards, county boards of education, state boards of education, and the board of the California School Board Association, and the board of the National School Board Association to all pass climate action resolutions similar to ours, calling on Congress to enact swift, fair, and effective climate policies in order to protect current and future students." Young people are respectfully requesting all of their elders to speak up for climate action to protect their generation.
As the only elected leaders with a singular focus on the well-being and future success of young people, all 90,000 school board members in the country have standing to speak up, in their official capacity, for national climate action to help protect students. So far, only about 250 have officially done so in school board resolutions. This relative silence from the education sector is deeply incoherent given our shared values (science is a useful tool to understand the world, elders protect students, be fair, pick up after yourselves, speak up for justice, our nation can be a force for good in the world, etc.) and mission. Our students will face predictable climate harm partially due to national climate neglect. The non-partisan voices of school communities and education sector leaders can help prevent this harm by helping to move Congress to act. Thanks to non-partisan climate action resolutions, no education leader needs to be a silent witness to our national climate neglect.
In an ideal world, it would not fall to school board members to advocate for commonsense national climate policies which would protect students and future generations. Unfortunately, partisan efforts to politicize climate science and undermine societal trust in climate science have been highly effective. Indeed, even the CSBA seems to have a working norm against using the words "climate change"; a longtime CSBA staffer met with my son and me in the summer of 2018. We inquired whether or not the CSBA had a program to measure climate change impacts on California schools or school kids, the staffer replied (clearly frustrated) with something along the lines of "We don't and if we did, we would not be able to call it that. We'd have to call it 'air quality' or something like that. The words "climate change" are considered too controversial, too political around here." Recent publications and social media from the CSBA seem to also suggest that climate silence is an institutional norm. More information below.
You could flip this norm for silence about generational climate justice at the CSBA; in doing so, you would help all Americans and members of Congress more accurately perceive and understand the ways in which our national climate inaction directly harms our students and future generations. Were the CSBA to pass a strong climate action resolution likely hundreds of school boards and student councils from across the state would follow suit. This would set off a groundswell of climate action resolutions from across the country. Members of Congress have told us that the unified, non-partisan voices of the educational sector speaking up for national climate action would play an important role in moving Congress to act to restore a safe climate for our young people.
You have so many important priorities and you already do so much important work increasing resources for schools and advancing educational equity. You have worked hard to embody the values of climate responsibility by supporting district sustainability and/or climate literacy initiatives. Indeed, California schools lead the nation in these kinds of efforts. It should not also fall to you, the CSBA, the NSBA, or even the environmental education sector to advocate for Congressional action to preserve a safe climate. However, all signals suggest without novel and significant leverage, Congress will not act on climate quickly enough to avoid increased climate harm---potentially catastrophic---to our students. We should continue the important local and state work to restore the climate, but we should not consent to the absurdity that our nation should not also act according to science and our best values. By the time my sixth grade students graduate from high school and become voters, no matter how climate literate they are and how carbon-neutral our schools are, if our national government has not also acted in their best interest, the climate problem will likely overwhelm the ability of their generation to act on it.
Your actions next week can help "scaffold" this enormous problem for them. You and the CSBA have tremendous power next week to help manage the unscientific socio-politically transmitted mental schema and perceptual filters which lead to the national climate inaction so threatening our young people and our institutional coherence. With little or no investment of additional resources, you could help lead the education sector to speak with one non-partisan voice to help break the logjam on climate action in Congress. It would cost nothing and could make a tremendous positive impact on our students and future generations. Please help break silence on generational climate justice.
I understand that the resolution process at the CSBA may take months. Unfortunately, climate scientists have made it clear that the window for action to prevent possible catastrophic consequences within our students' lifetimes is quickly closing. To prevent possible widespread humanitarian climate disasters by 2040, the most recent UN-IPCC report suggests that the transition to a carbon-free economy needs to be well underway by 2030. The educational sector (CSBA, NSBA, local, county and state school boards, environmental education non-profits, etc.) can immediately send non-partisan signals to the 116th Congress by issuing similar or joint press releases on 1.10.19. Please consider encouraging your local and county school districts and the CSBA to issue this press release on January 10th, 2019 (1 week into the new 116th Congress):
Proposed Education Sector Climate Change Press ...
Please contact me if you have questions or need additional information.
Thank you so much for reading and for your work supporting great public schools for California kids. During this time of giving thanks, I am very grateful for your service and your leadership.
Schools for Climate Action Co-Founder and Lead Volunteer
We are encouraging all education sector leaders, agencies, andorganizations to release press releases on January 10th, 2019 officially encouraging the 116th Congress to be the first Congress to act on climate change. The education sector is dramatically impacted by Congressional climate inaction in many ways and we all have significant standing to make a non-partisan appeal for national climate action.
Here is a draft of the release the Schools for Climate Action campaign will share. Other leaders, organizations, and agencies are encouraged to use this as a starting point, but to modify it as they see fit. The core message that should remain is that climate change is bad for schools and young people and that Congress should act quickly and boldly.
Please keep us posted both the individuals and organizations you engage and also commitments they make to do a press release on 1.10.19.
Here are the kinds of individuals/organizations/agencies we hope will speak up with us by issuing a press release on 1.10.19:
We will collect press releases and share with Congress when we go in March.
Thanks for reading and for your work spreading the word about ways the education sector can speak up for national climate action to protect our students.
The text of the 11.16.18 version is pasted below, although but check the link above for updates:
Proposed Education Sector Joint Press Release Calling on the 116th Congress to Act on Climate Change
to be released on 1.10.19
“As the leaders of thousands of school districts, boards of education, student councils, various school system support organizations, and millions of school stakeholders from across our great country, we thank you, the members of the 116th Congress, for your leadership and for your service to all Americans. We especially appreciate your commitment to young people.
As educators and educational leaders, young people are our primary constituents. Everything we do, in our official capacity, should help empower young people to create healthy, successful, and thriving futures for themselves, for their families and communities, and for our country.
It is with this goal in mind that we have taken the extraordinary step of coming together to speak up for Congressional climate action to protect our students and all future generations of Americans. Climate change is a children’s issue, a generational justice issue, and a human rights issue. We come together to respectfully call on this 116th Congress to also come together---across party lines---to act boldly and effectively to preserve a safe climate. We, educational leaders and the school communities we serve, need you, the 116th Congress, to act on climate change. There are multiple common sense policies---carbon pricing, 100% clean energy policies, and science-based climate restoration plans---which you could quickly enact to get us started down the path towards climate restoration. Time is of the essence.
Due to new scientific insights and the direct experience of climate-related disasters during the 114th and 115th Congress, the direct threat of unmitigated climate change to all young Americans and future generations has never been more clear to us, the educational sector.
Previous Congresses have not acted responsibly to prevent catastrophic climate change despite clear and consistent appeals from the scientific community. It is not too late, but you, the 116th Congress, must act quickly and boldly to protect young people from harm.
Continued Congressional inaction on climate undermines our schools and our mission to empower young people to thrive and succeed. Continued Congressional climate inaction undermines our generational moral authority. Continued Congressional climate inaction makes it likely that our young people will face overwhelming humanitarian climate disasters within their lifetimes. Continued Congressional climate inaction conditions our young people and our vital public institutions to accept incoherence and irrelevance from our federal government which could become an existential threat to our democracy.
No matter how successful the educational sector is at transmitting sustainability skills and civic engagement to our young people, if you, the 116th Congress do not act decisively on climate change, the problem may grow faster than the abilities of our young people to manage.
As educators, we are the sector most clearly able to see and understand the moral and humanitarian impacts of Congress’ climate inaction.
Our love and respect for our students, our country, and our democracy mean that we will no longer be silent about Congressional climate neglect. Congressional inaction on climate change threatens our mission, our values, our democracy, and most tragically our young people. You, the 116th Congress, can act on climate. Our young people are precious and miraculous. You must act on climate change to give them an opportunity to thrive and prosper.
Thank you for your consideration, for your service, and for acting on climate change to protect all Americans. On March 27th, 2019, youth-adult delegations will visit Congress to hand-deliver climate action resolutions from school communities across the country. This will be an opportunity for you to communicate your plans for national climate action with the educational sector. We trust that the 116th Congress will do the right thing by our climate for our current students and all future generations.”
Rationale: On January 3rd, 2019 the 116th Congress will be sworn in. This Congress will serve until January, 2021. Given the recent UN-IPCC report and the series of climate-related disasters which have traumatized millions of American school children during the 115th Congress, the 116th Congress should be the one to finally act boldly and effectively to minimize the threat of climate change to young people and future generations. All evidence, past precedent, and conventional thinking from Washington insiders suggests that the 116th Congress will not act on climate change. This should be unacceptable to the educational sector.
Educational leaders from across the country can take the extraordinary step of speaking together, with one non-partisan voice, to help move Congress to act on climate to protect students. One week into the new Congress, on January 10th, educational leaders from across America can host coordinated press conferences and issue a joint press release similar to the one above, clearly articulating the moral imperative for this new Congress to take bold, fair, and effective climate action within the next two years.
It is not standard practice for educational leaders to speak so publicly and assertively about policy issues. However, climate change and our complete lack of a coherent national climate policy is outside the bounds of our shared values, norms, and scientific understandings.
Our institution exists to cultivate young people who act in an scientifically literate, just, patriotic, compassionate, and optimistic ways. We, educators and educational leaders, work hard to embody these same values ourselves. For more than 30 years, the educational sector has stood by, hoping Congress would do the right thing on climate for our students. At first, this silence simply demonstrated faith in our American system of government and in norms of governance. Now, especially given the certainty of climate science and the immediacy of the impacts of climate change and climate inaction, we should no longer silently ignore the direct link between national climate inaction and (those who support this inaction) and the direct harm and risk to our primary constituents, young people. Our silence about Congressional inaction undermines our mission and our institutional moral authority. By raising our voices together to help correct generational climate neglect, we act in accordance with the same values we help our students develop.
It is for this reason that educational leaders take the extraordinary step of setting aside traditional norms guiding their relationship with federal electeds in order to speak up publicly and assertively for national climate action.
In addition, if we do not speak clearly about the confusing, unscientific behavior by federal electeds, students may internalize this incoherence within their own the mental schema. Our words may not move Congress to act in a way that aligns with our shared values (they might, though), but by publicly highlighting this incoherence in Congressional behavior, we can help our students build a more accurate, coherent and healthy mental schema related to our socio-ecosystem. We help prevent them from normalizing mental frameworks in which Americans expect our federal government to be incapable of taking common sense action to protect young people, our highest value. If we teach them to internalize this expectation, our very democracy itself will be threatened.
Please encourage all school stakeholders---Superintendent’s, educational leaders, school board members, student council members, PTA officers, educator’s union presidents, and school support non-profits---to issue this press release (or a similar one) on January 10th, 2019.
This is not an effort that needs to be centrally managed. Each group or individual educational leader can just signal to others that they will release the press statement and/or hold a press conference. Each individual or group can modify or edit this press release as they see fit. If enough of us January 10th, it will have an impact. Please be sure to share links to your press statements with firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be visiting Congress in March, 2019 and lots of press statements (and resolutions) from across the ed sector will help us make the case to Congress that the education sector wants bold, effective action on climate change.
Please contact email@example.com or visit www.schoolsforclimateaction.org. I’ll post a link to our website listing groups and individuals who will be participating.
Thanks so much!
6th grade teacher and co-founder of Schools for Climate Action
On September 20th, the Santa Cruz County Office of Education became the 24th school board to speak up for climate action to protect students. There are now 27 school boards, including 4 county office of education school boards (Sonoma, Marin, Santa Cruz, and San Mateo) that have joined the campaign. The social norm of climate silence among educational leaders is starting to flip. The harm caused by national climate inaction is clear. Congress can act on climate to protect our students. All 90,000 school board members across the nation can speak up in respectful, non-partisan, but assertive climate action resolutions to protect students. School stakeholders across the country engage their local, county, and state school board members to be a clear voice for commonsense climate action to protect students. These resolutions are an expression of love, respect, and care for students and future generations. Thank you for Santa Cruz County Office of Education trustees and Superintendent Watkins.
Please Respectfully Encourage the National School Boards Association to Pass the Proposed Climate Action ResolutionRead Now
Very exciting news. The National School Boards Association (NSBA) may be considering this climate action resolution very soon (also pasted below). This would create a realistic and rapid path to thousands of local climate action resolutions from school boards across the country. This, in turn, would help move Congress to finally act on climate change to protect our young people. We need to be sure to be very respectful of the NSBA. They do tremendous work fighting for better conditions for schools and school kids across the country, often at great odds. To some extent, it's probably exhausting for them to be asked to take this on as well---they already have so many pressing priorities.
1. Please send 100% supportive and positive emails to the NSBA board of directors: Here is a template email you could share with school stakeholders in your networks (parents, students, teachers, and especially school board members). Please encourage school stakeholders to email the NSBA directly at firstname.lastname@example.org (Marsha Bernard is the executive assistant for the NSBA board). Please cc "email@example.com" so we can track outreach.
"Dear National School Boards Association:
Thank you for all of your important work supporting great public schools for kids and communities across America. I believe American public schools are one of our most vital public institutions.
As a supporter of the non-partisan, grassroots, youth-adult Schools for Climate Action campaign, I was happy to learn that the National School Boards Association was considering a non-partisan climate action resolution. I think it is so important that Congress hear from educational leaders detailing the risks and harm of climate inaction on American kids and schools. There are many positive steps Congress can pursue to help mitigate the impact of climate change for American young people. Thank you for encouraging Congress to show leadership on this issue.
I am a ____________________ (insert school stakeholder category---parent-teacher-student-school board member, etc.) in _______________ district in __________ (city, state).
Thanks again for all of your work.
2. Outreach to Individual Directors by School Board Members or Top-Level School Stakeholders (Parents-students-educators) It would also be helpful for top-level school stakeholders (schoolboard members-students-teachers-parents) to reach out to the NSBA directors from their regions. Here is the NSBA director webpage. The more school board members and top-level school stakeholders these NSBA directors hear from, the better.
3. Other: I don't have all of the details about when this resolution will be considered by the full board. The NSBA is a private association so it does not necessarily publish board agendas, minutes, etc. We need to be sure to be very respectful of the NSBA. They do tremendous work fighting for better conditions for schools and school kids across the country, often at great odds. To some extent, it's probably exhausting for them to be asked to take this on as well---they already have so many pressing priorities.
The NSBA represents all 50 state boards of education which in turn represent 14,000 school boards across the country. This would be a game changer if the NSBA passed this proposed climate action resolution. It would make it possible that thousands of school boards would pass their own climate action resolutions fairly quickly. This could help drive a society-wide paradigm shift about the way we perceive and react to climate change.
I think it makes the most sense to write 100% supportive and positive messages to the National School Boards Association about this draft resolution. This resolution does not cite carbon-pricing specifically, but it does call on Congress to act. To me, it makes sense not to advocate for any wording changes, but simply to encourage them to pass their proposed resolution. I don't think we need to get too specific about policy on this one. Please contact me if you want more information about this. At least one significant county school board in California tried to pass a climate action resolution, but it was voted down because it was too specific policy-wise. Certainly, the board agreed that Congress should be acting on climate, but they did not feel they had the expertise to choose between common-sense policy options.
Thanks everyone for all of your support and your work helping the educational sector speak up for a safe climate for our students.
“NSBA recognizes and understands the significant negative impact that rapid and ongoing climate change has on America’s schools, students, and their communities. NSBA urges the Congress and administration of the United States to provide mitigation for the effects on our communities. Specifically, NSBA advocates for funding for school infrastructure needs and emergency funding for disaster relief caused by natural catastrophes and extreme weather events. Furthermore, NSBA urges a reduction of carbon emissions and an increase in carbon-free electricity production to slow the rapid progression of climate change and its effects on America’s schools, students and communities. Additionally, NSBA encourages states to adopt a curriculum that addresses the challenges that climate change puts on our communities and equip students with the knowledge necessary to slow such changes.”
Research demonstrates that climate change adversely effects students’ physical and mental health and negatively impacts student achievement.
The damages caused by natural catastrophes and extreme weather events devastate local economies and therefore schools.
In 2017, the Government Accounting Agency reported that the impact of climate change to the United States was approximately $350 billion for the preceding 10 years, and is projected to cost at least $35 billion annually from now until 2050 when it will increase to as much as $112 billion annually by the end of the century.
A report by the Universal Ecological Fund places the annual cost at $240 billion. These figures did not include the devastating California wildfires of 2017/2018, the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey in South Texas, loss of Alaskan permafrost and coastal land mass, significant droughts in the western United States, increases in insect population growth leading to destruction of crops, and projected loss of low lying land in Florida, Virginia, Texas, California, and Louisiana.
Research by the World Meteorological Organization concluded that 80 percent of natural disasters between 2005 and 2015 were in some way climate related.
The insurance industry has recognized the impact of climate change. In 2010 the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) adopted an Insurer Climate Risk Disclosure Survey in response to The Potential Impact of Climate Change on Insurance Regulation white paper released by the NAIC in 2008. “The disclosure of climate risk is important because of the potential impact climate change can have on insurer solvency and the availability and affordability of insurance across all major categories.”
In addition to the projected costs due to major flooding effecting coastal schools, there will be increased electricity demands due to heat and air quality for inland schools requiring increasing amounts of air conditioning and possible indoor gyms for physical education and athletics.
The specific costs to school infrastructure including the loss of buildings and lands as well as declines in tax revenue and increases in insurance rates has not been determined, however it is expected to be billions of dollars. It is vital that climate change be slowed so that school districts and their communities can spend precious dollars in classrooms to support the students of today and for future generations.
Kai Guthrie is a ninth grade student at Credo High in Rohnert Park, a Citizens' Climate Lobby volunteer, and one of the founders of Schools for Climate Action campaign.