We just had our 6th monthly meeting and momentum is building on our local effort to empower school boards (and teacher's unions, student, councils, and PTA's) to speak up for climate action to protect current and future students.
5 new school stakeholders joined us for the first time including:
-a local non-profit leader who supports networks of teachers interested in sustainability (Solar Schoolhouse)
-a senior and One Planet leader from CREDO high school
-a CCL member and retired educator in the Santa Rosa city school district
-a parent of 2 youth in the West Sonoma Union High School District
-an elementary teacher in the Oak Grove School District
Together, we are creating opportunities for youth to empower adult elected leaders to speak up for climate action in a way that can generate public will for science-based climate policies.
Donnella Meadows, one of the founders of complex-systems theory, says that the 2nd most powerful lever for changing complex systems (like our socio-ecosystem) is to change paradigms. The act of youth empowering adults creates a paradigm shift. Youth can empower adults to speak publicly their common (but in most public contexts, private and unspoken) belief that climate change is a children's justice issue and that the adults in our society should take action to address it. This simple dynamic of youth empowering adults to speak publicly the climate truths they hold privately creates a paradigm shift.
If we can replicate this dynamic---youth empowering adult leaders---in just a percent of the 14,000 school districts across the country, it could generate significant public will for science-based climate policies.
If you are a school stakeholder (community member, student, parent, teacher, school staff, school board member) please help this effort snowball. Like this page, post, and reach out to your school contacts and the school board members your community has elected. Every individual school board member and every school board that speaks up publicly makes it that much easier for subsequent school board members and school leaders to speak up publicly. Speaking up for climate action to protect children could become a norm and would resonate very well with schools as institutions. This effort can snowball.
All school boards need to do is state that "Climate change is a children's issue" and encourage "all elected leaders to speak up for and take climate action in order to protect our current and future students". These are not political or partisan statements. This are simply conclusions that follows logically from scientific observation of our socio-ecosystem combined with the most deeply held, foundational values of our schools (that adults should protect children and create the conditions for future their success). Institutional silence on the need for climate action can undermine school institutional coherence.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the webinar tonight.
Here's a link to the slides:
Empowering Local School Boards to Speak Up for ...
Here's a link to the recording:
Schools for Climate Action Webinar 1.11.18
We are planning to do monthly follow-up ZoomMeetings to support teams and gather information on how this effort is working in other districts. We will do a blog post when we schedule February's meeting.
Webinar: Thursday 1.11.18 How to Empower School Board Members in Your Own District to Speak Up for Climate JusticeRead Now
When: Thursday, Jan 11, 2018 5:30 to 6:30 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Here's a description of the webinar:
We plan to inspire and support youth-adult teams empowering school boards in their own districts to speak up for climate action in order to protect current and future students.
Our training will share:
1. Sebastopol Union's Climate Change Resolution
2. Ideas for creating a multi-stakeholder team in your own district;
3. Steps to engaging and empowering school board members to speak up for climate justice;
4. Multiple benefits of school board climate change/climate justice resolutions;
5. School board climate change/climate justice resolution ideas;
6. Next steps
7. Q and A
We're hoping to help Sebastopol Union School District's great example start a snowball effect. There are 10,000 school boards in the nation with over 50,000 school board members. These school board members are the only elected leaders with a singular focus on well-being and future success of children. We can empower them to speak up for climate action and climate justice! This will help build public will to enact science-based climate policies which will protect current and future students.
The above button has a link to a Google form individual school board members can use to go on record stating that climate change is a children's issue and encouraging elected leaders at all levels (local, state, and national) to speak up for climate action and to take measures to reduce greenhouse gases in order to protect current and future students.
While we encourage school boards to discuss and pass climate action or climate justice resolutions as a whole board, there can be multiple reasons for school board members to speak up as individual elected leaders. Here are 4 reasons school board members may wish to speak up as individuals:
Thanks for reading and please spread the word.
Thank You, Sebastopol Union School District for Speaking up For Climate Action!
On Monday, December 4th Sebastopol Union School Board unanimously passed the Sebastopol Union School District's Climate Change Resolution. This may be one of the strongest climate change resolutions ever passed by a public school board in the nation. (If you know of others, please contact us, so we can add it to our database). Thank you SUSD School Board (especially Trustees Renata Brilliger and Lawrence Jaffe) for setting this important and courageous precedent! By speaking up for climate action you will help protect current and future students. We expect your precedent will empower school board members across the country to join you in speaking up for climate action. As the only elected leaders with a singular focus on the well-being and future success of children, the voices of school board members are especially important regarding climate action.
Schools for Climate Action members initially proposed an SUSD Climate Resolution in July. Youth-adult teams held 3 meetings with individual school board members. A total of 4 youth members spoke at two different SUSD board meetings. SUSD Trustees Renata Brilliger and Lawrence Jaffe revised the initial draft several times. Thank you SUSD Board Members for honoring the voices of young people as they develop the organizing skills they will need to ensure our country implements science-based climate policies at all levels (local-state-national).
Please join our Schools for Climate Action campaign if you want to start a youth-adult team in your district to empower school boards to speak up for climate action.
On Monday, 11. the Petaluma City Council took action on climate change. They approved an energy efficiency streetlight project and they endorsed a national carbon tax as a way to bring down national greenhouse gas emissions. Petaluma City Council, your actions will help mitigate the risk of harm from climate change for current and future children. Thank you for your leadership, courage, and compassion.
On Tuesday, November 7th the Sebastopol City Council voted to send a letter of support urging Congress to enact a Carbon-Fee-and-Dividend.
Thank you Sebastopol City Council for speaking up for climate action. Your example will inspire others and helps build the public and political will to protect current and future children from climate change.
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.