Thank you SRCS Board for passing a Commitment to Climate Change Action Resolution!
On Wednesday, 2.28.17 Santa Rosa City Schools became the 5th local school board to speak up for climate action in just 3 months. Sonoma County school board members are blazing a trail for school boards and school communities across the country. They are the 7th northern California school board to pass climate change resolutions since October.
School communities across the country----90,000 school board members, 3 million teachers, and 10's of millions of students and their families, can speak up for federal climate action to protect current and future students. Our organized, respectful, non-partisan, and patriotic call for federal climate action can break the logjam in DC. Republicans and Democrats can pass fair, effective, and common-sense climate policies.
Thank you Trustees Klose, Carle, Fong, Pugh, Kristof, Anderson, Sheffield and Mott, as well as Superintendent Kitamura!
Here is a link to statements by Schools for Climate Action before the Santa Rosa City Schools' Board:
We are having technical difficulties. In some video clips the discussion of the resolution starts at 3:00:03. In other video clips it starts at 3:10:00 or 3:15:00. Schools for Climate Action SRCS Team Leader and Citizens' Climate Lobby Volunteer Beth Mathews, Celeste Palmer, Park Guthrie with a thoughtful intro from Board President Jenni Klose and thoughtful follow-up statements by several board members and the Superintendent.
Less than two weeks after Sonoma County Office of Education passed their Commitment to Climate Change Action, the Trustees of the Sonoma Valley Unified School District unanimously passed the same resolution.
This is the fourth local school district in three months to speak up for climate action to protect current and future students. Sonoma County educational leaders are blazing a trail for districts across the country to follow. Please spread the word widely by sharing this resolution and the meme that adults can speak up in respectful, non-partisan ways for fair and effective climate action. Speaking up in this manner is a patriotic act.
Silence on the matter of climate change may undermine the values, the relationships, and the institutions we educators hold most dear.
A big thank you to the SVSD board members (Nicole Abate Ducarroz, Salvador Picate Chavez, Dan Gustafson, John Kelly, and Britta Johnson) and to the Superintendent Charles Young who put the resolution on the agenda and to Associate Superintendent Bruce Abbott who presented it. Below is the resolution from their board packet (without signatures), but I just confirmed this morning that it passed unanimously.
This happened with very little outside advocacy. Tom Conlon told me last night that he had shown up at the SVSD Board meeting on 2.13 to speak for a climate action resolution during Open Comment period. Unbeknowst to him, the Superintendent had already put the resolution on the agenda that evening with a recommendation to pass.
This is further evidence that the educational sector has a latent desire to speak up to protect our students and future generations. It makes sense that this impulse to speak up to protect children and future generations is most apparent in the educational sector. Adults in education are mandated reporters---it is built into our institutional norms, codes, and culture. We are bound by law to report when we suspect abuse or neglect of a child. Our current climate trajectory and current national inaction is at the very best a case of intergenerational neglect on a massive scale. The educational sector may be able to be energized (more easily than other sectors such as the business sector) to sound a non-partisan, respectful, patriotic, and strong call for climate action.
I think we need to focus on taking this movement within the educational sector to scale and doing so quickly, so that an activated and assertive educational sector can make a stronger case and move the national climate needle as quickly as possible. As a 6th grade teacher, the timeline and the ticking clock is very apparent to me. Some scientists suggest that we've got to bend the emissions curve by the time my 6th graders graduate from middle school to avoid non-trivial risks of catastrophic climate change!
I have some ideas about how to prioritize our outreach efforts so that we can achieve resonance between different scales of the educational sector (local districts, county boards of education, state boards, California School Board Association, National School Board Association), between stakeholder groups (students and student councils, parents and PTA's, teachers and teacher's unions, etc.), and between the educational sector and non-partisan, respectful climate advocacy networks like CCL and Put A Price On It.
Please email me (email@example.com) if you would like to join an upcoming "Taking it to Scale Strategy Talk". I have some hunches and I'd love to talk them over with more folks and hear what ideas other people have about taking this to scale.
Also, please consider signing up for our March 11th Working Summit.
I think 2,000 school board resolutions within the next year may feasible (with a lot of luck, of course). I think it would have a big impact on the national needle. I think if everyone who is reading this right now, took some coordinated actions towards this goal, there's a realistic chance we could hit it.
Thanks for reading everyone. Again, please email me if you want to participate in a strategy chat about how to get these networks resonating and to take this to scale.
Please spread the word about this exciting news.
Calling all students, parents, teachers, school administrators, school staff, board members, and community partners! Help launch the national movement to empower school communities to speak up for climate action in order to protect current and future students. Bring your laptop and friends from your school or school district.
Sonoma County schools are already speaking up in an organized, respectful, but SoCoStrong way, making the case for national climate action in order to protect current and future students. Thanks to the Harmony Union Teacher's Association, the Sebastopol Union School District, and the Sonoma County Office of Education, we are already national leaders in this effort.
With your help, over the next year, we will engage and inspire tens of thousands of school board members, student councils, PTA's, and teacher's unions across the country to speak in an organized, powerful voice making the case for climate action to protect current and future students.
Join the effort. Engage and motivate your networks. The nation and our children need us. We have greatness in us. Let's get this done!
Sonoma County Office of Education Board Passes Strongest Climate Resolution by Any School Board in the NationRead Now
Thank you Superintendent Herrington and Trustees Hernandez, Kostas, Cuclis, Leonard, and Wittke-Schaffner! Schools for Climate Action work hard to ensure that your courageous and compassionate example will inspire school boards and school board members across the country to speak up for climate action in order to protect students. The SCOE Climate Change Resolution is probably the strongest statement by any school board in the nation about the need for climate action. It's mention of carbon pricing as a bipartisan policy solution and it's call for local schools to engage in non-partisan climate advocacy can help build public will for science-based climate policies which will protect future generations. Thank you for your inspirational leadership.
We don't have time to waste. Please share this SCOE climate change resolution widely! And, sign up for the Schools for Climate Action email list.
On Tuesday, 1.30.18, leaders from both parties spoke to the American people laying out visions of a bright prosperous future. In these speeches, there was silence about how we, as a people, will protect our children and future generations from the threat of climate change.
Something is going on here (spiral of silence). I do not think we as a people have intentionally abandoned our children and all future generations. I do not think the speeches on Tuesday night represent the sum total of ideas, values, and beliefs in our socio-ecosystem. But a word cloud of the most important public discourse by the most powerful people in our socio-ecosystem on Tuesday night would suggest that in important contexts, we do not have the vocabulary or will to speak about the single greatest threat our children and grandchildren will face. (For a poetic take on this issue please read Jane Hirshfield's brilliant poems Global Warming and Let Them Not Say).
What makes this silence even more stunning is that we already possess the technological and policy tools to manage the threat to our offspring. All that is lacking is public will. Here's the tricky part, that could fill a person with despair: If we are not talking about the issue, how do we build the public will to deal with it?
Don't despair! The beauty of this spiral of silence dilemma is that all we have to do to change it, is to speak about it. We all have the power to break this dangerous spiral of silence. Anyone can speak up for climate action to protect our children and as we begin to organize our collective voices into a chorus, we will shift paradigms and generate the public will to deal with this issue as a nation and as a people. Each one of us has an incredible amount of power to break the spiral of silence about climate change by speaking truths about it in contexts where there has formerly been silence about it. We can speak about the disconnect between public discourse, between institutional priorities, between investments of resources and the common hope we all share for a bright future for our children. We each have a tremendous amount of power to speak up and break the spiral of silence.
As educators and leaders of educational institutions, we can sing the prologue in this chorus. We work in an institution grounded in science, we know that climate change is real and that it is likely the greatest threat our children will face collectively. We don't have to be silent. As educators, we stand at the interface between the generations. We can perceive in unique ways the harm climate change will inflict since we work closely with those who will bear its full burden (our children). As educators, we can speak up collectively, in a non-partisan way, to close the feedback loops and break the spiral of silence on climate change. We can help unify our great nation around a common dream---of ensuring a bright future for all of our children by addressing climate change. Our collective voices can help drive a broader paradigm shift that will protect our current and future students.
In the past two months, two school boards have passed identical Climate Change Resolutions. (Sebastopol Climate Change Resolution and Ross Valley Climate Change Resolution). Echoing the California PTA Climate Change Resolution of 2015, they state that "climate change is a children's issue". Furthermore, they call on "all leaders and all institutions" to address climate change. This is a non-partisan paradigm based on logical conclusions from objective observations of our socio-ecosystem and our best scientific thinking. Evidence suggests that not all elements of our socio-ecosystem share this paradigm (consider the silence on Tuesday night).
However, if more school boards follow SUSD and RVSD's example, their organized and collective voices on the matter could be powerful. If more leaders and institutions had the paradigm expressed in the SUSD and RVSD climate change resolutions, we, as a society would step up to manage this significant threat to the well-being of all our children and future generations.
The Schools for Climate Action campaign believes that at least 50,000 school board members probably already agree with the language and intent of Sebastopol Union/Ross Valley climate change resolutions. There are currently efforts in 12 more districts to pass similar resolutions. Please help us engage the other 13,988 school boards on this issue. Please help us empower school board members across the country to speak up to protect our current and future students. Please share the SUSD/RVSD resolutions widely.
There are 15 million high school students and 3.1 million teachers in the country working in 14,000 school districts led by 90,000 school board members. Together, we can help break the spiral of silence on climate change and build the public will to do what it takes to manage this significant threat to the well-being of our children and future generations. The Climate Change Resolution passed by SUSD and RVSD is a tool we can use to organize our collective voices in a way that will shift paradigms, build public will, and create the conditions for the implementation of science-based climate policies at all levels. Sign up for our mailing list and start emailing every school stakeholder you know an example of the SUSD and RVSD climate change resolutions with a simple question, "Look what these two school districts did...do you think we could do the same?" (Hint: the answer is "yes").
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.