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.
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.