On Thursday, January 25th, 2018 the Ross Valley School District Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, and Board of Trustees spoke up for climate action to protect current and future students when they passed Resolution #07-17-18 "In the Matter of Climate Change." Thank you for our courageous and compassionate leadership.
I want to highlight three things about this inspiring act:
1. Resonance: This is essentially the same resolution at the Sebastopol Union School District's climate change resolution. The resonance between the two resolutions amplifies the signal they send and maximizes the public will they help build. Both school districts are coherent and aligned on this matter.
2. Self-Organizing: From the perspective of an outsider/advocate, the passage of this resolution was essentially spontaneous. There was no organizing effort to get this resolution passed. The proximal cause was an email from a former student to the Superintendent. This suggests that there is a latent, built-up desire on the part of educators, educational leaders, and educational institutions to speak publicly about climate change. For many of us, as adults who have chosen careers nurturing the younger generations, a cry of grief gets stuck in our chests when we observe the trendlines in our socio-ecosystem. Some of us are are distraught by the lack of public will to deal collectively or truthfully with the climate burden our generation has put on the backs of younger and future generations. As educators and educational leaders, we are eager for the opportunity this resolution provides to state publicly and in an organized way the truth we often bear privately. Silence on the need for climate action undermines the institutional coherence of schools and school districts. Speaking up for climate action strengthens schools as institutions.
3. Positive Feedback Loop: The threshold for action lowers each time a school district steps forward and speaks up for climate action. News of this resolution activated individuals or teams in at least 6 other school communities to take action and begin working towards school board climate action resolutions in their own districts. The Ross Valley example suggests there are probably additional efforts in districts we are not yet aware of.
Thanks again, Ross Valley School District.
Please keep spreading the word. We think there are at least 50,000 school board members who would gladly pass a similar resolution. They just may not have heard of the important precedent set by the Sebastopol Union and Ross Valley school districts.
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.