Declare Climate Emergency in SUHSD
Declare Climate Emergency in SUHSD
As of 2020, we are already seeing the catastrophic effects of climate change. In California, devastating wildfires have burned over four million acres of land, displaced thousands of people, and released smoke and ash that created hazardous air throughout the Bay Area. As disastrous as this sounds, this is only the beginning. Sea level rise, mass extinction, and widespread drought are just a couple of the far-reaching impacts.. Low-income communities are already experiencing the effects of climate change, and they will continue to be on the frontline of its impacts. Nevertheless, climate change will cause repercussions for everyone as it will affect global and local communities, economies, and natural environments if we do not take action now.
It is clear that climate change is here, and it is time that not only individuals, but our institutions take measures against what is arguably one of the biggest problems of our generation. We cannot wait for a miracle to save us; changes need to come from within. California governor Gavin Newsom is already taking steps to combat climate change, including phasing out gas-powered vehicles by 2035 and conserving 30% of the state’s land in an effort to protect biodiversity. San Mateo County has also taken action: the Board of Supervisors has declared a climate emergency. Local city governments within the county are already moving to mitigate this issue; for example: Menlo Park has vowed to be carbon neutral by 2030, while Redwood city is planning to reduce transportation emissions by promoting greener options of transit. In short, we are seeing officials are taking action in state governments, in local county legislatures, and even in individual cities. Now it is our turn.
Because the education system has such an influential role on young people, it is critical that schools take initiative in getting people to engage with climate change mitigation and environmental sustainability. In the process, schools need to address this issue by establishing action plans, and instituting change. Schools should also address climate change because it has a significant impact on our learning environments. For instance, in 2017, severe wildfires emitted heavy smoke pollution that negatively affected student learning. High fire risks have also caused PG&E power safety shut-offs, limiting student internet access, and prompting the evacuations of entire towns such as La Honda and Pescadero, and heightening health risks that detract from students’ ability to learn. High heat across the area is dangerous especially as schools don’t have equitable access to air conditioning. What’s more, the imminent threat of sea level rise is an issue that areas such as East Palo Alto and Half Moon Bay are particularly vulnerable to. Thus, we call the Sequoia Union High School district to:
1. Recognize the problem of climate change by declaring, and passing a Climate Emergency Declaration in the district (see document linked below); and,
2. Create a district sustainability leadership model that would outline concrete steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and minimize the ecological footprint of all schools in the district.
Climate change poses an imminent threat for students in the area. Therefore, schools need to step up and acknowledge the problem of climate change because it is undeniably here. Therefore, we ask you to join us in calling for the Sequoia Union High School District to acknowledge the issue by signing this petition calling the district to pass a climate emergency declaration.
SUSHD Climate Emergency Declaration and Resolution document: