Submitted by Lopez Island School District
As the only Washington state school district to date, the Lopez school board has joined with over 40 other school districts across the United States in passing a resolution encouraging Congress and state Legislatures to protect our students by taking serious action to combat climate change.
The Lopez school board considered and unanimously passed the resolution Wednesday, March 27. In Washington, D.C. the following day, volunteers and over a hundred sixth graders delivered the resolutions to all 535 members of Congress.
During opening remarks at the Students for Climate Action Summit, director Park Guthrie dramatically interrupted the emcee to shout out the update that Lopez Island had just passed a resolution. Staff from Sen. Maria Cantwell’s office were reportedly surprised and excited to hear news of the Lopez Island resolution.
This nonpartisan advocacy effort was started by the Sonoma County Office of Education in the aftermath of the climate-related Sonoma County California fires which destroyed the homes of more than 1,400 students. Since then, school boards, student governments and parent-teacher associations in 10 states have signed resolutions, joined by the National Black Council of School Board Members and the California Association of School Psychologists.
Children are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere will continue to accumulate over the span of their lives. More intense weather events, new insect vectors for disease, reduced property value and associated reduced school revenue from a rising Salish Sea, and reduced air quality from climate-related Northwest forest fires are just some of the direct and indirect risks our Lopez students could face.
With the signing of Senate Bill 6032 into law a year ago, Washington became the first state to dedicate significant support to climate education, committing $4 million for grants for teaching including training in the climate science standards.
This is not the only action Lopez Island School District has taken to address climate change. Recently LISD was named by the U.S. Department of Education a Green Ribbon School in recognition of our school’s significant progress towards reducing environmental impact and costs, and with providing effective environmental and sustainability education to our students. LISD was one of only three districts so recognized in Washington state.
The Lopez School board resolution is available at tiny.cc/LopezSchoolClimate.