This is great to see – a unanimous vote (with far-right wingnut member Elizabeth Schultz mercifully absent) by the Fairfax County Public School Board urging bold climate action and “the rapid replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy technology.” Thanks to Pat Hynes for introducing this resolution, to Dalia Palchik for seconding it, and to everyone who spoke and voted in support of it!
Unfortunately, given that the Republican Party is effectively the science deniers party, we’re going to have to have Democratic control at the state and/or federal levels to get actions commensurate with the (dire) threat. In the meantime, I urge localities like Fairfax County to do everything they can at the LOCAL level to make their buildings energy efficient, and where appropriate to install renewable energy systems – solar, geothermal, etc. The urgent nature of this crisis requires that we do NOT wait for the federal government to act.
For more on how states and localities can help provide the leadership that is completely lacking from the Trump White House and Ryan/McConnell Congress, see How states and localities can limit the fallout of Trump’s withdrawal from Paris.
Fairfax County School Board Passes Resolution on Climate Change Action
At its business meeting on October 11, the Fairfax County School Board passed the following resolution:
RESOLUTION OF THE FAIRFAX COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD CALLING FOR STATE AND FEDERAL ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE
WHEREAS, an overwhelming majority of credentialed scientists, in the U.S. and abroad, support the finding that climate change is happening and that human activity is a key contributor; and
WHEREAS, if left unaddressed, the consequences of climate change will harm all Americans, most especially children and those living in poverty, and saddle future generations with the costly burden of a dangerously damaged planet; and
WHEREAS, climate instability is a global challenge requiring bold, innovative, and sustained actions at all levels of government, local, state, and federal; and
WHEREAS, the size of Fairfax County Public Schools’ physical footprint provides an unparalleled opportunity to advance the use of renewable energy sources and reduce greenhouse gas output in Northern Virginia; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to School Board Environmental Stewardship Policy 8542, FCPS leads the nation in energy efficiency, the development of green building design standards, and award-winning classroom opportunities for student advocacy and learning through the Get 2 Green program; and
WHEREAS, the Fairfax County School Board’s commitment to the safety, well-being, and future success of all children in our community also demands a high priority on reducing carbon consumption in our decisions regarding capital improvement, energy use, transportation, and other policy priorities within the Board’s control; and
WHEREAS, the Fairfax County School Board depends on committed partners in local, state, and federal government to realize our climate action goals, and recognizes the efforts and progress made to date, especially Fairfax County Government’s recently announced request for proposals for solar installations on public buildings, to include schools;
NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved that the Fairfax County School Board: 1) calls on the members of the Virginia General Assembly and the United States Congress to act boldly on climate change and provide a regulatory framework that removes barriers to progress on climate action and encourages the rapid replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy technology; and 2) directs the Superintendent to report timely to the Board changes in state and federal policy that support the goal of reducing carbon consumption, along with staff proposals to make best use of those opportunities in facilities and transportation planning.
“Recent reports from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are disconcerting and will have an impact on our students,” said School Board chair Karen Corbett Sanders. “The Board has been formally committed to leading the way in reducing our carbon footprint through energy conservation and incorporating renewable energy into our capital improvement plan. With this resolution, we recognize the need to work with our State and Federal policymakers to advance a similar policy framework that encourages citizens to embrace renewable energy.”