Questions to tackle:

Why a resolution? What difference will this make? Will this cost the district anything? (My response: Compared to how expensive is climate change?  


  1. Q: What is the difference between a “soft” resolution and a “hard” resolution?

A: A soft resolution is mostly “talk” whereas a hard resolution commits new resources (district time, money, etc.). There are both “hard” and “soft” elements in many of the SCA resolutions.

Here are some example “soft” elements:

Here are some example “hard” elements:

  1. Q: Do soft resolutions have any value?

        A: Definitely. In fact, somewhat surprisingly, soft resolutions can be the easiest to pass but can potentially have the greatest value. This is a beautiful paradox with the problem in which we find ourselves.

Millions of school stakeholders have not yet clearly articulated their political will for national climate policy. This silence may actually be an important factor enabling the climate inaction we are collectively witnessing on the national stage.

When we think about articulating our political will, most often people think about voting. Voting is important, but it’s a pretty blunt tool to articulate our political will. When we vote for a specific candidate (for any position) we are voting for a whole package of values, tone, and policy positions. Our choices are normally fairly limited---we vote for one of two people or not at all, typically. Voting does allow give us political power and the rough strokes of articulating political will, but it’s just one small part. You can vote for a candidate with whom you disagree completely on some issues.

The beauty of soft resolutions is that they allow us to very clearly articulate our political will related to climate change. By joining with others who share our specific political will for a common-sense national climate policy our organized and clear voices amplify our message. We can send stronger signals throughout the political ecosystem.

On a practical level, grassroots lobby teams of constituents can translate school board or student council resolutions, directly into political leverage to move members of Congress towards climate action.

There may be an opportunity cost of too much focus on local action. Local action is important and necessary to get us to a sustainable, healthy, and just society, but recent evidence suggests that there is a tremendous amount of low-hanging political will-building fruit we can be picking. We can do a much better job at building political will for climate action.