Statements by student supporters of the Schools for Climate Action campaign to the California State Board of Education on November 6th, 2019.
Here is a video link to the actual statements.
If you are moved to take action to help education leaders find their climate justice voices, here are 5 things anyone can do to help the Schools for Climate Action Campaign:
Thank you for being a second responder to the most recent climate-disaster striking our community.
Hi, I’m Simi. I am a 7th grader at Salmon Creek Middle School. Thank you for the opportunity to speak today. Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, thank you for speaking up for climate action. It really means a lot to us that such a high ranking education leader is speaking up for climate justice.
Climate change directly affects students, so everyone, especially education leaders, should speak up to help enact change. As of the last two years, I have personally suffered four climate-related disasters. There was the Tubbs Fire in 2017, the Paradise fire in 2018, Russian River flooding earlier this year, and most recently, the Kincade fire, just last week. School closures due to horrible air quality and unsafe roads meant more than three weeks of school was lost. So many students in California, Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, and other places experience climate-related catastrophes each year, and suffer accordingly.
Congress has had the opportunity to prevent climate harm for more than 3 decades. They have simply chosen not to act. This is neglect. And by continuing to remain silent, most education leaders are enabling Congress to continue to neglect the climate. I hope that education leaders all over the country follow Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond’s example and speak up for climate justice. Thank you.
Hi, my name is Juan. I am in 7th grade at Salmon Creek Middle School. Thank you for the opportunity to speak today. I deeply believe that everyone can and should speak up for climate justice, especially education leaders. For example, last December, we had a Zoom Meeting with the Executive Director of the California Association of School Psychologists or (CASP). In just a few minutes she told us she was interested in bringing a climate action resolution to the next board meeting. We were so excited. Three months later, in March, CASP did pass a climate action resolution. That proves my point that it is not that hard to speak up for climate action.
Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond did a fantastic job in speaking up today. All education leaders, all 1,000 school boards in California can easily pass a climate action resolution. If CASP and Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond have spoken up for climate justice, all education leaders can. This will send a powerful message to Congress and also to us students who have deal with climate-related disasters every year. Thank you.
Sabine’s Statement: 237
My name is Sabine W_________, I’m in 7th grade and climate change has been a defining feature in my life. I have had countless adults praise my climate activism and tell me that my generation will be the solution. However, no one in my generation should have that weight on their shoulders. I have watched floods, droughts and fires all in a few years. I have watched education leaders claim to support my generation and then fail to change their actions, words, or principles
The American Academy of Pediatrics said in their 2015 policy statement that “failure to take prompt, substantive action would be an act of injustice to all children.” That was 4 years ago. This spiral of climate silence that includes most educational leaders is allowing national and global climate neglect.
We all know that denying the climate crisis is dangerous. Members of Congress commit child neglect by understanding the consequences and still failing to act. This is an abuse of power at the very least.
This is why Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond’s statement is so important.
All education leaders must speak up to help end this injustice. We are calling for a change. Your words and actions will now, will make a difference for generations to come. Thank you.
Good morning trustees, my name is Lola Guthrie. I am a sophomore at Credo High School and a co-founder of Schools for Climate Action.
I want to be completely honest: when I thought about what I might say today, I had so much anger and sadness that I could hardly thank adults for simply speaking up about the climate crisis. As someone who was born into a world already on its way toward disaster, it is impossible for me to imagine how adults can justify remaining silent about it while also working so hard to support students in other ways. You can’t protect or support students without confronting the greatest threat of our times.
I was in this room with my family exactly one year ago. We were in the midst of a climate-related wildfire then, just as we are now. We asked the California State Board of Ed to speak up for climate justice. Nothing happened.
Four months later, the National School Boards Association considered a climate resolution but they were unwilling to even use the words “climate change” in it. How am I supposed to have hope about the future when 90,000 school board members in the country won’t even admit to the reality of this climate crisis?
I have to wonder if the California State Board of Education had spoken up when we first asked (in November of 2017), whether the NSBA would have done the right thing and simply stated the truth.
Some people hope that the NSBA will find the courage to act. But I think that it shouldn’t take courage to simply say “climate change hurts America’s schools and students.”
Dr Linda Darling-Hammond, thank you for speaking up for climate justice. I hope that members of the California School Boards Association, the National School Boards Association, and the National Association of School Psychologists will be inspired by your powerful example.
There are many things that I find difficult. Watching my little sister choose what to put in her evacuation bag is difficult. Driving away from my house and not knowing if it will be there when I return is difficult. Watching a fire truck pass with its sirens on and not letting panic seize my chest is difficult. But simply saying that climate change hurts students and that Congress should act is easy. All education leaders can take this simple step. And together it would send a powerful signal.
The following statements were given at a press conference outside the State Department of Education on 11.6.19 immediately following the statements during the board meeting:
Hi, my name is Hope and I am a 7th grader at Salmon Creek school. This past year I have been in the climate action club, and I am here to tell you that climate change is real. We need to act now. We need Congress to act on these resolutions and to help address the climate crisis. We also need all of you to act and we hope that all education leaders speak up with us. Without your help, it will be too late to make a change. We need to come to the fact that our planet will burn without us-- the problem-- fixing it.
This past week, I got evacuated due to the Kincade fire. It was just two blocks away from my house because it had gotten so big. This is no doubt a climate-related issue. I am only 12 years old, and I already have anxiety when I smell smoke. I also got evacuated from the Tubbs fire. I will not deal with this any longer. My generation should not have to deal with this at such a young age. All of my classmates will say the same thing-- end. Climate. Change. Education leaders, you can not be silent. We need your voice. You have so much power to help. This is not just about politics-- it’s about well-being and the Earth.
Fiona, word count: 287---6th grader
Note: Fiona lost a baby tooth immediately preceding her statement.
Hi, my name is Fiona and I am advocating for action on climate change. I have grown up in a world full of the privileges, like living in the redwoods, and I would hate to see them go. Floods, fires, and other ‘natural’ disasters could cause a massive redwood extinction. But the thing is these disasters aren't natural anymore, they are unnatural because this time the climate crisis is not natural, and the climate crisis is a major cause of these disasters. I would hate to see my beloved redwood forests go extinct and to be one of the few people on earth to haved lived among them. Coastal redwoods are only located on the west coast of the United States, that means in comparison to oaks or pines there must be way fewer of them. I would hate to see so many unique habitats go to waste just because not enough people are brave enough to speak up about the climate crisis.
Just last week most if not all of the people in our school were evacuated from the Kincade Fire. Do you understand the kind of stress that causes?! The climate-related Kincade Fire has kept us out of school for a week and has burnt 77,758 Acres! People could have died. The Tubbs Fire alone killed 22 people, that was two years ago, and in that year, 44 people died in fires. We have held meetings, written emails, and written speeches yet Congress has not taken climate change seriously. We need your help, education leaders. Please help us get Congress’ attention and move Congress to act on climate.
I want to live in a world where kids don’t have to fight for their rights, I want to live in a world where kids can just focus on their life not the problems caused by the generations before them.
Sakina- word count: 195 time: 1:08---6th grader
So, you want to hear why we think you need to speak up, why we think education leaders need to stop letting the teeter totter balance undecidedly between acting on the climate crisis or not, and just hop on our side. Here’s why, the climate crisis is already affecting many people, including almost everyone at my school. The climate-related Kincade fire caused over 200 thousand people to evacuate and that is just a small portion of what climate neglect has done! Yet still, even though the adults have done the most climate damage, the adults are still the ones with the most power. So in other words, we need you! We can both, adults and kids, speak up, write speeches, and go to marches, but either way adults always have the final say. Adults still have the power to say what will and will not happen. Adults have the power to vote and elect politicians who will or will not do something to protect our climate. So even though us kids have brain power and reasoning, we still need you,adults, and especially education leaders, to speak up for climate justice. We need you to really think about this, think about all the factors, look at all the science and just accept it, climate change is real! Don’t just use out of date excuses to keep us from breaking the barrier. Thank you for your time, and hopefully all education leaders will decide to speak up for climate justice soon, just like Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond has done today!
Keira Word count:224 time: 1.18----6th grader
Hi everyone! My name is Keira and I am a sixth grade student in Sonoma County. First, I like to thank board president Linda Darling-Hamond for inviting our class to this meeting. We are honored. I first became aware of this climate crisis in fourth grade, not as a subject, but as an occasional mention. I only really started advocating for climate in late fifth grade, when it was becoming a more and more controversial issue. The reason I fight is because I am extremely frustrated that Congress and our current national leaders are not acknowledging, let alone acting on this climate crisis. Everyday without progress on this issue is a day wasted. It is a day without purpose, precious time wasted on the petty arguments that so often consume our lives. Nevertheless, we must remember that the fight is not over. If we find it in ourselves to change our lifestyle and commit to our planet, we might still have a chance. All we need you to do, education leaders, is to speak up. That will be a huge first step. There are 90,000 school board members in the country and they could help move Congress to act to protect us.
The schools for climate action campaign has continuously sent clear signals to Congress that this is a crisis and it needs to be addressed immediately. However, the people our country elected to be leaders and govern our nation are not acting on climate change. And very few education leaders are acknowledging this terrible neglect of entire future generations. You can do better, education leaders. Please follow the lead of Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond and speak up for climate action. Thank You!
Elka Word Count: 169 Time: 1:00---6th grader
Hi, my name is Elka and I am 11 years old. I want education leaders to advocate on the Climate Crisis. This is affecting kids education. Within the first year I moved to Sebastopol the Tubbs fire and flooding occurred, forcing families to stay home or evacuate. It is not natural for such a quantity of rain to occur even in winter and is directly related to the Climate Crisis. There has also been unnaturally high temperatures related to or caused by climate change. The intensity of many of the fires is increased by the excessive heat.
Fires have happened more recently as well. This is our third day back to school after being mandatorily evacuated for a little less than a week.
School provides education, community, and a sense of security for me. Missing school due to natural disasters is stressful and scary. I personally was infuriated that the Kincade fire was blowing towards my home and yet people are still denying that the Climate Crisis is real. To ignore the climate crisis is neglect. Thank you Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond for speaking up about the climate crisis. All education leaders can follow your lead.
Hi, my name is Tatiana and I am a 13 year old who lives in Sebastopol California. I’m here because I believe that we can make a difference, and that being here will push education leadersyou all to help start that. To me the climate crisis we are all experiencing is huge, it's terrifying and its urgent. Just over a week ago, I was sitting in my climate advocacy class writing emails to education leaders, when one of my classmates had gotten an email from the Executive Director of the National Association of School Psychologists stating that the National Association of School Psychologists was not going to speak up on the climate crisis because it would affect their reputation.
We received this email sitting inside a classroom not being able to be outside without covering our mouths with our shirts because of the heavy smoke. This wasn't the only part of the Kincade Fire fire that had affected us. I had to evacuate from my home at 4:00 in the morning not knowing I would ever see my house again. Not knowing if I would be able to come home to my bed and my piano which has been passed down for 4 generations. This affected my mental state very much. We need you all education leaders to speak up to help end climate neglect make a change and to stand for our health and safety. Others education leaders and mental health professional have madewill a stand and spoken up.do something and when If you remain silent don’t thats whats going to hurt your reputation so please, help us save our planet and our futures.
Hi am Rylee I am 12 years old, and go to Salmon Creek School and am involved in our climate advocacy class. I do work in class to help raise awareness about the climate crisis. It will affect the earth and the wellness of generations to come if we do not fix this problem. To help fix this problem all education leaders can help raise awareness and ask for climate justice. There are many ways to help fix the climate crisis, but we need more people to help fix it. This is where you can help. There are 90,000 school board members in the country. Right now, only about 400 had spoken up calling for climate action to protect students. Imagine if just 10% of them spoke up for climate action. That would send such a powerful signal to Congress to act on climate change. Please raise awareness about climate change and speak up about climate justice, just like Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond has done today. Thank you!
Mariah Lander, parent and school board member at Harmony Union School District---video link
Hello, My name is Mariah Lander and I am a member of the Board of Trustees at Harmony Union School District and the parent of a very concerned 7th grade student who spends much of her free time speaking up for climate justice.
I am here today to urge parents, teachers and students, who feel the direct effect of the climate crisis to reach out to your school boards and urge them to pass a non-partisan climate action resolution now. There are many easy to use resources that can be found at Schools For Climate Action.org. I urge you to send an email to your board members, or attend a board meeting and let your education leaders know you want them to pass a climate resolution that will signal to Congress that we will no longer accept climate neglect.
Together we can actively work to break climate silence. Not only will these resolutions help move Congress to ACT on climate change, they will also help create a context of active hope to help students face climate harm and bear the climate burden with resilience.
I can remember the time when I stood outside on a fall evening enjoying the hot dry Diablo winds whipping over the hills where we live. I remember the feeling of power from the electricity in the air, but I do not remember fear.
Now for the last several years when the off shore winds start blowing I do feel fear. Fear and anger. Fear of the fires that have already devastated our communities twice in two years and anger that my child is living in a time where anxiety over the earth’s future is part of her daily worries.
As one of the 90,000 elected school board members—-the only elected officials with a singular focus on the future success and well-being of young people, I must speak up. Silence from education leaders prevents Congress from understanding the full impacts of their climate neglect. Climate change harms kids, so Congress should act boldly and quickly to limit this harm. No education leader should have any trouble stating these words publicly.
So today, most strongly, as a parent as well as a school board member, I am asking the California School Boards Association, the National School Boards Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of School Superintendents to listen to us and do your part to end climate neglect by Congress.
California School Boards Association, you could quickly pass an assertive climate action resolution at your December 2019 General Assembly, just like Colorado Association of School Boards did at their October General Assembly.
National School Boards Association, you had an opportunity to speak up for climate justice at your March 2019 General Assembly. You considered a climate action resolution, but a last minute revision by the Florida Delegation stripped it of all mention of climate change, turning it into a “natural disaster” resolution instead. The NSBA had an opportunity to give accurate feedback to Congress about the consequences of the climate crisis, but instead changed the words so as to avoid making Members of Congress who favor climate neglect uncomfortable. This silence from education leaders, who should be speaking up to protect kids from harm, directly enables Congressional climate neglect.
So CSBA, NSBA, NASP, and NASS, I call on you to join with my daughter, with the Salmon Creek Climate Advocacy Class students, with my Harmony Union School board, with the Sonoma County School Board, with the National Black Council of School Board Members, the National Hispanic Council of School Board Members, with the California Association of School Psychologists, with the entire Colorado Association of School Boards, with more than 100 other education organizations in 14 states, and with more than 70 state and national organizations from the medical field, and with the California Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond: Speak up for climate action to protect students. You do not need to wait for more young people to ask you to do so. No education leader, as mandated reporters, should be a silent witness to this climate crisis. You have the power to call directly on Congress to act quickly and boldly on climate, to protect our students.
The window for action is still open. The climate action Congress takes immediately, will benefit all generations to come.
June---12 year old: Video Link
Brandon Blizman, a parent from Butte County, California and a Schools for Climate Action supporter. He and his two elementary school kids have advocated in DC with Schools for Climate Action. They have also successfully advocated for resolutions from Chico Unified School District, Las Plumas High School Student Council, and Inspire Charter School Governing Board. Oroville USD may also pass a climate action resolution in November thanks in part to their advocacy.
Hi my name is Brandon Blizman and I am parent of two bright young children in the public school system in Butte County CA.
85-90 minutes. That's how long my commute was here today. That's two episodes of my favorite Netflix show that I happen to binge watch.
85-90 minutes, that's the average length of a School Board meeting.
85-90 minutes was all it took for the education leaders of Butte County to speak up about Climate Change and pass Climate Resolution. You see these people witnessed first hand the devastating affects of the Climate Crisis in the aftermath of the deadliest wildfire in California's history. Last year these education leaders of Butte County sprung into action to accommodate thousands of displaced school children.
Soon after, that they spoke up for climate neglect ensuring that environmentally sound practices are followed in their School Districts. Speaking up for Climate Justice sends a message to the students they watch over, that they care about students well being.
85-90 minutes was all it took for 4 different Student body groups on local campuses to express and voice their concerns about the Climate Crisis thru their own Resolutions.
85-90 minutes. That's the amount of time I spend doing outreach to education leaders each month volunteering as a Climate Advocate. It is much easier and straightforward than you think to engage your local school boards and city leaders.
I know you could find 85-90 minutes out of your busy schedule to lend your voice to the Climate Crisis just as I have.
85-90 minutes is all it takes.
If you are moved to take action to help education leaders find their climate justice voices, here are 5 things anyone can do to help the Schools for Climate Action Campaign:
Thank you for being a second responder to the most recent climate-disaster striking my community and impacting my students.