By Sarah Ranney
On Wednesday evening, the Fremont Board of Education voted unanimously to support the student-led Educational Response to the Climate Emergency, based on the Sierra Club SF Bay Chapter Climate Literacy Committee's model resolution.
Led by Fremont students Shreya Ramachandran (Fremont’s youth sustainability commissioner), Sriya Bairy, Srilakshmi Varma, and Rishi Gurjar, this is a significant achievement and a step towards ensuring that all Fremont students are equipped with an understanding of the Climate Emergency and what it means for them.
These student leaders adapted the committee’s model resolution to reflect the many existing policies and climate literacy programs already present in Fremont. They then worked over the course of six months to gain support from a broad range of community groups, educational institutions and environmental organizations, produced a petition with over 300 supporters, and widely engaged the community. The momentum they generated was seen at Wednesday’s board meeting where representatives of these organizations and members of the general public gave oral comment in support of the resolution and several more submitted written comments or wrote directly to the Board.
In passing the Resolution, the Fremont Board of Education commits the Fremont Unified School District to support a school and community wide effort to develop or adopt a pre-existing comprehensive climate change literacy program. To achieve this, the FUSD will review existing education initiatives and sustainability programs to coordinate with the new climate change literacy program, develop an implementation plan, and assist in mobilizing the education community to address the Climate Emergency.
The Sierra Club’s letter of support for this resolution states that as climate change represents a mortal threat to all of human society, it is critical that we equip all students with the knowledge and skills they will need to understand and respond effectively to the climate situation in order to shape a sustainable future for generations to come. As stated in the resolution, this means:
the causes of climate change;
its potential for harm;
what is required to avoid significant climate destabilization;
actions needed to ensure a livable future; and
- the key people and institutions involved in those actions.
This is an exciting achievement, and the work continues. If you want to get involved in advocating for Climate Literacy plans in your school district or independent school, please check out our Climate Literacy Committee’s webpage.
Sarah Ranney is the Chair of the Climate Literacy Committee of the Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter. Ernesto Pacheco and Scott Lewis were also integral to this effort.
Photo courtesy of Frances Denny for The Luupe, theluupe.com