“The American President” was a film done almost 30 years ago, in which climate change and gun control were the main issues to be addressed. Clearly, in “real life” our government has not successfully addressed either. Too many industries make too much money in both, so their campaign support will be for politicians who help them maintain their profitability.
However, climate change problems are being felt more directly, and a large number of students have initiated what I might interpret as “consumer pressure” to address the climate change problem. This could be a model for achieving essential change beyond just schools. Comments afterwards.
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Students Across the U.S. Launch
Green New Deal for Schools
September 27, 2023
Students at more than 50 high schools across the United States are launching a Green New Deal for Schools campaign, with the hope of getting climate policies enacted that will require school districts to add climate education to their curriculums and plan for climate disasters.
The ultimate goal of the initiative, organized by the youth climate justice organization Sunrise Movement, is for federal legislation to be enacted to implement climate education policies in schools nationwide.
17-year-old Adah Crandall, one of the heads of the campaign, as reported by The Hill, said …
“The Green New Deal for Schools will
transform public schools in America
to face the climate crisis and ensure
all students receive safe and high-
quality education – no matter their
zip code or the color of their skin.
“Our generation is on the front lines
of this fight and it’s time for our
school districts to take real action.”
The Green New Deal for Schools campaign could involve walkouts, “teach-ins” and petitions to school boards, Sunrise Movement organizers told the Guardian. Crandall said, as The Guardian reported …
“We are prepared to do whatever it takes.
The far right has waged this battle against
school boards and against public educa-
tion, and they put a lot of time and money
into trying to do things like ban books and
prevent us from learning the truth about
the climate crisis. And all of these things,
are happening while the climate crisis
is raging outside of our windows.”
The campaign is demanding that school administrators prepare extreme weather disaster plans, make school infrastructure — like buildings and buses — more climate resilient, updated to run entirely on clean energy and safe and non-toxic, as well as provide students with free lunches made from local ingredients.
The initiative is also demanding that curricula in schools reflect the current, science-based reality of the climate crisis.
The Green New Deal for Schools list of demands said, according to a press release from the Sunrise Movement …
“Students must be taught a compre-
hendsive climate justice curriculum
— developed by scientists, educators,
and students, not lobbyists and poli-
ticians — that helps them under-
stand our history and prepares
them to face the climate crisis.”
School districts all over the country have adopted policies and guidelines to prevent science-based teaching about climate change. Aster Chau, a 15-year-old and organizer for Green New Deal for Schools and student at the Academy at Palumbo in Philadelphia, as reported by The Guardian, said …
“Being a youth right now is really
scary. It’s really scary knowing
that I’m underage, and can’t vote
to elect the people making these
big decisions about our futures,
and not having a say in that.”
Chau said, according to the Sunrise Movement …
“The Republican Party knows they
don’t have the youth vote. They’ve
spent the last few years antagon-
izing students and teachers — ero-
ding trust in public education in
order to distract from all of the
problems they’ve created in our
society. Today, we say no more.
These are our schools, our futures.”
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The action initiated by these students may be more impactful than just influencing what happens in schools. As the students are the “consumers” of education, their movement may be the start of widespread consumer pressure to address the rapidly increasing problems from climate change. Just as consumer pressure led to virtually all supermarkets now having an array of truly organic foods available, it may be the vehicle we all need to literally keep Earth as a habitable planet. Adding D’s comments …
“Children are the ones who pushed recycling to the center of conversations. They changed the dialogue from “Should we?” to “We need to!” recycle. Now, children are becoming aware that some adults are trying to hide the truth about their future. The children are demanding a voice in their future.
“We see it as necessary to force adults to recognize the fragile state that Earth is in. We are hoping that their voice can be heard and will allow change to happen.”
For years … I’ve been immersed in and enjoying the benefits of Sustainable Living. We use no fossil fuels for home or car, and don’t deplete any other resources, such as water, that Earth provides. And we found it’s not only less expensive to live this way, but we’re actually enjoying a better quality-of-life experience. Just as students led the move for recycling, let’s hope they can achieve the same results for tackling climate change.