School Sustainability – The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

Illustrated by Sydney Fener

Irecently In September, members of the school community were invited to complete a visions survey, reflecting on what we could continue, change and create as our leaders reimagine our school’s visions. I was eager to respond, excited to put environmental stewardship and sustainability efforts at the forefront of our priorities. But when the administration shared the survey results in early February, I was disappointed that climate and sustainability were not a priority. If this accurately reflects our values ​​as a community, we must strive harder to fulfill our stated mission. Joy, educational excellence and purpose beyond ourselves are meaningless without a safe and healthy future for the planet.

Climate change, pollution and loss of biodiversity are man-made problems whose consequences are already being felt today. I understand that these issues can be easy to ignore. The wealth and privileges enjoyed by most members of the school community allow us to live with little more than the discomfort of increasingly hot summers. For hundreds of millions around the world, however, the situation is already costing lives and creating climate refugees. Unfortunately, the scientific consensus is that we are on track for things to get worse.

It’s easy to sit back and say we’re not doing enough, but we should ask ourselves how we can do better. On February 8, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) passed a climate literacy resolution to address climate change and environmental injustice, setting concrete goals to implement meaningful discussions on all topics. With the incredible resources and teachers at our school, we could adopt a similar program. We are all tired this year, but being exhausted today cannot be used as an excuse to avoid teaching our students about the urgency of the current environmental situation and the steps to take to avoid some of the most serious consequences we face. are facing.

Obviously, no school can solve the global environmental crisis, although I think we can be leaders in modeling what responsible schools should look like. A school is nothing but an investment, and serious thinking about the future must include environmental protection and sustainability on campus.

We’ve already become more diverse and inclusive, and I’m proud to be part of a community that continues to support this important work. Because environmental injustice disproportionately impacts communities of color, environmental stewardship must be part of the diversity, equity and inclusion work we are committed to.

The sustainable design of River Park is also a big step towards demonstrating our commitment, and now is the time to bring this mindset to our already existing campuses. Conserving water, transitioning to renewable energy, and reducing plastic and other waste are achievable goals. Students deserve to see that their school recognizes the urgency of environmental crises, strives to model solutions within our community, and prepares them for the challenges ahead.

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