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San Diego Unified Passes First-of-its-Kind Youth Climate Action Resolution

San Diego Unified Passes First-of-its-Kind Youth Climate Action Resolution
Posted on 09/11/2019

San Diego Unified Students Joined SanDiego350 and District Leaders in Rally for Youth Climate Action

San Diego Unified Students Joined SanDiego350 and District Leaders in Rally for Youth Climate Action on Sept. 10, 2019.

September 11, 2019

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego Unified Board of Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to pass an historic Youth Climate Action resolution, in support of students participating in the Sept. 20-27 Global Climate Strike.

Board Vice President John Lee Evans joined Board Trustee Richard Barrera in supporting students during a rally with students and SanDiego350* held at the Eugene Brucker Education Center.

“We are grateful for the support and encouragement that San Diego Unified is providing local students who decide to participate in the walkouts,” said Masada Disenhouse, SanDiego350 Executive Director.

San Diego High School Sophomore Elea Castiglione said as a young person, it is important to share her voice, and the voices of others.

“It's important that our voices are not only heard, but lifted up,” Castiglione said. “We have had the opportunity to stand up for what we believe in.”

Youth Climate Action Rally

San Diego Unified students have been leading the charge in confronting global warming through participation in "Green Teams," recycling clubs, "Planet Protectors," and other student groups. The "Love Food Not Waste" Program has prevented 202,775 pounds of prepared food from ending up in landfills, provided 169,120 meals to the hungry, reduced food costs, and eliminated 110,107 pounds of CO2 gas emissions.

“I am speaking tonight as a representative of my generation who feels it is my civic duty to address the climate crisis as what it should be - our first priority,” Mission Bay High Senior, Vanessa Cascante, said.

The district's "Dream Big Solutions for a Sustainable Future" plan ensures district climate action and climate consciousness. San Diego Unified's Climate Action Plan commits to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035.

The district is meeting climate goals by retrofitting schools using Prop 39, the Clean Energy Jobs Act, with more efficient air conditioning and lighting systems. More than 29,000 lighting fixtures have been converted to LED, offsetting 1,300 metric tons of CO2 gas emissions. Projected District solar energy production by the end of 2020 will offset 8,100 metric tons of CO2.

Currently, the district has completed eight school solar projects in just the first phase of the solar energy program; there are currently 13 schools being designed or in construction in the second phase, and 14 more schools are planned in the third phase of the solar program. These solar projects will save the district approximately $3.6 million per year on energy expenses.

“These projects help reduce greenhouse gasses,” San Diego Unified Energy Utilities Program Supervisor Darin Vey said. “They also redirect energy savings back into education, where the money belongs.”

Through Propositions S & Z, San Diego Unified has also funded the construction of hundreds of acres of parks and green spaces through the joint-use partnership with the City of San Diego.

The district has also reduced litter and plastic waste by nearly 4.7 million pieces through the replacement of utensil packets with individual forks, spoons, and napkins.

In 2017, San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) named San Diego Unified as the Energy Champion for Achievements in Energy Efficiency. In April 2019, SDG&E also named the District's Ocean Discovery Institute in City Heights the Energy Champion for Efficiency.

Superintendent Cindy Marten plans to attend the rallies at local schools on September 20.

“We are excited to join students in this climate action rally,” Superintendent Cindy Marten said. “We also want to make sure our students are safe and do not leave our school sites for their safety and security.”

To read more about solar projects at San Diego Unified, visit http://fpcprojects.sandi.net. To read more about volunteering or working with SanDiego350, visit https://sandiego350.org/. To read more about the local climate strike, visit https://climatewalkoutsd.org.

*SanDiego350 is a local volunteer organization working to build a movement to prevent the worst impacts of climate change and climate injustice.