School electrification can make a big difference in carbon emissions. Not only are school buildings contributing to the 40% of emissions from buildings in Washington State, but diesel school buses also pollute the air inside them and out. Therefore, a focus on decarbonizing schools and student transportation will have the dual benefit of tackling climate change and improving student health.
Several environmental organizations collaborated with Seattle School Board, administration, PTA, students and other community groups to draft a resolution that Seattle Public Schools be fossil-fuel free by 2040; this was passed in February. LWVSC is following the example of the Seattle Schools, whose Board, administration, PTA, students and other community groups joined together to draft a resolution that Seattle Public Schools be fossil-fuel free by 2040.
We have joined a coalition of Snohomish County groups that are proposing that Snohomish County school districts a similar adopt resolutions – while recognizing that each district has unique needs and timelines. The biggest problem facing the effort is financing.
• Educate the public, district personnel, school board members, students, community groups and legislators.
• Create a broad coalition whose members are willing to meet with, write, email or call legislators, speak at school board meetings, talk individually with school administrators, and more.
• Work directly with school administrations to adopt implementation plans.
Here are some benefits of clean energy in our schools:
• Student Health and Performance - Studies have shown
that removal of fossil fuels from school heating, water
heating and meal prep can reduce school days missed
due to asthma, which causes more than 13 million school
absences per year and disproportionately impacts lowincome
youth and children of color.
• Save money - Energy efficiency measures alone
can save US schools $2 billion a year. Solar and
wind energy is cheaper than ever. Battery storage is
• Enhance Community Resilience – Schools are one of the most common locations for emergency shelter and services. Clean electricity can help school buildings maintain power during earthquakes and disasters exacerbated by climate change.
• Expand Educational Opportunities - Oncampus clean energy projects provide exciting real-world, project-based learning opportunities for classes in science, technology, engineering and math.
• Create Clean Jobs - The solar and wind industries employ 476,000 Americans and that number is
The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report makes it clear that we cannot wait for fossil fuel companies to voluntarily make the switch to clean energy. Recent ad campaigns still tout the benefits, for example, of gas stoves even in the face of evidence showing that their use contributes to significantly increased rates of asthma and many other health issues – particularly in children and members of marginalized communities. Since we know that corporations won’t do it, and our government hasn’t solved this problem yet, we must take grassroots action to keep fossil fuels in the ground.
Our children are our future. We need to equip them with every possible tool to face the existing challenges and those that are coming. Please join us--contact Nancy Johnson, Natural Resources Committee with questions or to get information on volunteering.