San Diego Unified votes to create Climate Action Plan

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SAN DIEGO — Environmental activists and district parents showed up Tuesday in support of the San Diego Unified School District Board of Education’s new initiative to create a sustainability plan that’s been in the talks since late last year.

The board voted unanimously in support of creating a district-wide Climate Action Plan piggybacking off the city of San Diego’s resolution.

The Parent Teacher Association last year identified climate change as a children’s issue, with the school board adopting a resolution in December in support of the PTA Climate Change Initiative.

The school board voted to develop its own district-wide Climate Action Plan aligned with the goals outlined in the city’s plan.

A major goal identified by both groups is to reduce energy costs while increasing usage of sustainable energy sources.

The school district plans to partner with the city of San Diego on a feasibility study looking at alternative energy sources through a potential Community Choice Aggregation plan, district officials said.

If the district establishes Community Choice Aggregation, it would enable it to purchase energy from more sustainable resources such as solar or wind, which would help them achieve their goal of reaching 100 percent renewable energy by 2035.

Energy rates have gone up a little more than 49 percent since 2009, according to the district.

Like the city, the school district’s “Dream Big Solutions for a Sustainable Future” plan also aims to be “zero waste” and completely eliminate landfill waste generated by the district.

District parent Carol Kim brought her two children to the meeting to show support for the school board recognizing what she said is an urgency in needing to address climate change.

“This past week we saw Comic-Con,” Kim said. “Sometimes when we think of climate change, we think of it in terms of science fiction, but it’s very real.”

School district officials said they’ll continue to work on installing solar panels, making LED lighting conversions, purchasing local food and supporting school gardens, among other sustainability initiatives. District officials said SDUSD is also working to embed sustainability curriculum into everyday teaching.

Trustee Kevin Beiser said he believes the youngest students in the district stand to benefit the most from the Climate Action Plan.

“When some of the younger students grow up, they will get to live somewhere where the air will be clean to breathe and the water will be clean to drink,” Besier said.

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