After two years of collaboration with local environmental activists, including a student-led Green Schools Campaign, the Long Beach Unified School District has adopted a Green School Energy and Sustainability Policy that sets specific goals for limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
LBUSD’s Board of Education approved the policy at its regular meeting this week.
“This is the most intentional commitment to environmental sustainability at a structural level, I think in District history,” Board of Education President Megan Kerr said, “and that’s a big deal.”
Poly High School senior Diana Michaelson, who helped to found the Green Schools Campaign at her campus, joined her classmates and other supporters to celebrate the new policy at the Board meeting.
“Two years, six days ago the campaign was founded,” Michaelson said. “It’s been a long, long journey. Seeing our comments that we put in the draft, having that be put into the document, is just amazing. Thank you for working with us.”
The policy includes a specific timeline for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, in alignment with current goals from the state of California. LBUSD, the city’s largest employer, will transition to zero-emissions vehicles and machinery as rapidly as construction replacement/renewal cycles and budgets allow.
As part of the policy, LBUSD also is launching a Climate Crisis and Sustainability Taskforce, made up of seven or more community members, staff and students. The taskforce will meet regularly and report to the school board annually. The group will be tasked with setting yearly goals and monitoring the progress of policy implementation.
“This is an ongoing project,” Michaelson said. “This is just the beginning of the race. I’m really excited for today, and I really appreciate all of your support.”