A Win for Sustainable Schools as part of California Climate Investment Plan

California’s climate action law (AB32) includes an innovative market-based mechanism to lower greenhouse gas emissions called “cap and trade.” The California Air Resources Board, in collaboration with a number of state agencies, is organizing investment strategies for the next three years. In the first draft investment plan, schools were not included as investment priorities and were not eligible for most of the funding programs.

Today, December 17th, Katrina Ortiz from Green Schoolyards America and Deborah Moore from Green Schools Initiative spoke at the California Air Resources Board’s public hearing about their 2016-19 second draft investment plan. 

Katrina spoke first, emphasizing the enormous potential for schools to address climate issues today by updating their grounds, and in the future by teaching students about stewardship and the environment. 

Deborah ended her testimony by sharing drawings and reading a letter from 3rd graders about how they want a “future school”— including solar panels, trees, compost heaps and a car with flowers coming out of the tailpipe. She’s a tough act to follow, but it was amazing to see all of the different advocacy efforts at work. 

We’re proud to report that our schools coalition was well represented at this hearing in Sacramento. We were joined by Ian Padilla of Coalition for Adequate School Housingand Anna Ferrera of School Energy Coalition

The ARB board was engaged with our work, and in this second draft schools were included as potential recipients of ARB funds where they had not been previously. We hope that moving forward, ARB will find a way to consolidate grant applications so that the barriers to entry are lower to truly include schools in reducing our state’s greenhouse gas emissions.

California is one step closer towards schools that are healthier for students and also resilient to the environmental challenges facing us today.