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All students can play a role in ­climate change

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All students can play a role in ­climate change
Mt. Diablo Elementary teacher Rebecca Carcamo help convince MDUSD board to pass a Climate Change Action Act. Carcamo and her daughter will be at the Sept. 21 rally supporting the Global Climate Strike in Walnut Creek. (photo: Tamara Steiner)

Fourth graders at local schools are learning the usual things this year – advanced math, California history – and a little something else: how fragile ecosystems work.

It may not seem earth shattering, but it literally is, says Mt. Diablo Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Rebecca Carcamo.

“It’s one of the first ways we introduce kids to the idea of how important the earth is to our lives,” she says.

Carcamo is a passionate advocate for climate control and one of the local educators who last spring helped convince the Mt. Diablo Unified School District Board of Education to pass a Climate Change Action Act. It called on Congress “to take swift and effective action on climate change, such as enacting a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend, to protect current and future students.”

MDUSD joined hundreds of other school districts from throughout the nation to join Schools for Climate Action, a national movement urging Congress to make climate change information a priority in children’s education.

The district says it already supports climate change by such efforts as:

  • Encouraging environmental K-12 education and climate science.
  • Creating edible gardens on campuses and utilizing them in placed-based teaching.
  • Reducing reliance on fossil fuels by installing solar panels across the district, generating 11 megawatts of clean energy annually.
  • Installation of a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) program, replacing aged equipment with high-efficiency systems.
  • Implementation of LED lighting to reduce energy consumption.
  • District-wide installation of water filters to support clean water, along with implementation of low-flow fixtures and water filtration systems (bottle fillers).

“For schools and teachers, it’s important to acknowledge (climate change) exists,” Carcamo says.

Carcamo and her seventh-grade daughter Sophia spoke at the school board meeting, and they will also be on hand in Walnut Creek on Saturday, Sept. 21, for a rally to support the Global Climate Strike.

Attendees can learn how to make significant impacts on this issue facing the nation and the planet.
Global strike days are set for Sept. 20 and Sept. 27 around the world and here in the Bay Area. Major marches and events are expected in San Francisco and elsewhere in the region.

Swedish teenage inspires strike

Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teenager, inspired the Global Climate Strike. She used school strikes in Stockholm to focus attention on climate issues. Millions of young people and adults in Europe, the United States and elsewhere have walked out of their jobs or schools to publicize the threat posed by climate change and to demand an end to the age of fossil fuel.

The Walnut Creek rally will start at 1 p.m. at Civic Park, 1375 Civic Dr. Speakers will include Rev. Will McGarvey of the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County’s Interfaith East Bay Climate Action Network, local political figures and students involved with climate change groups Earth Guardians, Youth Versus Apocalypse and Sunrise Movement.

“The Community Climate Rally in Walnut Creek is a call to action for people in the East Bay to learn, engage and take action on this critical issue,” says rally organizer Jackie Mann. “The environmental fair following the rally will connect people with organizations where they can make a difference for the future of our children and our world.”

The local rally is sponsored by 350 activist groups, including East Bay Climate Action Network, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, the Interfaith Climate Action Network of the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, the Democrats of Rossmoor Club and Sustainable Rossmoor.

Related story: East Bay students walk out, join global climate strike

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