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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Long Beach, California, USA

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Long Beach, California, USA
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Diana2005



Registered: November 2021
City/Town/Province: Long Beach
Posts: 1
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In the City of Long Beach, my hometown, we are expecting over two feet of sea-level rise by 2050. This means that the bike path that I ride with my friends over the weekends will be submerged. This means that my middle school will quite literally be underwater. This means that the place where I was born and raised will be two feet underwater. Living in a coastal city, I am specifically attuned to the effects of climate change.


The International Panel on Climate Change predicts that sea levels will rise one meter in the next 100 years, and concluded that we must transition off of fossil fuels in the next 12 years to prevent catastrophic damage from climate change. The silver lining in this issue is that we know exactly how we can stop it. We know exactly what it takes to create a sustainable future. A move to renewables and using fewer fossil fuels would stop putting greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere.


That is exactly why I founded the Long Beach Green Schools Campaign (https://www.polygsc.com/), in August of 2020. One of my close friends had become a trained Climate Reality leader and suggested that I complete the summer course. So I did! After becoming a trained Climate Reality Leader, I met amazing youth activists from the LA Climate Reality Chapter. I also learned of a new endeavor they were working on called the International Green Schools Campaign, an initiative to assist students worldwide in transitioning their schools off fossil fuels. I was one of the first students to sign up with the campaign, and immediately got a group of students from my high school to work on transitioning my school district, Long Beach Unified (LBUSD) off of fossil fuels in the electricity sector by 2030, and in all other energy sectors (including HVAC, cookings, transportations) by 2040. Within weeks, my AP US History teacher agreed to help provide his insight as a teacher of LBUSD and work with us in achieving our goal.


One of the greatest struggles in starting this project was that I did not necessarily know what I was doing. As the first committed student-led group to join forces with the International Green Schools Campaign, there was no road map for us. Besides a basic understanding that fossil fuels are not sustainable, I had no idea how I could propose such a big change to the school district, and make it logistically sound.


I ended up reaching out to Sybil, a parent of LA Unified School District (LAUSD) students, and an avid member of the LA Climate Reality Project. Sybil was also a leading figure in helping pass a 100% Clean Energy Resolution at LAUSD in 2019. I thought that if LAUSD could do it, so could LBUSD! In fact, it isnít just the largest school district in California that committed to 100% clean energy by a 2030/2040 deadline, so has Salt Lake City Unified, Miami Unified, and San Diego schools have agreed. I emailed Sybil and we set up an introductory meeting. From there, I connected with Sierra Club, and their Ready for 100 Campaign. Since then, the campaign has also expanded across the school district, including middle and high school students from all corners of Long Beach. We continually meet with our Superintendent, numerous board members, and our facilities team. We continue our pressure, attending our Districtís Board Meetings every two weeks to provide public comment on why we students believe it is crucial for our district to transition off of fossil fuels. Weíve held community rallies and town halls, to inform the community of our goals and show the district that we are a committed group of students! We have met the city's water manager, energy resources manager, gotten the support of four city council members, spoken at community events, met with Long Beach (LB) groups such as LB 350, the LB Environmental Alliance, LB Gray Panthers, LB Rotary Club, and more.


After over a year of rallying for the district to adopt a clean energy resolution (which we have drafted), we got a commitment from the Facilities Director to work with us on editing and passing the resolution. This victory is an important step to committing the district to clean energy. But it is only one step. We look forward to continuing to work with our district to pass a meaningful resolution that will help create sustainable and equitable communities in Long Beach for generations to come.


As the founder and leader of this student-led initiative, that also works closely with parents and adult staff, I have had the opportunity to bring together many people who share a similar interest in environmental activism. Running this campaign, from the endless stream of emails and task of keeping our social media platforms up to date, to regularly updating our website (www.polygsc.com) and constant networking with district officials, I have had the opportunity to meet amazing and influential people, while simultaneously learning about the political systems of my city and school district and learning how to keep elected officials accountable to the health and safety of students and community members.
Date: November 24, 2021 ∑ Views: 47 ∑ File size: 23.2kb, 1166.0kb: 975 x 732 ∑
Hours Volunteered: 100
Volunteers: 50
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 12 to 50
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): City of Long Beach
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