Letter to the editor: One year later, strikers demand an update on the ICCSD Climate Resolution

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South East Junior High students hold a sign reading “Solar Schools” during a strike outside the Iowa City Community School District offices, Friday, April 26, 2019. — Jason Smith/Little Village

By the Iowa City Student Climate Strikers

Dear School Board Members,

Researchers announced today that the last year — July 2019 to June 2020 — has been the hottest year on record, as heat waves and flooding rage across the globe. As Yale University wrote recently, “COVID-19 is the quiz, climate change is the final exam.” With Greta Thunberg and our global strike network, we continue to strike weekly, even during COVID and summer vacation.

One year ago, you passed the Climate Resolution. We are writing to see how you have followed up on your resolution promises.

For example, in January, Board member Ms. Godwin told us that ICCSD had two solar PPA proposals in the works. Did that really happen? Then, in March and May, Board member Mr. Claussen emailed us that more solar PPAs would be pursued. Did any of those solar PPAs ever happen? As we all know, it is free for solar companies to do an assessment for solar PPAs, and quick. It takes a week. In 2011, Zach Wahls asked ICCSD to do a solar PPA, then community groups did it in 2015, and we did it in 2018 and 2019 and 2020, repeatedly. One year after your resolution, how many solar PPA proposals has ICCSD considered?

Specifically, from your resolution:

  • How has the District developed curricular and educational opportunities in areas such as climate change, climate literacy and climate advocacy?
  • How has the District developed initiatives to increase recycling?
  • How has the District developed facilities and operational priorities and projects for additional energy efficiency in the areas of construction, maintenance, landscaping and transportation?
  • How has the District developed initiatives to increase plant-based and lower meat recipe menu planning and food waste reduction programs?
  • How much more renewable energy has the District added in the last year?

As you know, six months ago we raised concerns that ICCSD was misleading the community by claiming District actions would cut CO2 emissions by 45 percent. Those projected reductions are based completely on MidAmerican wind projections, not ICCSD actions, and major environmental groups like the Sierra Club continue to note that MidAmerican still operates several coal power plants in Iowa. Everyone knows that. The Press-Citizen followed up on that.

Six months later, we hope ICCSD has truly followed up on its promises to be a leader in climate action.

Thank you for responding to our questions.

Massimo, Alex, Eliott, Ian and the Iowa City Climate Strikers

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