Denver Board of Education passes student-initiated climate action policy  

Thanks to DPS Students for Climate Action core members Gabe Nagel, Mariah Rosensweig, Amelia Fernández Rodríguez, Layla Jurow, Caroline Brown, and Maya Kitei for showing up for the climate week after week, for over a year.

Thanks to their efforts, the Denver Board of Education unanimously passed what will become the sixth of the district’s moral pillars that guide every action, so called “ends policies”. This Climate Action Ends Policy reads: “DPS shall be a national leader in establishing an organizational culture anchored in sustainability, climate action, and environmental justice in both the conservation of natural resources and in minimizing the carbon footprint of DPS’ practices.”

The goal is culture change, and we could see that change among Board members last night. Even though it took over a year to get their full attention, they were so happy and supportive to pass this policy. Said core supporter on the Board, Director Carrie Olson, “This is an example of a time where we [the Board] are gonna get it right, thank you to the students.” Director Scott Baldermann, the other core supporter for this policy, said “I have a lot more hope for addressing climate change due to this generation of students.” 

The district’s sustainability team, led by the essential-to-our-success, super-amazing LeeAnn Kittle and with full support from Superintendent Alex Marrero, has hired two firms to develop a Sustainability Management Plan to get as close to specific goals suggested by the students as possible. These goals include: reach 100% clean electricity by 2030, reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions by at least 90% by 2050, and prioritize sustainability actions in schools and communities facing greater inequity and/or environmental injustice. The Sustainability Management Plan is expected to be complete by December. As Gabe Nagel said, “This is really just the beginning of making DPS a national, maybe even an international leader, in sustainability.”