Letter to the editor: Change schools to fix climate

I find the current discussion about schools and closure frustrating. The “problem” trying to be solved is short-sighted at best. Our perspectives shape how we solve problems and “our” perspective on this issue seems to boil down to money. To that end, I’d like to point out that no one’s property taxes are going to go down as a result of any choice we make. Quite the opposite — our taxes will be going up. The state may offer us more money as an incentive, but ultimately all options mean spending more, and whether it be from the state’s pool or locally, it’s still our money.
An investment of this size requires careful consideration to all it will effect. Money, equity, community, and feelings are not all of what’s at stake.
There’s an elephant in the room. It’s been here for some time. Decades.
Climate change.
All of my adult life we have been warned of dire consequences and the need for action and yet … Ultimately we have done nothing. Baby steps are a joke when the finish line is hundreds of miles away and we only have a short time to get there.
The agreed upon global narrative is that “we” have until 2030 to cut our carbon emissions in half and until 2050 to be at net zero emissions. From what I’ve learned about climate change this is a gross understatement. Mass extinction is already underway, there is enough carbon already locked in our atmosphere to exceed 2 degrees of warming, and trends are no longer linear, they are exponential. The U.N. panel of climate scientists has said we need radical change in every facet of life to cut emissions.
So, with this perspective in mind, I ask: What does our school system look like at net zero emissions? How do we get at least halfway there within 10 years?
Bigger still, how do we cut all of our emissions in half with the intent of getting to net zero? In our households, at work and how we get there, food, energy and so on?
It is on all of us enact change at every level of society. Voting, signing petitions, attending rallies, and having hard conversations is about all we can do at a federal level. The state level is similar but we have more say. Our local communities are where we can all make a difference. Advocate globally, act locally.
If we are truly discussing an investment of $1 million all the way up to a bond of $60 million, it had better take climate change into consideration.
The claim is that the status quo is not sustainable. But to date, the sustainability discussed is that of finance. I would argue that our status quo is not sustainable due to climate.
We need to take a step back and consider the future we face. Climate change will affect everything, it already is. Cutting emissions will affect everything. Coping with what we have done thus far changes everything. We must make choices accordingly. Our future and that of our children depend on it.
Solutions to the same problem look very different depending on perspective.
It’s time to change ours.
Giles Hoyler

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