Ahead of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, the Solana Beach School District board approved a resolution calling for the district to actively engage in and support environmental solutions to increase sustainability for its students and future generations.
At its virtual board meeting on April 16, board members unanimously approved the “Call to Climate Change Action, Sustainability, and Environmental Stewardship,” a resolution solidifying the district’s commitment to modeling environmental leadership and stewardship for all of its students, some of whom played an important role in its adoption.
“One of the most important values we can teach our students is to look for ways to make a positive difference in our community and in the world,” said SBSD President Julie Union. “We are incredibly proud of our proactive students and look forward to continued meaningful collaborations.”
For the past two years, students have come before the board to ask for environmental actions in their schools and for the district’s support in doing even more.
In 2019, a group of Skyline students called the Eco Otters came before the board and initiated the elimination of single-use plastic packets filled with sporks, straws and napkins at their school.
All district schools now offer individual spork, straw and napkin options without the plastic bags during lunchtime.
“The Eco Otters have so many amazing ideas on how to promote zero waste at Skyline,” said Skyline Principal Kim Pinkerton. “They are already working on a presentation to share with Superintendent Brentlinger upon our return to school.”
Solana Ranch’s Enviro Hawks have also joined forces with the Eco Otters and continue to work on sustainability practices and helping to educate their peers, including Zero Waste Lunch Days.
“I’m grateful for the steps that our board, district and student leaders are taking to reduce waste, protect our natural resources, and teach all students, staff and community how to be good stewards of the earth,” said Solana Ranch Principal Jerry Jones.
Earlier this year, Aaron D’Souza, a fourth-grade student at Solana Ranch, made a pitch to the school board to get rid of single-use plastic district-wide.
“I look forward to seeing the resolution in action after the pandemic is over, especially reducing the plastic in school lunches,” said Aaron. “Plastic is the number one problem.”
The resolution also calls for the district to: assure that new buildings and modernization projects use environmentally sensitive building materials; support collaborations with cities and outside agencies to create safe routes for students to bike and walk to school; pilot programs for waste reduction through recycling and composting; continue evaluating the child nutrition program by using more organic foods and less processed/packaged food; and embed sustainability education for students through next generation science standards and state-adopted curriculum.
“I am very pleased that the Solana Beach School District board and administration honored student voices. The board’s public commitment to reducing waste and safeguarding our precious resources will spur all of our schools to make necessary adjustments towards more sustainable practices,” said Solana Ranch parent volunteer Yu Linda Song. “The greatest lesson for the students is that we all can make a positive impact on our planet by starting with small steps.”