VUSD takes administrators’ time on climate change


The update included replacing the phrase “climate change” with “environmental change” in the following line: “The board believes that all students should understand ecological systems and the impact of human action on those systems. , including, but not limited to climate change. environmental change. The district environmental education program should promote environmental literacy and prepare students to be stewards of natural resources and adopt an environmentally responsible lifestyle.

Administrator Megan Casebeer Soleno withdrew the item from the consent calendar for discussion, arguing that the term is not only a term commonly used around the world, but also almost universally accepted by the international scientific community. She pointed out that three physicists recently won the Nobel Prize for their work in researching climate change.

“Change [from climate change to environmental change] came from a good place to try to avoid politicizing it but that’s my request [to keep climate change in the policy text]”said Soleno.

Administrator Walta Gamoian described climate change as a political term and said it should be taken out of politics for it and that the current warming and climate change that is happening now is just part of a heating cycle. , like the Mesozoic era of dinosaurs. , and cooling, like the Ice Age or the Ice Age. She suggested that human activity was not responsible for any part of the Earth’s current warming period.

“I don’t believe there is climate change in our world,” said Gamoian, who has taught high school for over 30 years and has a degree in biology.

Merrian-Webster defines the term climate change as “a significant and lasting change in the climate and weather conditions of the Earth”. The definition does not mention the causes of climate change, but most scientists agree that the term implies that there is a human effect on accelerating the current period of warming or greenhouse of the Earth. In its educational material, National Geographic, a renowned educational institution, writes: “The cause of current climate change is largely human activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels, such as natural gas, oil and coal. Throughout Earth’s history, the climate has continually changed. When it occurs naturally, it is a slow process that has taken place over hundreds and thousands of years. The human-influenced climate change that is happening now is happening at a much faster rate. “

NASA’s Global Climate Change portal has reviewed several longitudinal studies in peer-reviewed scientific journals and concluded that at least 97% of climatologists agree that “global warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities. In addition, most of the major scientific organizations around the world have issued public statements endorsing this position. “

“It’s a bit of a moot point for us,” said administrator Jacqui Gaebe.

In an interview after the meeting, Gamoian clarified his comments. She said she didn’t believe that humans burning fossil fuels were the sole cause of climate change, but that humans have likely helped accelerate the warming trend the Earth is currently experiencing.

“I believe humans have an impact on the environment because humans have definitely impacted this valley from swamp to almost desert,” she said.

Two other board members agreed with climate change to environmental change, but didn’t go so far as to say climate change doesn’t happen. Christopher Pope said environmental change encompasses climate change and therefore made the expression broader and inclusive.

Joy Naylor said the use of environmental change was more consistent with the rest of the policy which uses the word environmental six times but only mentioned climate once. Naylor asked to table the point until staff can provide the board with exactly what the term climate change would imply under the policy.

Instead, Gaebe offered to keep climate change in policy and endorse it. Soleno seconded the motion and board chairman Juan Guerrero voted for while Naylor, Pope and Gamoian voted against. The motion failed in a 3-3 deadlock as the Zone 4 seat is still vacant following John Crabtree’s resignation on October 1. Staff said they would bring the item back at a future meeting.

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