Climate change, the Camp Fire and action

Join the groundswell, including within the educational realm, aimed at forcing Congress to act

The author is co-leader of the Chico Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

Each year, teachers across the nation are mandated to report things that may cause harm to students, such as exposure to conditions that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Does this sound like what the children of Butte County are going through due to the Camp Fire?

We can’t link a given wildfire directly to climate change, just as we can’t link an individual hurricane to it. However, wildfire damage directly increases with hotter, drier fuels that are now accumulating during longer and drier summer seasons. It’s sort of like how warmer oceans lead to stronger hurricanes. More damaging energy from more heat.

Large wildfires in the United States now burn more than twice the area per year that they did in 1970, and the average wildfire season is 78 days longer. In the 1980s, large wildfires increased suddenly and markedly, getting worse every year. Ask any firefighter.

What does this have to do with teachers and school boards? Because they are mandated reporters, they don’t have to be silent witnesses to generational climate injustice. They can speak up to protect our students and future generations, helping build nonpartisan political will to move our representatives to act. Speaking out is what all of us should do.

A groundswell of climate action resolutions from school boards, PTAs, student councils and educator’s unions all over will move Congress to act. Twenty-nine school districts in several states and nearly 10 percent of the boards of education in California have passed resolutions and sent them to Washington, D.C. The National School Boards Association has a resolution on its March agenda. This March 27, a group of young people from Schools for Climate Action will hand-deliver this stack of resolutions to every congressional office.

To get involved, all resources, such as resolution templates and template outreach emails, are available at Locally, the Chico Citizens’ Climate Lobby can be contacted to help you through every step of the process.

Let’s get together to protect our children and grandchildren from the worst impacts of climate change.