Joining your Parent Advisory Council or your District Parent Advisory Council - also called school councils and district school councils - are both easy and effective ways to promote climate action and sustainability at the school or district level.
These are elected council and in most cases are part of the School Act, so are 'official channels' for parents to get involved. Attending a meeting is a a good way to find out what is already happening at your school or district, present your ideas, and connect with other parents. Or, for even more influence, consider running for one of the executive positions.
PACs and DPACs are pretty varied across the country. Some do alot of fundraising (and we've put together some eco-friendly fundraising ideas for PACs). But other PAC focus more on providing a place for parents to have input on school matters. For example, in 2019, the Chilliwack DPAC spoke out about the proposed route of the Transmountain Pipeline
Whatever your interests, there is plenty of scope to get involved. In 2022 we ran a fall family action encouraging parents to go to a PAC meeting - and many said they were surprised on how useful it was.
Here are some tips to get you started.
First, get the lay of the land. Just listen for a while. Get to know how things run and who your fellow parents are.
Next, find out what's already being done. Ask what climate or sustainability plans the school already has. If there are specific potential areas for improvement that you've noticed - idling in parking lots, waste in the cafeteria - ask there have been initiatives to address these issues. Think about what initiatives would work at the school/PAC level, and which should be brought to the DPAC.
One problem you might run into is that climate and sustainability might not be something that your PAC or school council has done before. There are two ways to address this. First, consider how climate and sustainability actions can slot into activities your PAC is already engaged in. Does your PAC run a speaker series for parents? Suggest a speaker on a climate related topic. Is your PAC involved in meal planning in the cafeteria? Consider suggesting adding meat-free climate friendly options or getting rid of single use packaging. Second, you might want to form a climate/sustainability sub-committee to work on these issue. That can help to expand the mandate of the PAC.
Ready to get started? We're here to help! Email [email protected] to get in touch.