Parents win a School Climate Action Plan in Victoria

In September 2023 the Victoria District School Board passed a motion to approve the District’s Climate Action Plan! The plan has been years in the making  - and shows how parents can make a difference. You can view the plan here.

Four years ago Parents 4 Climate, a team in the For Our Kids network, lobbied the school board to declare a climate emergency. That declaration - passed in June 2019 - required the school board to establish targets and develop strategies in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s call to limit warming to 1.5 degrees, and to demonstrate leadership by encouraging other B.C. school districts to adopt similar measures. See Victoria News coverage here.

Now, after continued advocacy by groups like Parents 4 Climate, and extensive consultation with the community, the District has approved a climate action plan.

The plan encompasses five pillars:

  1. Education, Engagement, and Leadership
  2. Lands and Water Stewardship
  3. Waste Reduction
  4. Energy Management
  5. Sustainable Transportation. 

While there is still plenty of work to be done to ensure the plan stays on track and is implemented, September’s announcement is an important next step for the school community to do their part to address the climate emergency. 

In a workshop on parent school action hosted by the For Our Kids network back in 2021, Kate from Parents 4 Climate shared these tips for other parents interested to get a climate action plan adopted by their own school board: 

  • Find an ally on the board and elect school board trustees that will be allies.
  • School boards won’t undertake anything that’s likely to put them over budget. 
  • Timing is important: know the meeting schedule, have letters and background ready.
  • Get on the train early or it will be derailed - you need to think ahead for opportunities to intersect with their plans and decisions (i.e. Parents 4 Climate had tried to incorporate commitments for zero emissions buildings, for renovations and new building plans. But they were told it was too late in the planning process).
  • Build relationships and align with other groups in the community that are better resourced & organized - it can be a long, tiring and frustrating process so see if you can get local support, i.e. Parents 4 Climate worked closely with the Dogwood BC.
  • Reaching and engaging with parents can be difficult, even through organized school councils. Don’t be discouraged!
  • Engage with youth climate action groups, particularly in high schools. There is a lot to be gained from working with students - they bring motivation, enthusiasm, skills, energy, reach and leadership.
  • Push school district to include clear targets in their climate action plans.
  • Focus on what will have the biggest impact - in Victoria we saw this as buildings and transportation.
  • Push for better communications and transparency 
  • Monitor implementation to make sure the plan is being followed
  • Experience is important, find someone who knows the process from the start for guidance and problem solving.

Want your district to pass a climate action plan, but not sure where to start? We can help! Get in touch at [email protected].


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