Nov. 5, 2021
Redwood City — The Environmental Justice Subcommittee of the San Mateo County Youth Commission was honored Thursday evening with a 2021 Green California Schools Leadership Award for its role in catalyzing a movement in San Mateo County for youth-led climate emergency declarations.
The subcommittee assisted three school districts — San Mateo Union High School District, Cabrillo Unified School District, and Sequoia Union High School District — in passing climate emergency declarations which help them make strides toward improved sustainability and resiliency in their facilities and operations.
City councils, board of supervisors, school boards and other elected bodies make climate emergency declarations to set forth tangible steps in their communities to address climate change. In April 2020, the subcommittee asked the full commission to pass a climate emergency declaration and encourage all 23 school district boards to pass their own. These declarations acknowledge the severity of the crisis and outline the actions each district would take to address climate change. Despite the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the commissioners successfully supported directly or inspired three districts to pass their declarations by April 2021. They are now aiming to help the remaining public school districts in passing climate emergency resolutions, launch sustainability committees within all 23 districts and support climate assessments and climate action plans.
The San Mateo County Youth Commission is an advisory commission to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. The commission has 27 members ages 13-20 who advocate for youth issues, including environmental justice.
The award in the “Environmental Literacy” category was presented at the 2021 Green California Schools Summit held by nonprofit Green Technology and the Advisory Board for the Green California Summit.