In full transparency, the following is a media release from Sen. Ed Markey , who was elected by voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to serve the state in Washington DC in the US Senate. He is a Democrat. (stock photo)
WASHINGTON DC -Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Congressman Jamaal Bowman (NY-16) introduced yesterday, June 25, legislation to promote climate resiliency in public schools. The Resilient Schools Act of 2021 would establish a Climate Change Resiliency Program at the Department of Education that would help prepare public school systems for the impacts of climate change while also providing infrastructural and health benefits to the broader community.
Grants would be awarded to plan and implement resiliency projects that combine career and technical education with improvements to school buildings and grounds. Funds would also foster partnerships between educators, local businesses, labor unions, and community-based organizations.
School infrastructure in America is failing – the American Society of Civil Engineers has reported that $380 billion is needed to bring our public school infrastructure from a “D+” grade to a “B” grade – and these climate resiliency grants can be an essential piece of that investment.
“Our nation’s schools anchor our communities as centers of learning, and we need to invest in our schools to be centers of resiliency, health, and justice as well. By providing funding to transform schools into community and climate resiliency centers and insulate our schools from climate impacts, we can create more jobs, promote justice, and work to halt the climate crisis,” said Senator Markey. “We have under-invested in our public schools for decades, and this is our opportunity to build up communities while simultaneously preparing the next generation for success.”
“At the heart of every community is a school — the places where our children learn to understand and shape the world around them, bringing families, educators, and neighborhoods together in the process,” said Representative Bowman. “As the climate crisis intensifies, these treasured places are already suffering from the impacts. We must give schools the resources and tools to not only protect students and staff, but also to become a source of resilience and well-being for the surrounding community. By investing in sustainable food systems, green infrastructure, disaster preparedness, and more, that is exactly what our bill will do.”
A copy of this legislation can be found HERE.
Specifically, the Resilient Schools Act of 2021 would provide $40 billion for:
- Improvements to school buildings and grounds, including:
- Improving energy efficiency and school facilities
- Distributed energy generation
- Air conditioning, air quality, and air monitoring
- Green infrastructure projects, including:
- Green infrastructure to protect schools from climate change-related events
- Green rooftops
- Green space and gardens for communities
- Career and technical education opportunities tied into school upgrades
This legislation has been endorsed by the American Federation of Teachers, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation, Friends of the Earth, the Campaign for Environmental Literacy, and the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council.
“Climate-fueled wildfires, floods, hurricanes and severe weather pose serious threats to communities, including the destruction of schools and disruptions of learning. Senator Markey and Congressman Bowman’s Resilient Schools Act addresses these and other challenges head-on by strengthening public safety, involving communities in positive climate action, creating jobs, supporting environmental justice, and improving STEM and climate education. Congress should swiftly take up this important legislation,” said Kim Martinez, Vice President for Education and Outreach at the National Wildlife Federation.
“To take meaningful action in response to climate change and to be centers for community resilience into the future, our schools need resources to plan and prepare,” said Anisa Heming, director of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council. “Senator Markey and Congressman Bowman’s Resilient Schools Act steps up with support for the enormous amount of work that will be necessary to ready our schools for future climate-related risks and disruptions. Given how the past year has highlighted the necessity of steady access to school for our children, the need for this type of investment has never been clearer.”
“The Resilient Schools Act addresses a critical, if often overlooked, issue: the need to help our schools remain essential, functioning infrastructure – both for their students and their host communities – as climate change continues to ramp up its impacts across the country,” said Jim Elder, Director of the Campaign for Environmental Literacy. “Senator Markey and Congressman Bowman’s bill brings an integrated, compressive approach to addressing this need by incorporating the aspects of school buildings and grounds, student and staff health protections, and education in one package.”