A little over a year ago, a group of environmentally conscientious students from Denver Public Schools (DPS), came together to create the DPS Climate Resolution Final Draft, a list of proposed policies meant to make schools within their district environmentally friendly. The students were inspired by students in Salt Lake City who came together to force their school board to adopt a sustainability resolution. What students like these are doing is invaluably essential. They have created the momentum for more people to fight for climate justice.
Included in the students’ Climate Resolution Final Draft are several ways the students would like to see DPS change to become more environmentally conscious. The main changes revolve around education about the climate, more clean energy usage and less non-renewable energy use.
According to Rocky Mountain PBS, which has been covering the students’ fight for climate justice, “Their goals include increasing renewable electricity, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, prioritizing actions that would address inequities and environmental injustices in schools, and integrating sustainability into the district’s core values.”
According to Felicia Winfrey, ’21, one of the leaders of the DPS Students for Climate Action group, “No matter if a student is an elementary student or a high schooler, we think it’s very important for them to be taught about sustainability and about how to live a healthier and more environmentally conscious life.”
Winfrey continues, “What we’re asking for is not small and we recognize that… It’s going to cost a lot of money, but there are already school districts around the country that are already doing this and have done it without the promise of federal funding.”
Amelia Fernández Rodríguez, ’25, another student in DPS and part of the DPS Students for Climate Action group, stated in a meeting with her school board, “I really want to ensure a livable future for me and my generation.”
According to Chalkbeat Colorado, another news agency following the students, “Even though the district is already taking steps to address climate change, officials said the new policies represent a more meaningful mandate because they came from students.”
DPS Director of Sustainability, LeeAnn Kittle, says, “They’re standing up for themselves and saying we need to be prepared for these challenges. Sure, we’re going to continue down this path regardless, but now there’s a sense of urgency knowing that they feel a sense of urgency.”
The action the DPS Students for Climate Action group has taken is greatly impactful. Simply by setting an example, these students have paid it forward, and likely inspired students across Colorado and the Nation to impact change in their communities. In doing so, these students added momentum to the climate justice movement and empowered others to fight for their futures on our planet.