[Editors Note: This report was submitted by Amanda Shane, a junior at Palisades Charter HS, co-secretary for Pali’s STF chapter, and a West Coast Region Coordinator for the Green Schools Campaign.]
February 11, 2022: Human Rights Watch Student Task Force (STF) members at Palisades Charter High School met last week with Nick Melvoin, who represents LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District) Board District # 4. Their meeting was a result of Pali’s clean energy resolution — the first-ever student-led resolution presented to the Pali Board of Trustees, which was unanimously passed last May, and commits the school to 100% renewable energy within the next 10 years. Palisades students are now looking for Nick Melvoin’s support to push their renewable energy resolution forward in LAUSD, the nation’s second largest school district.
At the meet-and-greet, Melvoin received a warm welcome from STF members, who presented him with an STF shirt with the slogan “Oceans are Rising, So Are We.” After a quick introduction, Melvoin expressed his enthusiasm for renewable energy efforts “driven by real student leaders” who understand the urgency of the climate crisis “in a way that many adults don’t.”
Going on to address the school’s air conditioning initiative, Melvoin explained that, “When Pali was first built (1961), there wasn’t a need for air conditioning, you just opened the windows and doors, but with global warming, temperatures are rising.” Adding air conditioning systems throughout the school will raise Pali’s energy consumption and STF leaders emphasized that this will also increase the importance of transitioning to solar. STF co-president Peter Garff pointed out, “Within the last year there have been 19 blackouts or brownouts in local neighborhoods,” highlighting the fact that the area is already running on unreliable power, and cannot handle increased energy usage.
Fortunately, solar energy production at Pali could help mediate this situation. The school could potentially produce a surplus of solar energy to be returned to the LADWP energy grid. Solar power at Pali would not only provide for all of Pali’s electrical energy needs and create surplus clean and reliable energy, but Pali could also set an example for the surrounding community of what fighting climate change looks like. To make this possible, leaders of Pali’s HRW Student Task Force are counting on support from Board District Nick Melvoin to continue pushing for climate action in LAUSD.