Emery Unified School District, Emeryville, California  [Printer-friendly version]
May 2, 2005


Resolution No. 12-2004-2005

[Rachel's introduction: The Emeryville, California School District
has adopted the precautionary principle and has spelled out what it
means: anticipatory action to avert harm, community right to know,
assessment of alternatives to find the least harmful way, full cost
accounting to tally up both goods and bads, and decision-making that
respects and involves the people affected.]

WHEREAS -- Schools have the potential to make positive, tangible
environmental change in the world while teaching students to be
stewards of their communities, the earth and its resources;

WHEREAS -- Our current school systems often suffer from inadequate
facilities that frequently use energy, water and other resources
unsustainably; use pesticides, cleaning agents and other chemicals
that pose health risks; and can result in "sick building syndrome "
from indoor air pollution and poor ventilation;

WHEREAS -- Many schools across the nation are sited on or near toxic
waste dumps, environmentally hazardous facilities, and other sources
of pollution;

WHEREAS -- Schools are important consumers of natural resources,
including energy, water, food, and paper, and generators of waste
materials, including garbage, runoff, and air emissions, which
contribute to the world's larger environmental problems like global
warming, water and air pollution, and habitat destruction.

WHEREAS -- Children, teachers, and staff are regularly exposed to
toxic chemicals at school, are offered poor and unhealthy food
choices, and use and manage resources unsustainably resulting in
negative impacts on their health and their ability to teach and learn.

WHEREAS -- This district expends considerable financial resources on
chemical pest control, cleaning supplies, energy, water, office and
school supplies, and educational activities (resolution could include
specific statistics from the district on funds spent on specific

WHEREAS -- This district has a considerable opportunity through its
purchasing power to improve both the environment and its financial
bottom line.

WHEREAS -- Many options and choices exist for schools to use natural
resources more efficiently; to reduce, reuse, and recycle; to follow
"Healthy, High Performance School Guidelines " for construction; to
ban junk food and soda and produce healthy lunches through local farm-
to-school partnerships; to eliminate toxic chemicals; and to purchase
(or produce) clean energy and recycled paper to protect our global

WHEREAS -- There is a tremendous opportunity to teach children about
ecological sustainability, environmental health and nutrition; meet
math, science and social studies standards; integrate environmental
education into curricula; and support students to become leaders in
making their own school a healthier and more ecologically friendly

WHEREAS -- The Precautionary Principle has been adopted by a growing
number of cities, as well as the Los Angeles Unified School District
as a proactive approach to promote the safest, lowest risk way to
protect people's health, the environment, and property;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Governing Authority of the Emery
Unified School District recognizes all the excellent work already
underway in the district, undertaken by parents, teachers,
administrators, janitors, nurses and others and recognizes that this
framework creates a long-term, inspiring vision that integrates and
strengthens many efforts in our district. Further recognizing that
fully implementing this resolution will take time, and must be
achieved in stages.

BE IT RESOLVED to promote healthier, more environmentally sustainable
schools and teach environmental leadership, the School Board hereby:

1. Adopts the Precautionary Principle as the foundation for its
environmental policy. The Precautionary Principle includes the
following elements:

** ANTICIPATORY ACTION: There is a duty to take anticipatory action to
prevent harm. Government, business, and community groups, as well as
the general public, share this responsibility.

** RIGHT TO KNOW: The community has a right to know complete and
accurate information on potential human health and environmental
impacts associated with the selection of products, services,
operations or plans. The burden to supply this information lies with
the proponent, not with the general public.

** ALTERNATIVES ASSESSMENT: An obligation exists to examine a full
range of alternatives and select the alternative with the least
potential impact on human health and the environment, including the
alternative of doing nothing.

** FULL COST ACCOUNTING: When evaluating potential alternatives, there
is a duty to consider all the reasonably foreseeable costs, including
raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, use, cleanup, eventual
disposal, and health costs even if such costs are not reflected in the
initial price. Short and long-term benefits and time thresholds should
be considered when making decisions.

Precautionary Principle must be transparent, participatory, and
informed by the best available information.

2. Calls on the district to develop an action plan to implement a
proactive environmental policy based on the Precautionary Principle
that includes the following to be prioritized and implemented step by

2.1 The development and adoption of an Integrated Pest Management
program and other policies to minimize or eliminate the use of
hazardous pesticides and herbicides in schools.

2.2 An audit of cleaning materials used in district schools and the
development of a plan to use the least toxic substances.

2.3 Mechanisms to ensure that new schools are not sited near or on
environmental health hazards.

2.4 A program to ensure that new schools are built and existing
schools refurbished following Healthy, High Performance school
building criteria that mandate the use of environmentally sound
building material, efficient use of energy, water and other resources,
and the creation of a healthy learning environment for children.

2.5 A district-wide plan to improve the energy efficiency of schools,
to increasingly rely on clean, renewable energy sources to power the
district's facilities, and to ultimately transform schools into
independent power producers by investing in clean renewable
technologies such as solar and wind.

2.6 The creation of district-wide recycling and composting programs,
along with the procurement of recycled office, cafeteria, and
classroom supplies.

2.7 Follow and build upon the examples of New York City, Chicago,
Nashville, San Francisco and others and ban soda, candy, junk food and
fast food from all school grounds.

2.8 Evaluate the district's school lunch program to ensure good
nutrition and consider developing a farm-to-school program.

2.9 Encourage the development of school gardens and green schoolyards
as hands- on learning tools that promote good nutrition, stewardship
of the land, and that teach to standards.

2.10 Adopt frameworks that meet state standards and integrate
environmental education and student participation into school-wide
environmental initiatives, using partnerships with environmental
education providers (non-profit and public agencies)

APPROVED, PASSED, AND ADOPTED by the Governing Board of the Emery
Unified School District this 2nd day of May 2005.

Signed by Cheryl Webb, Board Clerk, Emery Unified School District