Emery Unified School District, Emeryville, California, 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 resources);

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 environment.

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 place;

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.

** PARTICIPATORY DECISION PROCESS: Decisions applying the 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 step:

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