Letters to the Editor, May 14-17, 2016
Climate efforts should focus on the here and now
In his editorial, "Let’s accelerate the clean energy transformation," Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) activist Judd Werner states that "97% of climate scientists" are "convinced that human-caused global warming is happening." He could have said 100% since all competent climate scientists know that humans contribute to climate change through land-use change (e.g., urbanization), pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
But that is not the real issue. Instead, the key question is, "do the relevant scientists agree that our greenhouse gas emissions will cause dangerous climate change?" Only if it will be dangerous should this be a public policy concern. No one knows the answer to this question since such a poll has never been conducted.
Meanwhile, aid agencies are unable to adequately support vulnerable people being effected by climate change today. Because of overconfidence of groups like CCL about our ability to predict and even control future climate, 94% of the more than $1 billion/day spent worldwide on climate finance is dedicated to mitigation, trying to affect events that may, or may not, someday happen.
One reason for this imbalance is that mitigation projects are far more profitable for large corporations than are the smaller scale boots-on-the-ground strategies needed to help populations adapt.
We may never properly understand the causes of climate change or its future trajectory, but we do know that people need help now. Let’s focus our lobbying efforts there.
Tom Harris, Executive Director
International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC)
* * *
Positive News from Park City School District
At the May 3rd school board meeting, a significant and positive event occurred!
Following the community concerns voiced at the January 19th meeting where the school board supported reforming Park City’s school food program, a Task Force of eleven stakeholders, including teachers, students, parents, nutrition and health specialists, administrators and chefs, was assembled to develop a 3-year plan of action to make that happen. Last week, the Task Force revealed four goals that will favorably change school food, beginning in the fall 2016. Over the next three years, the Task Force aims to rebrand Park City school food based on nutritious, great-tasting, cooked on-site food coupled with nutrition education and measurements.
To achieve these fundamental goals, commitment and resources from the school district and our community are essential. To that end, the school board approved $154,000 in capital expenditures to upgrade school kitchens with necessary equipment and deemed increased costs for food and labor "good investments in our kids’ health". As the driving advocacy group for this effort, EATS Eat Awesome Things at School applauds Elizabeth Strasser, Child Nutrition Services Director, who headed the Task Force, the school board and superintendent Ember Conley for their hard work and commitment to improving the lives of our children through fueling their bodies and minds with healthy nutrition.
In studying districts in other states who’ve implemented these types of changes, EATS knows that nutrition education is critical to the students’ consumption of healthier foods.
Along with integrating these concepts into curriculum, EATS Park City will continue to supplement food education through taste tests, cooking classes and school gardens. As a non-profit, we rely on grants, corporate donors and individual donors to fund our programs. We want to thank all those you supported us at our fundraiser, FORK in the Road, on May 13th, sponsored by EPICPromise. Together, let’s continue this optimism and forward progress for all our kids’ health and well-being!
Presentation slides and more details on the Task Force goals can be found here: http://www.boarddocs.com/ut/pcsd/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=A9FT5D74E6FD
President/Co-Founders EATS Park City
* * *
Students want teachers to stay at Learning Center
I am a student at Park City Learning Center who cares deeply about the well-being of our school and the people in it. Right now, the majority of us are greatly concerned about two of our teachers that are not being renewed next year.
We have been trying to make a difference for what we believe to be an injustice. Our efforts so far have included emailing the Superintendent, speaking at a school district board meeting, meeting as a group with the Superintendent, and creating a petition signed by current and past students, as well as some parents, but nothing has made a difference. We get the same repetitive reply, "There’s nothing we can do." But, how does this make any sense?
Both teachers have created a fun, unique, and engaging learning environment and have great, trusting relationships with their students. A lot of us struggle with school, but these teachers have an amazing ability to connect with students at every level resulting in us thriving and learning (unlike many others).
Consistency is a good thing as far as it goes with school. There have been multiple math and social studies teachers in the past few years and now we have the two best, so why are we letting them go? It is really sad how little the district has done to respond to our queries. I believe if the community got to know a little bit about our incredible teachers we could help them keep their jobs. We need to work as a community to do something about this problem. After all, it seems like our district will only respond once issues are made public.
As the so-called "customers" of the school, I think we students should get a say in who teaches us. Our current teachers are incredible, irreplaceable, and we love them. Please help us to do what is right.