The Environmental Policy That Will Change LBUSD

Photo of: The members of the Long Beach Green Schools Campaign after policy 3510.1 was passed.
Photo Courtesy: Shared by Diana Michaelson

Photo of: The members of the Long Beach Green Schools Campaign after policy 3510.1 was passed. Photo Courtesy: Shared by Diana Michaelson

Bhree Walker, Staff Reporter

On Aug 17, 2022, the Long Beach Unified School Board passed policy 3510.1. The Long Beach Green Schools Campaign proposed this policy started at Long Beach Polytechnic High School in August of 2022. 

The Long Beach Green Schools Campaign is to work towards 100% clean energy use and to fully transition the LBUSD off of fossil fuels by 2040. LBUSD schools will gradually move from using gas, oil, or coal as a source of energy to solar panels. Switching away from fossil fuels would have the opposite effects of causing air pollution, harming one’s health, and accelerating climate change.

Students from Helen Keller Middle School, the Intellectual Virtues Academy of Long Beach, Hughes Middle School, Lakewood High School, CAMS, and Millikan High School have worked for two years and six days to get this policy passed, and now it’s passed. Many of those days were spent attending board meetings and making minor changes to the policy. The Long Beach Green Schools Campaign was mostly student-led, with assistance from parents, staff, and board members.

Where did Policy 3510.1 come from? Diana Michaelson, the founder of the campaign and a senior in Polytechnic Pace, says, “It’s an updated version of a previous document that was passed by LBUSD in 2019. Board policy 3510 was a version of a policy adopted by the California School Boards Association.” 

Some specific goals of Policy 3510.1 are to save money with energy efficiency, improve the air quality, improve the impacts on the environment, and create new jobs.

“The important thing to know is that it’s going to take a long time for this transition to happen,” explains Michaelson. “This document is realistic. We’re not gonna go buy new stoves when we have stoves that are perfectly working, even though it might be fossil-fuel run. A lot of the changes that are going to happen are going to be very subtle.”

Photo of: Solar panels in the Millikan parking lot.
Photo Courtesy: Salma Mancilla

While passing this policy was a huge step for the LBUSD, Michaelson believes that this is just the beginning and that there is much more to do.

 If you are inspired to advocate for your environment, join your school’s green team or environmental club. There are so many ways to help create a more sustainable future. 

An environmental group at Millikan meets on the first and third Tuesdays in room 814 and is advised by Mr. Cruz. A committee from Millikan’s Environmental Club participated in multiple board meetings and helped make small revisions to policy 3510.1. 

Anyone interested can watch the recording of the board meeting where this policy was passed here.