How energy is created and distributed impacts us all. That said, it does not impact us all equally.
Burning fossil fuels to create energy is unhealthy. What is less publicized is how our energy choices impact Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities. Numerous studies note that BIPOC communities are exposed to greater pollution, directly based on the energy choices we make.
Then there is the cost of energy. We all want cheap energy and smaller energy bills. What is less publicized is that many studies show that BIPOC communities have higher energy burdens than their white counterparts. BIPOC families often have double the burden, which adds to their overall economic stress.
These issues impact St. Paul residents and students in the Saint Paul Public Schools. It may seem odd to connect these issues to a school system. But I do so to highlight efforts being taken within the SPPS community to address these issues. Let’s take them one at a time.
First, staff, students and community members are working on gathering support to encourage SPPS leaders to create community solar gardens at SPPS schools. These efforts would take steps toward cleaner SPPS communities and help the pocketbooks of SPPS families. Currently, more than 800 people have signed the solar schools petition, including 200 plus students. You can sign on at the following link: https://forms.gle/jzJCLxKVQJBerksx6
Second, the Saint Paul Federation of Educators, Westside Community Organization, Saint Paul 350, Center for School Change and the Eastside Freedom Library held a school board candidate forum that highlighted the issues of climate, pollution and sustainability. Potential future board members (and one current one) discussed plans on how SPPS could embrace renewable energy and do it in a way to benefit our students and families most at risk.
These are positive steps, but to make his happen, we need SPPS leadership to hear our voices, that the time is now to lead on climate, racial and economic justice. We need you. Thank you.
Tom Lucy, Como Park