Online petition calls on Montgomery County schools to shrink carbon footprint

Activists have launched an online petition calling on the Montgomery County Public School system in Maryland to sharply reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Bethesda Magazine first reported about the petition on that charges the school system is a major polluter because of its buildings and buses. The petition warns that, “We have only 11 years to cut our greenhouse gas emissions in half in order to preserve human civilization.”

Among the petition’s demands are that all new school buildings be constructed in a manner that doesn’t contribute new greenhouse gas emissions and that the school system buy only electric buses moving forward.

The petition urges the school system to provide climate change education that includes the role of industry and government policy, to elementary, middle and high school students.

Furthermore, it demands that students lead a climate change recommendation group — which will “take its lead from MCPS employees and front-line communities of color affected by the policies” — to suggest policies.

Petitioners are also demanding three excused absences a year for civic action.

A school system spokesman defended the efforts of school system to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

“MCPS is committed to pursuing energy conservation efforts, preserving natural resources and ensuring that students will graduate as fully informed citizens cognizant of human impact on the environment,” Derek Turner said in a statement.

Turner said that eight Montgomery County schools have earned National Green Ribbon awards and 17 schools are equipped with solar panels, making MCPS a leader in solar power among school districts in Maryland.

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