How our energy is created and distributed impacts us all. It impacts our health and it impacts our wallets. That said, it does not impact us all equally.
First, let’s look at energy and health. It is no secret that the burning of fossil fuels is not healthy. What is often not publicized is how our energy choices impact our BIPOC communities. Do a quick web search and you will see study after study showing how our BIPOC communities are exposed to greater pollution, directly based on the energy choices we make.
Then there is the relation between energy and our wallets. We all want to have cheap energy and we all want smaller energy bills. What is again often not publicized, is how study after study show that our BIPOC communities typically have a higher energy burden than their White community counterparts. On average BIPOC families often have double the burden, which only adds on to their overall economic stress.
These are issues that directly impact Saint Paul residents and our students in 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 systematic issues. Let’s take them one at a time.
First, staff, students and community members have been working on gathering support to encourage SPPS leadership to move on creating community solar gardens on SPPS schools. This is an effort that would help take steps toward cleaner SPPS communities AND help the pocketbooks of SPPS families. As of the writing of this letter over 800 people have signed the solar on schools petition, including 200+ students! You can join this effort as well by signing at the following link. https://forms.gle/jzJCLxKVQJBerksx6
Second, in late April 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, centered on climate, pollution and sustainability. Potential future board members (and one current one) discussed their plans for how SPPS could embrace renewable energy and do it in a way to benefit our students and families most in need of help.
These are positive steps, but to make the changes we need SPPS leadership must hear all our voices that the time is now to lead on climate, racial and economic justice. Simply put, we need you. Thank you.
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