LEWISTON — The School Committee is poised to take up a “climate emergency” resolution and to move forward with an analysis of the district’s carbon footprint.

At a meeting Monday night, Yarmouth teenager Anna Siegel addressed the committee and asked it to approve the resolution.

“It is only fitting that schools, the place where children learn about the world, should listen to youth activists,” Siegel said.

Committee member Ryan Donovan asked that the resolution be taken up at the next meeting March 9.

“I think we should take up whether to adopt or not,” Donovan said. “I do believe climate change is very urgent.”

Siegel said Portland, South Portland, Brunswick and Bar Harbor municipal boards have approved the resolution.

Her request to the Lewiston School Committee was not the first.

Member Kiernan Majerus-Collins last month introduced a resolution to the committee declaring a climate emergency and committing Lewiston Public Schools to eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Committee member Bruce Damon spoke in favor of conducting a cost analysis for upgrading the district’s buildings, then coming up with an action plan.

“We can’t just jump into it without knowing what we’ve already done,” he said. Some buildings have been upgraded to reduce impact on the environment, but others haven’t, he said.

Majerus-Collins said he agreed with Donovan that the issue is urgent. He quoted 17-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg: “‘Our house is on fire,'” adding, “It doesn’t matter what kind of firetrucks we use to put it out. (The resolution) commits us to putting that fire out.”

He said he was skeptical of beginning with a cost analysis.

“A detailed plan can follow.”

In a letter to the editor in the Sun Journal in January, Kiernan wrote that he believes the purpose of a public education is to secure the best possible future for students.

“And the future welfare of students in Lewiston public schools depends in large part on whether and to what degree the world is able to restore a safe and stable climate,” he wrote. “Some people will no doubt argue that we can’t afford to address climate change, but the science tells us that we can’t afford not to.”

Committee Chairwoman Monique Roy suggested the School Department work with the mayor’s office, which, she said, was interested in adopting a plan for the city.

But Donovan said he wasn’t sure waiting for a commitment from the city would be a good idea.

“A resolution is not just recognizing the problem, it’s committing us to fixing the problem,” he said.


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