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Climate rally was a critical teaching moment, wasted

Posted on September 25, 2019 by Sonoma Valley Sun

It’s stating the obvious to say the overwhelming and all-pervasive issue of our time is global warming/climate change. It’s repercussions and impacts will be planetary and most directly felt by the current generation of children and coming ones. 

That is why it was so disheartening to see very few of Sonoma’s kids and students at the Friday (9/20) rally on the Plaza to raise awareness of the dire consequences of this man-made catastrophe, and the need for immediate and radical change. As the remarkable young people from around the globe and in our own country are adamantly warning, “Our house is on fire…” and we can no longer wait another minute to act and change the course of this existential threat. This is our reality, not metaphorical hyperbole. 

Our Sonoma schools, K-12, missed a crucial opportunity to have its students front and center and participating in this countrywide demonstration, generated and organized by young people from around the world. This was by, for and about them, and for the schools to not have used this premier teaching moment was incomprehensible. 

No doubt the schools will counter this with arguments emphasizing student safety and security (off campus) and disruption to class scheduling and regular routine. These are valid concerns, but I’d say inconsequential and shortsighted in view of the seriousness of the issue at hand. Besides, schools do field trips all the time, and student safety and security could have been planned and implemented in advance for those wanting to plan, attend and be a part of the Plaza rally. 

The primary function of our schools is to educate, to teach our children well, and to prepare them for life in our complex and dynamic world. This was a supreme time for our schools to have taught invaluable lessons to our students and prospective leaders, and they failed to pass this most significant test. This singularly missed teaching opportunity must be given an F.

 — Will Shonbrun, Boyes Springs

 



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