Green Schools Campaign at Poly

The Poly Green Schools campaign is looking to transition the Long Beach Unified School district’s electricity to 100% renewable energy by 2030. The student club’s goals extend outside of the electricity sector as well with the club hoping to get LBUSD off all non renewable energy by 2040. As of now, the school is running on between 15-20% renewable energy which is average according to club president Diana Michaelson, a PACE junior.

Although that may sound like a lofty goal, the club has made steady progress since their founding in August 2020. Michaelson said they have received their first commitment from LBUSD facilities director Alan Reising. Reising promised to work with the club provided they acknowledge funds must be available for the switch to work.

Regarding funds, Michaleson said buying 100% clean energy from SoCal Edison “would be a 9% increase but that’s never been something we’ve looked at. We would do a mixture of solar panel tech or potentially buy a clean power mix from SoCal Edison and overall there should be a cost decrease over the years.”

Teacher supervisor Patrick Gillogly, 51, seconded this saying, “we’ve seen in San Diego, in Salt Lake City, with a number of other cities which have already begun this commitment in other parts of the country that it is possible and there are positive and profitable solutions.”

Closer to home, Los Angeles Unified School District committed to 100% clean energy by 2040 in December 2019. Michaelson said that LAUSD, as the biggest school district in the state, committing to transitioning to renewable energy shows that Long Beach can do it too.

To get things kick-started this school year, the club held a climate rally on September 18. Vice-President Ruthie Heis, PACE freshman, was very pleased with the rally: “Not only were there a lot of community members there but there were also two board members and a lot of different community leaders and we were able to rally and show them that this is something that we care about, all of Long Beach not just Poly.”

Club Treasurer Kaaya Batra, PACE senior, said the rally “was very successful. I think we had a good variety of people representing all across Long Beach, different age ranges, we had little kids to adults who work for really important organizations like PermaCity [a solar energy design and installation company] and I think it was a really great way to get our community to come together to support a cause that is meaningful to all of us.”

The club is hoping to get the Board to vote on their resolution by February 2022 and if that should happen, and the resolution be approved, the club will likely hold a rally in “celebration of their success.” according to Batra.

Gillogly attributed a lot of the knowledge the students hold on the subject to Jason Manack, AP Environmental Science teacher at Poly, a class each student interviewed has already taken or is currently taking. “Mr Manack’s class has been incredibly significant in really awakening a lot of kids in what my generation has been paying too much lip service too.” Gillogly said, “I know this probably sounds super cheesy but I am really inspired by their commitment to it and their organization and maturity with it.”

The Poly Green Schools Campaign meets during lunch on Tuesdays in room 415.