Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) is committing to acting on climate change with a new student-created plan to be implemented next year.

The board’s G7 Student Senate created the TLDSB Climate Change Action Plan and presented it to the board of trustees June 9. The 68-page document details 10 different phases for climate action the board, schools and students will work together on.

Last year’s student trustee Kaylee Kelly said it is an important cause, particularly living in cottage country.

“Everything within the climate is changing,” Kelly said. “It’s important that the school board abides by these guidelines. We can make a more sustainable future and this will also improve the community.”

The senate worked throughout the school year to put the plan in place, inspired by young environmental activists such as Autumn Peltier and Greta Thunberg. The plan addresses issues such as waste management, creation of eco-spaces, Indigenous inclusion, food resilience and technology considerations.

The plan calls for the creation of a student-led eco-team at every school, keeping climate action as part of the curriculum, maintenance schedules for TLDSB devices, conducting annual waste and energy audits, creating plastic-free cafeterias, phasing out single-use plastics and encouraging transportation such as biking and carpooling.

“By seeking guidance from community elders and Indigenous peoples, TLDSB recognizes our responsibility as stewards of mother earth as our most important job,” the school board said in a press release. “Together, TLDSB will set the standard and take proactive action to promote a sustainable environmental education model.”

Kelly said the board supported the senate and worked with them to put the plan together. But the pandemic forced parts of the plan to change, Kelly said. Although the senate kept the work going through online meetings, implementation timelines had to be adjusted.

“With TLDSB abiding by the Ministry of Education rules for returning back to school, we knew we had to be more open about these timelines,” Kelly said, noting COVID19 makes actions such as phasing out plastic more difficult. She added devices and online learning were added to the plan specifically in response to the pandemic. Kelly said she is confident the board will follow through and students will be supportive.

“All of these goals we have written are definitely achievable,” she said. “We hope to set the model for other school boards.”

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