Bega Valley parents are among thousands who have signed an open letter asking Prime Minister Scott Morrison to provide federal funding for the installation of solar panels and batteries in schools and early childhood centres around Australia.
The Solar Our Schools initiative, led by Australian Parents for Climate Action, aims to reduce emissions, aid the green economic recovery after COVID-19, and free up resources for schools to spend on education.
Bega resident and parent Rachel Schofield sees the Solar Our Schools initiative benefitting local kids.
“I really like the idea of Solar Our Schools because it contributes to the economic recovery we need right now, as well as reducing carbon emissions,” she said.
“Schools would also save tens of thousands of dollars in power bills, with the money saved then available to spend on our children’s education.”
Australian Parents for Climate Action was formed in 2019 by a group of concerned parents, and it now has more than 8000 members and 30 regional groups working towards a safe climate future.
A spokesperson for the group said the science is clear on climate change.
“The World Economic Forum describes climate change as the number-one threat to the world economy, and the World Health Organization warns of the many health threats that climate change poses to humans,” said the spokesperson.
“The past five years were the hottest five years since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) began keeping records 139 years ago.
“Higher temperatures are causing more frequent and extreme weather events, including bushfires, storms, droughts, floods and cyclones.”
Australian Parents for Climate Action is calling on the Federal Government to provide full funding for solar and batteries for every public and non-profit school, preschool and childcare centre in Australia, and means-tested grants for all privately owned schools and early learning centres, to help counteract the effects of climate change, and as part of the nation’s COVID-19 recovery plan.
The group’s spokesperson said the Solar Our Schools initiative will reduce Australia’s carbon emissions by millions of tons per year.
Laurel Waddell is a Bega parent who acknowledges that many parents, especially those in lockdown or quarantine, are doing it tough right now.
“Many of us are feeling overwhelmed, but there are groups out there, such as Australian Parents for Climate Action, which are doing really good work,” she said. “Signing a petition and doing other small actions towards a greener future is my contribution when I don’t have much time as a parent.”
More than 5000 parents have signed the open letter.
Ms Waddell is one of 80 volunteer parent ‘Champions’ around Australia who is leading the Solar Our Schools campaign from the ground up, including using COVID-19-friendly ‘craftivism’ to get the message out there
– making craft suns and posting them on social media with the hashtag #SolarOurSchools is one such initiative.
The campaign links into Beyond Zero Emissions’ Million Jobs Plan (#millionjobsplan) that sets out a plan for renewable-led economic recovery.