On October 3 the Executive Council of the American Federation of Teachers passed a resolution “Declaring a Climate Emergency and Developing Climate Action and Healthy Building Plans.” It resolved that:
- The AFT urgently demands that President Biden take bold action by declaring a national climate emergency and working to build a robust, just and regenerative energy system
- The AFT will bring together AFT leaders and district/city/employer teams, at the earliest time and place practicable, to discuss and develop model clean energy and healthy building climate action plans specific to employers―local government, school districts, colleges, universities and hospitals―to access the new federal resources
- Such plans will advocate that states and municipalities use President Biden’s clean energy and infrastructure program funds to do their part to mitigate and prepare for the unfolding climate crisis, with plans including such items as retrofitting and weatherizing, remediating facilities for toxic substances, installing energy efficient systems, integrating climate justice curriculum, implementing sustainable practices to reduce carbon footprint, and supporting green careers through training and education for students and communities
- Such plans will also be rooted in community needs and include input from students, parents, local administrative leaders, appropriate green and union allies, and diverse community representatives
The resolution came in the wake of extensive organizing by union educators through the Educators Climate Action Network facilitated by LNS, the AFT Climate and Environmental Justice Caucus, and LNS’s organizing of the “labor hub” of the September 17th March to End Fossil fuels in New York.