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In April 2022, the Laguna Beach Unified School District Board of Education adopted Resolution 22-04 in Support of Earth Day, Climate Action, Environmental Literacy and Sustainability. The resolution directed the superintendent to establish an Environmental Literacy and Sustainability Task Force by September 1, 2022, to connect with outside entities to evaluate and communicate the district's sustainability and environmental literacy practices and identify additional opportunities for growth. The task force was established in September 2022 and identified three major goals in alignment with the California Green Ribbon Pillars:

  1. Reduce environmental impacts and costs
  2. Improve the health and wellness of schools, students and staff 
  3. Provide effective environmental education which teaches many disciplines and is especially good at effectively incorporating STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) civic skills and career pathways

Goal 1: Reduce environmental impacts and costs

LBUSD is committed to reaching carbon neutrality by 2030 through annual reductions in carbon emissions produced through district operations such as transportation, buildings, waste and food. To achieve this, the district is focused on three primary areas of focus for carbon emissions measured annually.  

Electricity Consumption Natural Gas Consumption Waste Diversion
363 Metric Tons of CO2 42.7 Metric Tons of CO2 51% diversion rate

Energy Conservation

LBUSD is committed to energy conservation through a variety of projects and policies that increase energy efficiency in District facilities, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and increase conservation behavior throughout the District with: 

A districtwide energy management system for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to identify and monitor sources of energy consumptionEnergy-efficient LED lighting and HVAC to reduce power consumption and lower energy costs Solar panel installations to increase renewable energy generation and help offset carbon emissions 

Water Conservation

With at least 40 states anticipating water shortages by 20241, LBUSD recognizes the critical need to conserve water and has undertaken the following efforts to reduce water consumption and increase awareness of water stewardship: 

Synthetic turf athletic fields to reduce unnecessary water useDrought-tolerant native landscaping to minimize the impact on the native landscape and reduce water used for irrigation, which is the largest source of water consumption for LBUSD school sitesSpecialized irrigation services to monitor meters and help prevent water waste from leaks or malfunctioning mechanical equipment

1 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Goal 2: Improve the health and wellness of schools, students and staff

Sustainable practices are critical to creating spaces in our schools and facilities that support student health and wellbeing. At LBUSD, these include: 

An organic landscape and maintenance plan to eliminate use of toxic synthetic pesticides and fertilizersUltraviolet (UV) light in HVAC systems to improve overall indoor air quality for optimal learning environmentsOutdoor learning spaces and maximizing use of natural light within indoor spacesA nutrition program that prioritizes organic and locally sourced fruits and produce and provides salad bars at all school sites

Goal 3: Provide effective environmental education which teaches many disciplines and is especially good at effectively incorporating STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) civic skills and green career pathways

greenhouse at Top of the World Elementary

Fostering environmental literacy gives educators the opportunity to nurture the “whole child,” to learn about and understand nature, and to inspire students to ask meaningful questions about the world around them and their role in it (Torlakson, 2015).  

Onsite gardens used as outdoor classroom spaces, including an 18-foot geodesic dome greenhouse, foster ecological literacy and make valuable connections between disciplinesIn April 2023, the LBUSD Board of Education approved a new certificated position and job description for a Coordinator of Environmental Literacy to lead the district's efforts in implementing environmental literacy education

Additionally, LBUSD is transforming the student learning experience with professional development for teachers to create relevant and authentic units of study. Centered around a driving question that addresses a real-world problem, the redesigned unit lessons encourage student inquiry and facilitate experiential learning. Below are a few lessons that integrate environmental education: 

Solar Power
GSS/Health FLOW* Fire Unit and English 10 FLOW Land Unit
12th-grade FLOW* Unit Redesign