Samohi Students Celebrate SMMUSD’s Renewable Energy Move Hoping to Inspire Others

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The author is a studio at Santa Monica High School. It has been lightly edited.

Excitement builds as Santa Monica High School (Samohi) students, alongside community leaders, prepare to host the “Plugging In” ceremony. The event marks the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s (SMMUSD) transition to 100% clean, renewable electricity, championed by Samohi students, including Team Marine and Human Rights Watch, as well as support from Clean Power Alliance (CPA) and Climate Action Santa Monica. The invitation-only celebration is set for 2:13 p.m. this afternoon on the Discovery Build Rooftop, located at the Samohi Campus, 600 Olympic Blvd.

The clean energy transition involves a shift from the existing energy mix, where SMMUSD currently receives 40% of its energy from carbon-free sources through the CPA. The remaining 60% is provided by Southern California Edison (SCE) for all accounts, except for Samohi, Malibu Middle School and Malibu High School, where SCE supplies 100% of the energy. The decision to switch to clean energy was wholeheartedly approved by the SMMUSD Board of Education at the March 15, 2023 meeting.

As one of Santa Monica’s largest energy users, the District’s shift to renewable energy will result in a significant reduction in heat trapping or greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to moving 1500 homes to clean electricity or more. With a marginal cost increase, this bold move demonstrates the District’s commitment to climate action, sustainability, and listening to the youth voices in times of crisis.

In recent years, Santa Monica has aimed to promote climate resiliency, setting a precedent for cities to address environmental issues. Through numerous initiatives, such as the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, Santa Monica sets its sights towards an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030. This effort has been praised and furthered by student advocacy groups, who hope to inspire more communities to build a sustainable future. Seeing the District’s move to renewable energy, the students aim to set a powerful market signal, influencing other school districts to follow suit and join the global effort to combat climate change.

By advocating for solar adoption and moving away from polluting gas-based heating and cooling systems, young people and adults alike are rallying for cleaner air and reduced dependency on fossil fuels. Nonetheless, the call for renewable energy is not just seen in Santa Monica but echoed across the nation with student groups playing a vital role in promoting clean energy initiatives. As renewable energy stimulates job creation, enhances innovative technology, and mitigates climate change, students are excited to celebrate it.

The Plugging-In event is an opportunity for students and SMMUSD leadership to come together, celebrating a milestone achievement in the pursuit of sustainability and a greener future for all.

SMMUSD has been working on advancing renewable energy and environmental initiatives since the ’80s. The Plugging-In announcement marks the fruition of their award-winning sustainability plan. The event promises to be a beacon of hope for the future, where students, administrators and community members come together to celebrate a cleaner, and more sustainable tomorrow.

Please come and support our community’s passionate advocacy and unwavering dedication to this noble cause. These students have proven that young voices can drive impactful change, inspiring a better, greener world for all.

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