Climate change forces urgent move to ‘green’ LAUSD campuses

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“If the school is in a neighborhood that doesn't have a lot of trees or other forms of greenery, then the schools are … epicenters of heat,” says the 19th’s Nadra Nittle. Photo by Shutterstock.

School campuses around Los Angeles are the latest battleground for climate change. Schoolyard blacktops are reaching temperatures in excess of 130 degrees. After much lobbying from parents and children alike, the state of California has stepped up with a $40 million grant to tear out that blacktop and put in trees and greenery to try and reduce temperatures.

“By 2035, [LAUSD] wants all campuses in the district to be at least 30% green,” shares reporter Nadra Nittle of the 19th News. “They're also investing tens of millions of dollars to improve things like heat when it's cold, and air conditioning, obviously, for this time of year, and ventilation. So all things that involve the classroom environment itself, as well as improving water quality at elementary school drinking fountains, because that's also been an issue.”

School starting earlier in the year and heat lasting longer into the fall have made for trying conditions on campus, notes Nittle. 

“You're talking about more months of kids in extreme heat on campuses where they may not have drinking water, they may not be in a classroom with a working or reliable air conditioning system, as well as just lack of shade overall.”