There's a disconnect between state and local when it comes to concern over climate change and adopting clean energy. In February, the Idaho House passed K-12 science education standards
that omitted any reference to fossil fuels' impact on climate change, only to be overridden by the Idaho Senate. City Hall is striking a different tone, as Boise Mayor Dave Bieter was among the first mayors in the country to subscribe to the Mayor's Agreement on Climate Change in 2005, and the Public Works Commission will get an update on the Climate Adaptation Assessment later this week.
Boise-area high school students—members of the Climate Justice League—and the Idaho chapter of the Sierra Club
met at Camel's Back Park on July 10 to announce they, too, should have a say in how the city and state work toward clean energy and address climate change. Presenting Boise City Council President Lauren McLean with more than 1,000 postcards thanking the city for its efforts to embrace renewable energy
, they said they were disappointed with with the Idaho House's resistance to including climate change in science education standards.
Boise City Council President Lauren McLean accepted postcards from Boise students pressing for renewable energy use.
"If we don't do something now, our lives are going to change," said Adam Thompson, a student at Capital High School, who added he believes the State of Idaho is doing itself a disservice by largely ignoring the threat posed by climate change. "Idaho is now sprinting in the wrong direction."
Therese Etoka, a recent graduate of Boise High School who will attend college in Connecticut this fall, said the effects of climate change are mostly suffered by marginalized communities like the poor, people living in rural areas and people of color.
"There's people that are left out, and those are people who are the most impacted," she said. "We're representing rural communities. It's about all of Idaho."
One of the students who testified before the Idaho House Education Committee in February, Etoka said she was silenced by its chair, Rep. Julie VanOrden
(R-Pingree), who cut off testimony from anyone who referenced climate change.
"That was disheartening," she said. "I was taken aback. I wasn't even sure what I'd heard."
Speaking to the students, McLean said she would like to take the postcards with her to City Hall, where they can be put on display, and reiterated her and the City Council's commitment to combating climate change and working toward using 100 percent clean energy.
"Our council and our mayor are really with me in wanting to make this happen," she said.