‘It Has to Be a Priority’: Why Schools Can’t Ignore the Climate Crisis

Students engaging in learning
By Mark Lieberman
Originally published May 18, 2022 EdWeek

Fifteen years ago, Greg Libecci quit his career in sales at Fortune 500 companies to do something good for the planet: make public schools more sustainable. Since 2010, he’s been the energy and resource manager for the Salt Lake City district, tasked with minimizing the district’s use of energy and natural gas.

Progress has been slow going.

Libecci initially focused on what he calls “low-hanging fruit”—encouraging staff to turn off lights more often and shutting down HVAC systems during holidays and weekends. When he wanted to make bigger changes, such as replacing HVAC systems or converting fluorescent lights to LED bulbs, administrators told him it would be too expensive, or that it wasn’t the highest priority.