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Why New West schools are turning down the heat in March

Snuggly sweaters and warm socks will help start conversations about climate action.
Socks Getty Images
Wacky Warm Sock Day on March 11 is part of the fun for New Westminster schools' Turn Down the Heat campaign in March.

Snuggly sweaters and warm socks are the order of the day at New Westminster schools in March.

School District 40 is conducting a Turn Down the Heat campaign for the month of March to help raise awareness of the need for climate action.

Instead of turning up the daytime temperature to 21C, the district will leave schools operating at the overnight temperature of 18C throughout the school day.

They’re combining the move with theme days and contests in local schools – including a Say No to Single Use Plastics Day that happened March 1, a Snuggly Sweater Day on March 4 and a Meatless Monday lunch challenge today (March 7). Coming up this week, it’s Skip to School Day on Wednesday, March 9, where kids will be encouraged to walk, skip, ride a bike or scooter or take a bus instead of being driven to school. On Friday, March 11, it’s Wacky Warm Socks Day.

The efforts are being spearheaded by the district’s climate action committee.

District vice-principal Iain Lancaster said the initiative is designed to help engage younger students, in particular, with the concept of climate action.

“The school is going to be a little bit cool for the month to month of March. Why is it going to be cool? Well, let's talk about that. It takes it takes fossil fuels to heat schools, and we're going to save some fossil fuel and we're going to reduce our fossil fuel use by turning down the heat,” he explained during a presentation at the Feb. 22 school board meeting.

“Kids ask, ‘Why am I wearing a sweater today?’ Well, that's a lead-in to a teachable moment as to why the school is cool and why we're turning down the heat.”

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