Head's Blog

Dear New Roads Village,
I hope that during the remaining precious days of summer you are finding opportunities to focus your attention on those people and activities that nourish you. I always look forward to summer, as it affords me the luxury of time and space to reflect on the school year and the world — to think about where we have been as a school and where we need to go.

My sense of our direction for this year was further affirmed when I went in June to the Annual Heads of School Meeting where Charles Fletcher, author of Climate Change: What the Science Tells us, delivered a talk. When he finished, there was a heavy, long silence in the room. It was uncomfortable as we processed that climate change, which was concerning, is now an urgent crisis — an existential threat to every living being. He made it clear that the time to consistently take steps to lower planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions had to be now if we want to attempt to ensure the future for our children.

Dr. Fletcher’s message, grounded in science, echoed that of 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, a Swedish climate activist who emerged on the world stage in August of 2018. After studying climate change in school at age 11, Greta, as Time magazine chronicles, “felt everything was meaningless and there was no point going to school if there was no future.” Greta’s words seem to give us insight, to some degree, into the global prevalence of anxiety and depression in our young people who, as a participant in a webinar expressed, “are worried about climate change, mass extinctions, acceleration of hate, growing economic disparity, and political craziness. They feel like the generation before them is not paying attention to how they are leaving the world for them.” Although she experienced severe depression, she was eventually able to use her voice to raise awareness worldwide about the climate crisis. In part, she was motivated to protest by the example of her Generation Z peers from Parkland, Florida, who had marched for gun control. Again, our students have become our teachers.

In the article Greta articulates the feelings of many in her generation: “We are children, saying why should we care about our future when no one else is doing that?” Clearly, Greta is calling on us as individuals and communities to show that we truly care about and love the children in the global community by dealing with the climate crisis.

Although I had known climate change has been an issue for decades, I did not realize, though I had heard the song many times previously, that Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” had warned us about the emerging climate crisis in 1971. Here are some excerpts from that song:

Ah things ain’t what they used to be, no no
Oil wasted on the ocean and upon our seas, fish full of mercury
Ah oh mercy, mercy me
Ah things ain’t what they used to be, no no
Radiation under ground and in the sky
Animals and birds who live nearby are dying

Ah things ain’t what they used to be
What about this overcrowded land
How much more abuse from man can she stand?
Given the community that we aspire to be, our village, New Roads, must respond by more consciously and mindfully doing our part to deal with the climate crisis and develop a more healthful and sustainable relationship with our earth. In our Statement of Philosophy, we commit ourselves to “behaving responsibly and honorably as individuals and as an institution, and serving the larger ecological and social community.”

Even within our small community this seems a herculean, nearly impossible task. But as Nelson Mandela reminded us, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Although we don’t know all the answers, and the road to making progress on the climate crisis will be complex and challenging, we have no choice but to begin the process. Like Greta, I want us “...to be able to look back and say [we] did everything [we] could.”

I hope you will all join me in this effort to secure the future for our children.

The New Roads Advantage

In a school that mirrors the socio-economic, cultural, and racial diversity of Los Angeles, New Roads students are challenged daily to question their own worldview, assumptions, perspectives, and righteousness. We are inspired by the promise that our students represent for the future of democracy.