Dear SMMUSD Board,
Our Malibu Schools have different needs than Santa Monica, and I hope in the end we all come to agreement that it is best for Malibu to become its own school district. As the founder of our Malibu Agricultural Society, with an award from Senator Fran Pavely for our work in ending the use of rodenticides in and around our Santa Monica Mountains, we are pragmatic in looking for solutions to our challenges in Malibu. (Rodenticides are anticoagulants that are poisoning 80-90% of our wildlife higher in the rodent food chain.)
Malibu’s Mission Statement in our General Plan states to preserve our natural resources, including our wildlife. This year our city passed a resolution against the use of rodenticides citywide. Many cities neighboring the Santa Monica Mountains have followed suit. Just recently California banned Second Generation Anticoagulant Rodenticides for consumer use! At the national level, EPA regulations are in process and because of the California ban, we have hope that the legal battle blocking the nationwide EPA regulations will be ended. These are actions that have started in Malibu. We are able to show our children how to be game changers for our planet! Public policies that are being affected so that our economy supports safe products, healthy people and a healthy planet!
Yet, with all these effort, if we are still using rodenticides at our high school, we are failing as stewards of our planet. The amount of poisons that is being routinely poured on our local Malibu High School grounds that our children are being exposed to is criminal. Let’s put up owl and raptor boxes that encourage an ecological balance. Let’s plant flowerbeds with California native, drought tolerant irises and mints, and other flowers that the ground squirrels detest. If we must trap or kill rodents, please, let’s do it in ways that are non-toxic. Our City of Malibu Parks and Recreation Department is not using any poisons on its playing fields, cleaning the outside area after ball games and social events for any leftover food attractants, using habitat modification and traps without poisons. Even our Trancas’ Vintage Market and Malibu Country Mart are using alternative methods for controlling rodents, like putting lids on all trash cans. Please end the use of rodenticides at our schools.
Finally, our family has felt betrayed by the district, in not being informed of the PCB’s. One of our daughters, now a senior at MHS, was in a chemistry class over the summer of 2011, when 48 truckloads of toxic dirt was lifted from the ground. This was unacceptable. Another daughter use to sit on the grass with her friends during lunch, and her friends would get rashes that would last more than 24 hours. They learned they could not sit on the grass.
I wish we were told the ground was found to have PCBs, as they are neurotoxins and carcinogenic. If we now know that this was a World War II site using binary toxic compounds, I ask that the soil be tested again at a depth of 30 feet. I am asking that the toxic levels at our high school be addressed urgently and immediately, openly and honestly, so that we have solutions in place this month, for healthy, toxin free schools.
I hope this conversation brings an awareness of not only the toxicity in our schools, but also in all of our consumptive habits that trash our planet. I hope this conversation is a game changer. Malibu is a highly visible community and that we in Malibu can begin choosing solutions and products with a more sustainable footprint. Annie Leonard from “Story of Stuff” says, as citizens working together, we hold the key to developing this new economy as we put policies and practices in place. Our local economy can support safe products, healthy people and so a healthy planet.
With Hope for Positive Change, June Louks