The Solution is in the Sky!

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Hundreds of School Children Rallied for More Solar Power in Los Angeles

Environment California Research & Policy Center

Los Angeles City Hall – Over 300 children from the Betty Plasencia Elementary School in Echo Park assembled at City Hall this morning to rally in support of a solar-powered future for Los Angeles. Carrying signs reading “I Heart Solar Power” and “Go Solar L.A.,” and singing songs such as “Here Comes the Sun and Solar Power to the People,” the children conveyed a vision of their hometown being powered by clean energy.

“It is important to use solar energy to save Mother Earth,” said first grader Derek Quiroz. “Solar energy helps animals, plants and people. It does not disrupt the environment and ecosystems.”

The students, ranging in age from first to fifth graders, thanked city officials for making commitments to solar power and urged their leaders to continue to bring more solar power to Los Angeles.

“I am here to thank our Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for helping to improve our environment by supporting renewable energy,” said first grader Isaiah Frias. “I am so excited about solar energy because it can make our air cleaner and reduce our carbon footprint. I ask that all of our city leaders continue to support solar energy so that my friends and I can have even cleaner air.”

The rally took place a week after a broad coalition of doctors, elected officials, local businesses and environmental groups gathered at City Hall to call for Los Angeles to generate 20 percent of its energy from rooftop solar power by 2020. Achieving this goal would make Los Angeles the solar power capital of the country and bring cleaner air, reduced global warming pollution and more jobs to the city.

“With over 260 days of sunshine each year, going solar in a big way in Los Angeles makes perfect sense to these students,” said Michelle Kinman, clean energy advocate with Environment California Research & Policy Center, who served as the emcee for today’s rally. “Standing with these inspirational young voices today, calling for Los Angeles to embrace more solar power, I am confident that we can achieve a bright future for Los Angeles.”

Today’s rally was the culmination of a yearlong, project-based curriculum undertaken by the first grade students to determine how they could reduce their own carbon footprint by making changes in their own lives and in their community. 

“In our classroom discussions, we talked about how solar energy is clean and safe, and I explained the whole process of it being collected on solar panels,” said Sandra Proano Montanez, a first grade teacher at Plasencia Elementary School. “The children just lit up! Knowing it’s clean, and even saves money, made these kids realize that this is a smart solution to a real life problem.”

The students kicked-off the year by making a student video “The Solution is in the Sky,” produced and directed by Plasencia parents Jaime Goodwin and Seth McLain, and are completing the year by taking their knowledge and calls for more clean solar power to their elected officials. Following today’s rally, a group of 40 first-grade students will travel to Sacramento next week to take their solar message to state leaders, including Senator Kevin de Leon and Assembly Member Jimmy Gomez, with whom they will be meeting.

“The students of Plasencia have clearly responded to the demands of the 21st century that require each student not only to find their voice as they solve real life problems, but also to empower themselves to be active and responsible members of our society,” said Claudia Vela, a first grade teacher from Plasencia Elementary School.

“Our students should feel pride knowing that they have tackled real life issues and exercised their civic duty,” said Julie Gonzalez, principal of Plasencia Elementary School.

At the end of the rally, the children were invited into council chambers by the Los Angeles City Council and introduced by City Councilmember Paul Koretz.  The children wrapped up the morning by singing “Solar Power Shout” before the City Council.



Environment California Research & Policy Center is a statewide, nonprofit, environmental research and policy organization working to protect California’s air, water and open spaces. More information can be found at