Sep 3, 2019
This column started over 11 years ago as a way to share individual actions that make a difference for our planet and her people. I still believe all of us have to take all the small steps we can, but it’s clear that only policy changes can save us, and for that we have to work collectively.
But there’re certain people whose individual actions can inspire us all and work to effect policy changes. As I write this,Greta Thunberg, the 16-year climate activist, who last year ago sat alone outside the Swedish parliament holding a sign that said,“School Strike for Climate,” is crossing the Atlantic (during hurricane season) in a zero-emissions sailing yacht to attend the UN Climate Action Summit in New York on September 23rd, called by the Secretary-General of the UN as a direct result of her work.
In one year, she’s inspired students and their adult supporters to protest every Friday—in May there were 1851 strikes in 131 countries with over one million strikers.
Go to https://www.fridaysforfuture.org for details and more information, especially about actions planned for September 20th—27th.
Thunberg, who doesn’t fly for environmental reasons, has traveled by train all over Europe, addressing politicians and world economic leaders who fly in their private jets. Locally, there’re a lot of individuals inspiring us to work for policy changes. Here in Sonoma County, one source of inspiration is Ann Hancock, the Executive Director of the Center for Climate Protection (CCP), which she co-founded in 2001 withMike Sandler to focus on influencing local government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Ann’s work has had far-reaching consequences elsewhere.
The Center was a major instigator of Sonoma Clean Power and the spread of Community Choice Energy across California. Five years ago SCP was the 2nd state Community Choice Agency (CCA); today 19 California CCAs serve over 10 million people, support over 4200 jobs, and reduce GHG emissions by nearly one million metric tons annually, while saving people $90 million on their energy bills. CCP wrote one of the nation’s first county-wide climate action plans for Sonoma County. President Obama recognized Sonoma County as a climate champion.
Ann and CCP are just getting started! Ellie Cohen, former CEO of Point Blue, joins CCP in the newly created position of CEO starting September 1st. “This is a key element of our new strategy to accelerate speed and scale greenhouse gas reductions,” said CCP Board President Efren Carrillo. Added Ann, “Given the dire urgency of the climate crisis, it’s time to expand our capacity and catalyze significantly greater action.
Studies by Harvard political scientist Erica Chenoweth have shown it takes around 3.5% of the population, committed and actively participating, to ensure serious political change.
Help pass SB246, the Oil Industry Levy California, the 5th largest economy in the world, has 72,000 oil wells that produced 165,000,000 barrels of oil last year, while we consume 366,000,000 barrels. That ’s a lot of GHG emissions. In over 100 years as an oil-producing state, California has never taxed extracting fossil fuels; 34 other states do.
At least seven bills to do this have been introduced in California since 1990; in 2006 a ballot measure was defeated after opponents spent almost $100 million.(Last year the oil and gas industry spent $18.3 million lobbying the state legislature.)
As the Climate Crisis intensifies (hey, folks Greenland’s melting! that wasn’t expected till 2070), we must take really serious steps to limit our GHG emissions. SB246 is one of them, but we’re outspent by the industry, so we’ve got be stronger. That’s why we’re going to the Governor. Contacting him is worthwhile as he’s currently involved in the SB 246 discussion; he’s responsive to hearing from us.
Send a postcard to:
Governor Gavin Newsom, 1303 10th Street, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814.
Although not quite as effective, you can also email him at this link: https://bit.ly/33Efv6J.
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