About Masada

Masada Disenhouse co-founded SanDiego350 in 2011 and serves as a Steering Committee member. She is passionate about engaging volunteers and growing a powerful climate change movement.

Clean Energy Forum Mobilizes San Diegans

On Saturday, June 21st over 100 San Diego County residents participated in the “Community Choice Energy Forum” put on by Friends of San Diego Clean Energy, a coalition that includes SanDiego350, Sierra Club San Diego, and the San Diego chapter of CalSEIA (the California Solar Energy Industries Association).

The forum was kicked off by clean energy champion and San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria, who spoke enthusiastically about ramping up renewable energy and moving forward with a strong climate action plan. Supportive Comments were also made by Solana Beach Councilman Peter Zahn, Del Mar Councilman Don Mosier, and Chris Ward, District Director for State Senator Marty Block. SanDiego350’s Bob Braaton gave a heart-felt reflection about why we were there and our task at hand.

There were several great presentations :

  • The World As It Should Be: 100% Clean Energy – Nicole Capretz, policy director for San Diego Council Member Ed Harris
  • The World As It Is: Dirty Power In Our Homes and In Our Politics – Bill Powers and Pete Hasapopoulos, Sierra Club San Diego
  • Breakout Sessions
    • Climate Action Plans – Kayla Race, Environmental Health Coalition
    • Rooftop Revolution – Dave Gersz, CalSEIA / Stellar Solar
    • Power is a Product of Relationship – Pete Hasapopoulos, Sierra Club San Diego
  •  The Marin Clean Energy Story – Shawn Marshall, co-founder, Marin Clean Energy
  • Power is Taken Not Given – Emily Wier, SanDiego350

Photos from the event courtesy of Diane Lesher

Read more about Community Choice Energy and email us to find out how you can help bring it to San Diego.

 

 

Patagonia grant for SD350 anti-fracking campaign

by Peg Mitchell, March 30, 2014

Masada Disenhouse fields many phone calls from San Diegans wanting to know more about SanDiego350, but an especially welcome call came from Paul Amato of the Patagonia store in Cardiff back in January. Paul indicated that their foundation, which gives grants to local, grassroots, non-profit organizations doing environmental work, had some funds left at the end of the year and they might be interested in supporting us! Masada described many of the areas we work with, emphasizing our anti-fracking project which he had mentioned seeing on our website. Masada described our all-out fracking campaign that includes public education, empowering people to speak up to their elected officials, op-eds & letters to the editor, and educating decision makers and elected officials. She also spoke to the fact that we are an all volunteer group getting a lot done, with each campaign bringing in additional new people, developing grassroots leaders, and growing the organization.

Moreover, Masada effectively made the case that fracking is really key right now. SB4 passed, studying and regulating, but not stopping the practice. A new bill (SB 1132) seeks to expand the impact studies SB4 calls for, along with imposition of a moratorium until those studies are completed and adequate safeguards are in place. Work is needed to lobby the legislature for its passage. She explained that we see fracking as a key issue because extracting that oil and gas will exacerbate climate change, in addition to jeopardizing our drinking water supply through huge consumption of water along with possible ground water contamination. Masada highlighted how we were the only group working on this in San Diego County, emphasizing that we were connected with groups around the state on legislative strategy, public outreach and education, and pressuring the governor.

The result? Paul invited us to apply for a grant! But we had to do it very quickly…

The team immediately got in gear. Peg Mitchell, the fracking campaign lead, after first speaking further with Paul, completed the four page form on their website that summarized the organization and the planned activities in the fracking campaign that the grant would fund. Based on that, Masada fleshed out the budgetary aspects while Peg authored the full grant application. Nicole Peill-Moelter, Emily Weir and Masada provided editing and additional input and within less than two weeks the full application was submitted.

SD350’s Peg Mitchell receives a check for $5,000 from Cardiff Patagonia’s Paul Amato

The result? A short time later Paul notified us that we would be awarded a $5,000 grant for our fracking campaign! By the time Peg picked up the check, plans were already well underway for how to use it, starting with offsetting some (not all) of the expenses related to chartering the bus and acquiring T-shirts for the March 15 “Don’t Frack California” rally in Sacramento.

One issue that the team discussed before deciding to proceed was whether to accept funding from a corporation. But this isn’t your typical “corporation” – in fact, it’s the kind of company that we are proud to be associated with as they not only share the same ideals we do, but they “walk the talk”. For example, during the “Black Friday” Thanksgiving day weekend when many other stores were making employees work the holiday itself or obscene middle of the night hours, they actually closed the store on Black Friday to give their staff the day off. They periodically have “field days” where the store is closed so employees can take time to try out the products they sell while at the beach surfing! But more importantly, they are an ecologically conscious ethical corporation who is a great role model for how business can be conducted without sacrificing the environment or ignoring the needs and rights of employees. You can read more about their vision of Corporate Responsibility.

So here’s your chance to get involved! With funding in hand we will now proceed full steam ahead to engage the public. We will create more public education materials, banners and signs for use at tabling and fairs, starting with the April 27th Earth Day Fair in Balboa Park. Additionally we will continue to engage with the legislature as SB 1132 moves it way through the Senate and hopefully the Assembly. Finally we will be front and center at a public hearing with Dave Roberts on April 21st on fracking (Info/RSVP), with the goal of educating the Board of Supervisors and the public on the water related issues.

SanDiego350 wishes to thank Patagonia for their consideration and appreciation of our activities. We are proud to partner with a company that embraces and shares our ideals for a clean, livable planet for our kids and future generations.

To join our fracking team contact Peg Mitchell.

Creative Commons License This text by Peg Mitchell is used here by permission of the author, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Keystone Pipeline Comments due March 7

The State Department’s 30 day comment period for the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Keystone XL pipeline is underway and will end on March 7, 2014. That will bring us another step closer to the President making a final decision.

Amazingly, the FEIS stated that there will be no significant environmental impact if the pipeline is built, which is simply put – unacceptable. The report essentially sidesteps the question of climate impacts by stating that the tar sands would be developed one way or another. Read more about the flawed FEIS at DesmogBlog.

350.org response: During the State of the Union, President Obama said he wanted to be able to look into the eyes of his children’s children and say he did everything he could to confront the climate crisis. How exactly does he plan on explaining to his grandchildren how building a 800,000 barrel a day tar sands pipeline like Keystone XL helped solve climate change? The twisted logic in the State Department’s environmental assessment might provide some political cover in DC, but it will be small comfort for future generations who have the bear the impacts of the climate crisis.

We need to FLOOD the State Department with our comments, and make sure that Secretary Kerry & President Obama hear us!

TAKE ACTION: Submit your comments at the State Dept Website: http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=DOS-2014-0003-0001 by March 7, 2014. You can also submit comments via 350.org.

Please feel free to use the talking points below, or to write your own. Either way, make sure you GET ON RECORD as another person opposing the Keystone Pipeline.

KEY POINT: The Keystone Pipeline is not in our National Interest.

The Keystone XL Pipeline is dangerous, dirty, and destructive. America’s best climate scientists have said that the pipeline will lead to a substantial increase in carbon emissions, as well as threaten America’s credibility as a climate leader. 

Additional points you can choose to make:
  • Keystone XL will contribute dramatically to climate change. The State Department confirmed that tar sands fuel is up to 19% more greenhouse gas intensive than conventional fuel, and the tar sands industry admits that Keystone XL will lead to more tar sands production.
  • The total carbon pollution impacts of Keystone XL are the equivalent of putting 51 million cars on the road when considering the total emissions of tar sands and refining processes.
  • Contrary to claims made by supporters of the pipeline, the pipeline could end as many jobs as it creates with toxic spills in farmland or water resources.
  • Only 10% of the created jobs would be filled by local people living in communities along the route.
  • Building a new pipeline now will lock us in to higher carbon emissions when we should be rapidly investing in renewable energy that cannot be exported and will provide a secure energy future.
  • Processing heavier, dirtier tar sands oil will increase the amount of toxic pollutants in communities near refineries that are already suffering from high rates of asthma and cancer.
  • New data suggests that the current analyses of the impacts of tar sands under-estimate the climate impacts of tar sands pollution by at least 13% because they don’t account for a high-carbon byproduct of the refining process used as a cheap alternative to coal: petroleum coke.
  • The pipeline’s risk to water has not changed at all with the new route. It still crosses the Sandhills and the Ogallala aquifer, and this was the reason that Gov. Heineman, Sen. Johanns and President Obama rejected the route the first time around.
  • The pipeline will cross more than 1,000 water bodies across 3 states and 875 miles threatening drinking water for people, farms, and ranches with a devastating tar sands spill.
  • This pipeline poses an unacceptable risk to water. TransCanada’s first Keystone pipeline spilled 14 times in the U.S. in its first year of operation, and Enbridge, another pipeline operator, suffered a spill of more than one million gallons in the Kalamazoo River in 2010.
 Questions? Email us.

Gov. Brown: Honor service of CPUC Commissioner Ferron

Probably the friendliest commissioner on California’s Public Utilities Commission which makes decisions on energy requirements and what kinds of energy we use in California, FerronMarkJannounced this week he is leaving the PUC because of his battle with cancer. He issued a parting statement that is powerful in calling on the rest of the CPUC to buck the utilities and push for renewable, distributed energy. It’s short, worth reading.

Here’s a 5 minute action you can take: send two emails (press & excerpts from the commissioner’s statement are below the 2 requests):

1) To Commissioner Ferron, thanking him for his service and for his statement. Sample:

Dear Mark Ferron,

I am sorry you must leave the CPUC for health reasons and wish you a full recovery. I wanted to thank you for your forward-looking record as a commissioner and for your public parting statement calling on the CPUC to be vigilant in not letting the utilities obstruct California’s goals for clean energy, a green economy, and addressing climate change. As an activist in San Diego County I will try to use your statement effectively. I hope the Governor appoints a worthy successor. Good luck and thank you again.

2) To the governor, calling on him to walk the walk on climate and appoint a worthy successor to Ferron. Sample:

Dear Governor Brown,

I was saddened to see Commissioner Mark Ferron resign from the CPUC this week due to his health. He was a great appointment by you, and his parting statement was spot on in highlighting the CPUC’s responsibility to navigate California to meet its clean energy and climate change goals even as the utilities battle to maintain their fossil fuel monopolies and “strangle” rooftop solar. As the CPUC considers replacement energy for the shutdown San Onofre plant, the timing could not be more crucial to have a strong voice for a clean energy future on that commission. I urge you to honor Commissioner Ferron’s service and commitment – and your own stated commitment to addressing climate change – by appointing a worthy successor to his position. Nothing would honor him more than appointing a commissioner to carry on his vision for advancing clean energy and climate solutions who would replace Mr. Peevey as the President of the CPUC. Thank you for your consideration.

Local press:

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/jan/18/utilities-poisoned-chalice/
http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2014/jan/17/ticker-california-public-utilities-commissioner/
http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/14759

http://www.kcet.org/news/rewire/government/departing-public-utilities-commissioner-has-strong-words-for-utilities-legislators.html

Excerpt from Ferron’s six parting observations:

1. First, there is no better place to be than California when it comes to energy and climate policy. We all know that there is no real Federal energy or climate policy, thanks in large part to the obstructionists in the Republican Tea Party and their allies in the fossil fuel industry. But in California, we have a clear commitment to green-house gas reductions and are taking bold and exciting steps in advancing renewables, energy storage and Electric Vehicles. (Parenthetically, I do believe that California has lost pace with the best in terms of Energy Efficiency and Demand Response.) We are at an inflection point where the convergence of new technologies, changing economics and, I hope, an added urgency to address our deteriorating climate, will combine to create exciting new business and policy opportunities.

2. We are fortunate to have utilities in California that are orders of magnitude more enlightened than their brethren in the coal-loving states, although I suspect that they would still dearly like to strangle rooftop solar if they could. Modern utilities are subject to a rapidly evolving business environment, and I wonder whether some top managers at our utilities have the ability or the will to understand and control the far-flung and complex organizations they oversee. And I am very worried about our utilities’ commitment to their side of the regulatory compact. We at the Commission need to watch our utilities’ management and their legal and compliance advisors very, very carefully: it is clear to me that the legalistic, confrontational approach to regulation is alive and well. Their strategy is often: “we will give the Commission only what they explicitly order us to give them”. This is cat and mouse, not partnership, so we have to be one smart and aggressive cat.

4. Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, with the passage of AB327, the thorny issue of Net Energy Metering and rate design has been given over to the CPUC. But recognize that this is a poisoned chalice: the Commission will come under intense pressure to use this authority to protect the interest of the utilities over those of consumers and potential self-generators, all in the name of addressing exaggerated concerns about grid stability, cost and fairness. You – my fellow Commissioners – all must be bold and forthright in defending and strengthening our state’s commitment to clean and distributed energy generation.


San Diegans Join Nationwide Protest Against Keystone XL

By Jeffrey Meyer

Mayor Bob Filner and over 500 San Diego protestors in Mission Bay Park joined similar rallies in cities across America Sunday in protest of the Keystone XL Pipeline project, beginning a massive effort to demand President Obama block it and call for leaders at all levels to take action to fight global warming. (Watch coverage on 6 TV stations)

Speaking at the San Diego rally, Mayor Bob Filner expressed his concerns about Keystone, climate change and what he wants to do in San Diego.

Mayor Bob Filner (photo by Diane Lesher)

“If we’re going to save our beaches in San Diego, we need to take our heads out of the sand, especially the tar sands,” he said, imploring the Mission Bay crowd to push President Obama to deny permits for the Canadian pipeline that is part of a massive proposed tar sand mining and pipeline project intended to deliver bitumen slurry to Texas coastal refineries.

Mayor Filner explained that every level of government has to take some responsibility for dealing with global warming and that San Diego can be a national leader in the use of alternative energy sources.

Link to more photos and video

“I want to have solar power in all San Diego public buildings within the next five years,” he said.  “San Diego can lead the nation in the use of alternative energy and moving away from fossil fuels.”

Part of a nationwide protest, with the major rally drawing an estimated 35,000 people today in Washington D.C.,  numerous San Diego groups participated in the rally, cheering numerous speakers,  waving banners and hoisting protest signs.  Major organizers locally were  sandiego350.org, Citizens Climate Lobby, the Sierra Club, the Environmental Health Coalition and Greenpeace.

Also, speaking at the rally, Dr. Jeffrey Severinghaus, director for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Climate-Ocean-Atmosphere Program, said there is an abundance of misinformation about climate on the public airwaves making real climate science more needed than ever.  About 98 percent of climate scientists and researchers around the world agree with Severinghaus that humans, and not nature, are the source for the additional CO2 that is causing global warming.

“There is no such thing as Republican physics or Democratic physics.  Physics is physics.  Accurate science is desperately needed, now more than ever, and that is why I’m speaking up   We need to draw a line in the sand on the use of tar sands,” he said.  “Those who will suffer the most are not yet born.  We need to act now and speak for them.”

Banner on the I-5 overpass (photo by Alex Turner)

He noted San Diegans should show support for a new bill bill to curb carbon pollution introduced this week by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).  “You need to let Boxer know you have her back,” he said about the new bill which has an estimated tax potential of more than a trillion dollars and would be invested in sustainable energy programs, with a large portion returned to taxpayers.

Former State Assemblywoman and present Chair of the Executive Committee of Sierra Club, San Diego chapter, Lori Saldana, also spoke at the rally, offering her perspectives on Keystone and climate change. “We’re here today as part of a nationwide call for President Obama to step up to the plate and stop the Keystone Pipeline once and for all – and to begin implementing policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, something that California pioneered,”  she said.

Another speaker, Rev. Dr. Beth Johnson, minister of Palomar Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Vista, who has been involved in the environmental movement  for over 20 years,  said “Everything is connected and everything is at stake.”

Elizabeth Perez-Halperin, a Native American, military veteran and green business owner, said “My Native American roots and military experience have influenced me to become an environmentalist and conservationist. The threat of not protecting our environment is a national security issue.”

High-schooler, Tierra Gonzalez-Hammonds (daughter of Lorena Gonzalez, labor leader and candidate for the 80th Assembly District), also spoke, addressing her concerns about her generation’s future in a heated world.

Franco Garcia, of the Environmental Health Coalition, talked about the impacts of climate change on some of the people hardest hit locally. Simon Mayeski, a member of SanDiego350.org, said “It is of utmost importance that President Obama ‘see the light’, show us the leadership we need and reject the XL Pipeline. We need long-term clean energy relief, not a short-term CO2-laden fix.”

Scientists expect the sea level to rise at least three feet by 2100 due to global warming caused by CO2 generated by our use of fossil fuels.  This means that much of Mission Bay and the San Diego area will be covered in several inches of sea water at high tide, and we will have enormous areas subject to flooding during storms.  Sandy beaches up and down the coast could be washed away, destroying property values, wildlife habitat and tourism.  Key climatologists believe the exploitation of tar sands and our relentless release of CO2 will tip our planet’s temperature into a catastrophic nightmare, and unless action is taken now, they say the damage will be irreversible.

Rally banners (photo by Dennis Griffin)

World Bank call to “Turn Down the Heat”

The World Bank has released a new report called Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must Be Avoided. It is the first major report to acknowledge we are not likely to succeed in keeping temperatures below 2°C warmer. The report discusses how the poorest countries will suffer most from the devastating impacts of climate change and aims to instill a sense of urgency in world leaders.

From the foreword by World Bank President Jim Yong Kim:

“It is my hope that this report shocks us into action. Even for those of us already committed to fighting climate change, I hope it causes us to work with much more urgency.

This report spells out what the world would be like if it warmed by 4 degrees Celsius, which is what scientists are nearly unanimously predicting by the end of the century, without serious policy changes.

The 4°C scenarios are devastating: the inundation of coastal cities; increasing risks for food production potentially leading to higher malnutrition rates; many dry regions becoming dryer, wet regions wetter; unprecedented heat waves in many regions, especially in the tropics; substantially exacerbated water scarcity in many regions; increased frequency of high-intensity tropical cyclones; and irreversible loss of biodiversity, including coral reef systems.

And most importantly, a 4°C world is so different from the current one that it comes with high uncertainty and new risks that threaten our ability to anticipate and plan for future adaptation needs. The lack of action on climate change not only risks putting prosperity out of reach of millions of people in the developing world, it threatens to roll back decades of sustainable development.”

Read more:

ACTION: Send comments to SD on Climate Mitigation & Adaptation Plan (CMAP)

The City of San Diego must put together a climate plan in keeping with AB32 and other state laws. Unfortunately, the plan staff plans to send to the City Council for approval is very inadequate, not even meeting the stated goals and relying on too many voluntary and other measures that are out of their control.

Please send in a comment by October 1, 2012. We will also be posting details of the hearings at City Council where we can comment.

Email Instructions:
- Subject: City of San Diego Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Plan
- Text Body (Feel free to edit!)

Dear Councilmembers:

The City of San Diego Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Plan (CMAP) is an important start to addressing the issues of climate change in San Diego. However, the CMAP fails to meet State climate targets in 2035 and beyond, and relies too heavily on voluntary measures and assumptions regarding changes to federal and state mandates to reach the reductions in the plan.

Although the CMAP emissions targets are in line with state mandated goals, there are no strategies outlined in the CMAP that will get us to the 2035 or 2050 targets. The CMAP needs to include bold measures that will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions starting now, not in 2020 or 2035.

The CMAP should include measures that strengthens mass transit and bicycling, prioritizes sustainable land use, and follows a better Regional Transportation Plan (RTP).

We need to increase energy efficiency and conservation, incentivize renewables, especially rooftop solar, and transition away from fossil fuels.

Building codes should be strengthened to ensure that new homes are as energy and water efficient as possible. Incentives and financing for retrofitting are needed.

We need to explore options to reduce waste, and procure food and products locally.

The City needs to provide education, outreach, and be a leader in climate change.

Thank you for your consideration,

[YOUR NAME]

California launches “Just the Facts” website on Climate Change

According to a new website launched by the California office of Planning & Research, climate change poses an immediate and growing threat to California’s economy, environment, and to public health.

The website goes on to discuss California’s groundbreaking efforts to reduce emissions and prepare for impacts, Climate Change Just the Factsand to refute the arguments of opponents of action on climate change who have mis-characterized the science. The website has links to sections on climate science, scientific consensus, as well as climate deniers and their arguments.

Visit the website here: http://www.opr.ca.gov/s_climatechangefacts.php

Human Wave at Mission Beach Shows Sea Level Rise

Connect the Dots! Dot #1: in the last few years we are seeing higher temperatures worldwide and more frequent and severe weather events. Dot #2: this is climate change. Dot #3: climate change is caused by emissions from burning fossil fuel. Dot #4: with rising temperatures, oceans are expanding which will cause more frequent and severe coastal flooding in low-lying coastal communities such as Mission Beach. The sea level rose 7 inches in the past century in our area, and scientists expect it to rise another 12-18 inches by 2050. This means that much of Mission Beach, including homes and businesses, could have several inches of seawater flooding at high tide, and be inundated during storms. The sandy beaches up and down the coast could be washed away, destroying property values, wildlife habitat, and tourism.

On May 5, about 100 San Diego 350ers gathered at Mission Beach to form a human wave symbolizing these events. Walking up the beach waving blue sheets, we showed expected sea level rise by 2050. After speakers told us what we can do to fight this process, we walked back down the beach to show how we can limit these changes if we act now. It is up to us.

Further photos for our event are here.

Bill McKibben Visits with SanDiego350.org

On May 14, 2012, acclaimed author, Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, gave the Keeling Memorial Lecture at the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla. For an hour prior to his lecture, he met privately with 36 members of San Diego 350.org.

Bill noted that  the fossil fuel industry, the richest industry in the history of the world, is the biggest obstacle to climate action. We have a choice: either a healthy fossil fuel industry or a healthy planet. We cannot match the enormous financial resources of the fossil fuel industry, so we need to build a “people movement” at the grassroots level and put it to work politically. This is what is happening. As 350.org has spread around the world, the movement is made up mainly of “black, brown, Asian, poor, and young people,” which is what most people in the world are.

In light of the upcoming elections, Bill suggested two approaches to confronting the fossil fuel industry in the U.S.: (1) ending oil subsidies which 80% of voters in all parties support and (2) exposing politicians – their financial connections to the fossil fuel industry and their track records on climate change. Perhaps in the next 5 years, a price on carbon may be possible.

Here are a few additional thoughts that came out of the meeting. As happened in the recent fight over the Keystone Oil Pipeline, the climate movement needs to be nimble and agile–able to mobilize quickly to address issues as they come up. We should think globally but act locally and consider doing things that are small enough to be possible but large enough to matter. We have a great resource locally in Scripps Institute where several top scientists are located. We should cooperate with other like-minded groups in the community.

Overall, Bill was encouraging but realistic. He inspired us to keep working for climate change action.

Additional photos from our meeting with Bill are here.