SD350’s Activist Training Workshop

It’s a Saturday.  Twenty-five young San Diegans have arisen early to attend SD350.org’s Activist Training Workshop.  Some animated, some earnest, all very engaged – they’re clumped in small groups talking about what they came for: to learn about climate change activism.

WHY AN ACTIVIST TRAINING WORKSHOP

Juan Ahumada, a twenty-something graduate student and teaching assistant in Communications at SDSU, is a little ahead of the game.  He’s already attended an SD350 meeting, and he had this to say about it: “I expected to see more people my age.”  He’d asked the local Green Party where he could volunteer.  They’d directed him to SD350 as being a climate-change group on the move.  Yes, he found, there’s a lot going on here, but where was his generation?  Juan really nailed it again when he expressed disappointment that he was the only hispanic and the only one from South Bay.

We at SD350.org share his disappointment.  I’m retired and I’ve been attending SD350 meetings for almost two years.  I’m continually bewildered that attendance at our meetings reflects my demographic group more than Juan’s.  After all, the younger you are, the more likely it is that you’ll experience the effects of climate change.  Not only that, California is soon to be a minority-majority state.

It looks as if these imbalances at SD350 could be about to change.  Addressing the shortage of young people and minorities involved in the climate-change movement, SD350 sponsored its first Activist Training Workshop.  The workshop is intended to be an outreach to the diverse generation now coming of age in our high schools, colleges, and the workforce.

On Saturday, August 16th, at the Malin Burnham Center for Civic Engagement at Liberty Station, 25 young adults took advantage of SD350’s Activist Training Workshop.  (Honestly, I’d expected to see maybe a handful, a dozen at best.  What a welcome surprise to see such a response!)  Representing the concerns of their generation were a variety of ethnicities not found in my generation at SD350 meetings and events.  It makes me hopeful to see such a diverse group looking to become active as leaders in our community’s climate-change movement.

WHAT PARTICIPANTS FOUND AT THE WORKSHOP

The youngest workshop participant I interviewed was a high school junior, Amanda Matheson, who belongs to the Environmental Club at Canyon Crest Academy in Carmel Valley.  Amanda came to our activist workshop expecting to learn how to approach people about becoming active in caring for the environment and how to present a positive message that individuals can do something.  She also found value in learning how to introduce herself as an activist by creating a personal story.  She’ll be well on her way to making a difference with those skills. Wouldn’t it be great if she could also pass on what she learned to her school’s Environmental Club?

Tyler Patel graduated in Environmental Engineering from UC Merced, where he learned a lot at his lab-assistant job.  He’s now looking for jobs in water resources, water treatment or water distribution.  In addition, he wants to do work as a volunteer in the environmental movement. Tyler finds it inspiring to attend workshops where he can interact with others who are motivated to become activists.  Tyler likes that he’s finding such opportunities in San Diego because this is where he grew up.

Leaving soon for her freshman year at UC Santa Barbara, Sarah Lengua plans to major in Earth Science.  Sarah is learning from this workshop what it takes to be a true activist.  She looks forward to finding opportunities to become active in the climate-change movement on her university campus.  She may discover a 350.org affiliate already exists there, or possibly be instrumental in creating one.

Juan, who noted he’d been a trouble-maker and a ditcher in high school, now directs his energies towards positive action.  He seeks out opportunities to use his education — especially speech and debate — for society’s benefit.  He sees climate-change action as his opportunity to do this.

I hope Juan, as well as Amanda, Tyler, Sarah and twenty-one others found what they were looking for at SD350’s Activist Training Workshop.  I hope they also found out something else: that we were looking for them, too.

Watch for SD350’s New PSA

Have you spotted our PSA on TV, radio, or online?  Tell us!

SanDiego350 is currently contacting over 50 media outlets to air our new climate change Public Service Announcement.  The PSA invites the audience, who may already be concerned about climate change, to become active in the climate movement with SanDiego350. The first TV stations to confirm they would air the PSA, starting July 17, were the Spanish-language Entravision/Univision affiliates KBNT, KDTF, LATV, XHAS and DDTV. Six other stations including Channel 10 KGTV ABC, Channel 8 KFMB CBS, and Channel 9 KUSI have indicated they will try to air it.

The stations aren’t able to tell us when the PSA will air. IF YOU SEE OR HEAR OUR PSA, PLEASE EMAIL Louise Russell at louiserussell9@icloud.com, indicating the station and the approximate time it aired.  That will help us track how the air time is adding up. If you haven’t seen the PSA, here’s what to watch for:

Image for PSA Blog Post-Crop Top

SD350’s PSA invites viewers to join the climate movement.

The 30-second PSA was put together by a team of SanDiego350 volunteers with technical assistance from Gregg Brandalise of Blindfold Studios, Poway (pro bono) and also from Patrick Espinosa of Cypress Productions, San Diego.  It can be viewed at sandiego350.org.

Posted by Bonnie for Louise.

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.

 

 

Lose That Second Car!

Do you lose anything besides your carbon footprint on public transit?

by Roger Coppock (submitted by Bonnie)

Our family used to be a two-car family, one newer car and an older car.  We’d buy a new car and trade in the old one every 7 or 8 years.  With our automobiles easily available, we used them a lot.  We thought nothing of a 3-mile round trip just to purchase a single trivial item, and probably did something like that every other day.

Somebody else maintains this vehicle! Public transportation can save you money and hassle.

Somebody else maintains this vehicle! Public transportation can save you money and hassle.

Automobiles cost a lot more than their purchase price.  A large fraction of our income went for fuel and auto maintenance.  At least one day a month was spent taking one or the other of our mechanical family members to the car doctor, and that “health-car(e)” program wasn’t cheap.  Often, car maintenance was the major monthly bill.

The Buddha teaches that nothing is permanent: Our two-car family had to change.  One day I discovered that as far as the local San Diego Metropolitan Transit System was concerned, I’m over 60 years old and an Official Old Person now! For $18 dollars a month, just 60 cents a day, I can activate my magic Compass Card and ride any trolley or bus in the San Diego area.

Now, we don’t need that second car.  So, we save the cost of a second car, the cost of maintaining a second car, and the fuel for a second car.  Not bad for 60 cents a day!

President’s La Jolla visit – SD350 rallies against the Keystone pipeline

SanDiego350 in La Jolla, ready for the Presidential Motorcade

SanDiego350 in La Jolla, ready for the Presidential Motorcade

Rally along Torrey Pines Road with 50’ Keystone Pipeline Banner, signs, chants 

Thursday, May 8, 2014 – Over 100 San Diegans gathered along Torrey Pines Road in La Jolla to call on President Obama, who was in the neighborhood for a fundraiser, to reject a permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline. The “KXL”, which would carry dirty tar sands oil from Canada to Texas for refining and export, has been called “game over” for the climate by the nation’s foremost climatologist, Dr. James Hansen.

Participants held large signs, including a 50-foot cardboard depiction of the Keystone Pipeline with the words “Stop the Keystone Pipeline. Fight climate change” in huge letters on it, and a large banner with a quote from the President that participants want to see him keep: “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations”.

SanDiego350’s Emily Wier said that the KXL will greatly increase greenhouse gas emissions and worsen the impacts of climate change – including significant sea level rise, more extreme and frequent storms and wildfires, water shortages, and increases in heat and infectious disease-related health problems – while creating only a few dozen on-going jobs. “Fully exploiting the tar sands will make the most serious effects of global warming inevitable. We need the President to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline, say he’ll veto a pro-pipeline bill in the Senate, and start demonstrating national and global leadership on climate change.”

Phil Petrie, a local artist in North Park, said that the country’s lack of response to devastating climate change is a moral issue. “We have a responsibility to the planet and to future generations to hold our government accountable to take immediate action on climate change. We are here now to make it known to President Obama that we, the people, say: The time is now! Reject this pipeline!”

Eleven-year old Siena also spoke movingly, saying, “Let me tell you what we kids really need.  We don’t need oil. We need clean air to breathe, fresh water to drink, and clean oceans to swim in.”

SanDiego350’s Michael Brackney led the demonstrators in rousing chants, including, “Climate change is here to stay, fossil fuels are not the way,” and “Tell Obama now’s the time, to stop the Keystone Pipeline!”

Bob Braaton said “When this fight started all bets were on the fossil fuel industry – everyone thought the pipeline would go through – but now it’s looking more likely that the pipeline could be rejected. That’s because of us in San Diego, and people just like us all around the country, who have stood up to say ‘enough!’” 

Peg Mitchell of San Marcos said “I’m here today for my six grandchildren. If I didn’t act to stop this horrifying threat to their future, I couldn’t live with myself.”

By Jeff Meyer

Volunteer with SanDiego350

Millennials See Keystone as More Than a Pipeline

Photo Courtesy Diane Lesher, SD350 volunteer
 
By Jeffrey Meyer

The Keystone pipeline proposal has hit a Nebraska stop sign, but it has deeper problems than right-of-way issues across the United States.  After all, the controversial proposal for transporting Canada’s tar sands was never just about the pipeline.  Just ask the thousand students who rallied in front of the White House recently, who were willing to be arrested to make their point

Frustrated and angry over a lack of political action on climate change, our Millennial Generation is not tolerating an ineffectual Congress or President.  This 18-34 year old group in the U.S. are 74 million strong and when the worst happens will suffer the most from climate change.  With little representation in Congress, where the average age is 60, they are looking to civil disobedience as a strategy to create the political will to address this threat.  This will happen not only in our nation’s capitol but on the streets of major cities across the nation, including San Diego.

Keystone has evolved into a generational shift in our energy paradigm and a symbol of our struggle to survive climate change in the 21st century.  It concerns the wealth and jobs that the fossil fuels industry creates, how it has weaved itself into all of our lives and pulled us into a formidable dependency.  With a growing foreboding, however, we are sensing our carbon lifestyle may be lethal to future generations and if they are to survive it is incumbent on us to accelerate efforts to develop other energy sources.

From Washington, D.C. and Nebraska courts, this conflict now swings to Canada, where the Alberta government owns 81 percent of its oil sands and has a long list of investment partners. Besides multinational corporations, one of its biggest sources of investment capital for mining is China, our planet’s largest producer of greenhouse gases.  Alberta looks to collect $1.2 trillion in royalties from its oil sands over the next 35 years, but has increasingly drawn the world’s attention because of the massive girth of pollution from the mining and burning of bitumen tar.

Canada also faces a disenfranchised youth, who feel their voices and futures have been diminished by the enormous profits bitumen tar sands portend.  They are joined by First Nations aboriginal tribes who share the same political paucity and frustration.  Despite the economic benefits of bitumen tar mining on their lands, First Nations people are taking a grim view of irreversible health and cultural damage.  It is a seminal decision for First Nations to continue its relationship with Canadian oil interests and on a larger scale, analogous with our world’s factious accord on reducing the role of fossil fuels in our lives.

The world’s climate scientists essentially agree that if left unchecked, anthropogenic CO2 will worsen extreme weather, raise sea levels and create mass extinctions from a profuse array of environmental changes.   Many acknowledge that climate deniers are fed propagated ignorance by fossil fuel strategists as part of a misinformation campaign, creating a set of beliefs not easily changed.  It creates a polarized electorate, leaving the issue to develop worst case scenarios before action is taken.

In moderation, fossil fuel usage might not have posed a serious threat, but we have moved well past that threshold.  Our burning of fossil fuels produces around 33.4 billion metric tons of CO2 per year and world energy needs are expected to rise about 40 percent over the next 20 years.  CO2 has reached proportions in our atmosphere not seen for millions of years and many scientists warn it may already be too late to mitigate damages.

There is a way forward.  In time, renewables can generate jobs lost in the fossil fuels industry and will sustain our lifestyles. We can consider Generation IV nuclear energy, reportedly much safer than existing technology. Some strategists look to a carbon fee and dividend system that can increase the viability of new renewable energy sources, as well as a carbon import tax on products from countries like China.

As Keystone falters and tar sands mining provokes mounting protests, our nation is compelled to end political bickering and accede Millennials a more powerful voice on climate legislation. President Obama must grasp the significance of this moment, deny the pipeline permit and tell the world his decision has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with leadership.

Jeffrey Meyer is a writer and SanDiego350 volunteer

(Photo at top of page:  Courtesy of Diane Lesher, SanDiego350 volunteer)

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.

Letter on Keystone XL – an Engineer’s Perspective

March 6, 2014

Dear President Obama and the State Department,
President Obama Speaks At Southern Site Of The Keystone Oil Pipeline

As a Registered Civil Engineer, I oppose the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline because I know it will leak and there will be oil spills. Nothing is ever engineered to 100% because it’s just not affordable. Additionally, factors such as human error (in design, construction or operation), material flaws/failure, and unpredictable accidents make the probability of pipeline spills high.

Case in point: Enbridge, a Canadian company, had a pipeline rupture in 2010 which poured a million gallons of tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. It was eighteen hours before it was even discovered! It was the largest and one of the costliest on-land oil spills in U.S. history. The six-foot gash in the pipe was caused by corrosion fatigue.

Case in point: In April 2013, a twenty-two foot crack in an Exxon pipeline caused a devastating tar sands oil spill that began in a residential neighborhood of Mayflower, Arkansas and then flowed into Lake Conway, a drinking water source and popular fishing spot. The EPA classifying it as a major spill, with over 5,000 barrels of crude spilled.

Case in point: TransCanada’s first pipeline had more than a dozen spills in less than a year of operation. The more acidic and corrosive tar sands oil and the risk of external corrosion from higher pipeline temperatures make spills more likely.

Tar sands crude is one of the world’s dirtiest fuels. A pipeline accident could devastate ecosystems, pollute water sources and jeopardize public health. The Keystone XL pipeline would span more than 1,700 miles through farmland and fragile ecosystems, from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast of Texas, where it will be refined and exported. The Keystone XL pipeline would cross six states, major rivers, and key sources of drinking and agricultural water, such as the Ogallala Aquifer which supplies water to more than one fourth of America’s irrigated land and provides drinking water for two million Americans.

During tar sands oil production, the carbon dioxide emission levels are three to four times higher than that of conventional oil. The pipeline would be responsible for 30 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. The energy-intensive extraction and refining processes also result in higher emissions of toxic sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide which cause smog and acid rain.

In considering the Keystone XL pipeline proposal in 2013, the EPA recommended to the State Department that pipelines that carry bituminous sands oil should no longer be treated just like pipelines that carry any other oil.

Additionally, the pipeline will create higher carbon emissions, contribute dramatically to climate change, and threaten our country’s drinking water. This pipeline is not in our national interest.

As a Registered Civil Engineer, I am aware of previous pipeline ruptures and spills. I’m concerned about the integrity of the pipeline from corrosion, faulty welds, material defects, construction equipment and sabotage. I believe the Keystone XL pipeline should NOT be approved. Thank you.

Sincerely,

 Jösan Feathers, P.E.

__________________________________________________________

About the Author:  Jösan Feathers worked as a Civil Engineer for Caltrans and State Parks for 30 years before retiring almost 5 years ago. She and her husband enjoy attending SDSU Aztecs basketball games, traveling and dog-sharing their neighbor’s dog, Rupert, in La Mesa. She volunteers with SanDiego350.org.

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

Climate Chat Notes: Speaking for the Oceans

On Thursday, March 6, at San Diego’s World Resources Simulation Center, Ocean Scientists for Informed Policy (OSIP) shared their impressions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) in Warsaw, Poland

In San Diego, if you want to get involved in a spirited and informed discussion about addressing climate change, a Climate Chat sponsored by SD350.org is the place you will find it.  On the first Thursday evening of March, four members of OSIP returned from their recent experience at the Warsaw COP with concerns that give us at SD350.org even more reason to commit to our own mission, combating climate change.

March 6th Climate Chat with panel of OSIP representatives - at the WRSC Photo courtesy of Steven Shultz

March 6th Climate Chat with panel of OSIP representatives – at the WRSC
Photo courtesy of Steven Shultz

Walking into the large open room of downtown’s World Resources Simulation Center, one sees a series of video screens encircling the room.  On the screens are photos of three young Scripps ocean scientists, Yassir Eddebbar, Natalya Gallo and Lauren Linsmayer, taken with Christina Higuera, chairperson of the UNFCC COP in Warsaw.  Later these screens will feature a lively video of two other OSIP delegates, the media team of Nick Obradovich and Kate Furby, making themselves comfortable on beanbags while they strategize their next move: how to poll the delegates to find out what they actually know about ocean science.  It turns out most know very little.  More on that later.

Scripps Ocean Scientists Show Their Dedication

It would be hard to find a brighter and more energized group of young people anywhere than these members of OSIP.  How they found time, amidst work on their PhDs, to organize themselves as a delegation to COP and then as a panel to field questions at an open forum about the effect of climate change on the oceans is a testament to their commitment to inform the public about current ocean science.

This evening, four of them are here: three Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) scientists, Natalya, Yassir, and pilot-whale researcher Amy van Cise, along with Nick, who is a UCSD political science graduate student.  Before the evening is over, they have convinced this audience that they know their science and, furthermore, they understand the diplomatic and political obstacles facing those who would save the oceans.  When the forum closes, the four stay to answer the questions that keep coming.

Obstacles to Combating Climate Change Provoke Lively Discussion

This is the third Climate Chat sponsored by SD350.org and it has attracted a good audience.  Those of us who arrived early have seats on comfortable stools at high tables with computers in this high energy, high tech venue.  Those who arrive later find places around the room in office space and on assorted chairs and couches.  It’s a full house.  After brief introductions, a call for questions from the floor draws out some daunting obstacles facing any effort to protect the oceans.  An energized discussion of them ensues.

For these graduate students, primary among those obstacles is that scientists who do research and understand what’s happening cannot themselves advocate for ocean-friendly policies.  If they do, they stand to lose credibility, for both themselves and their disciplines. For most scientists, especially young ones who are establishing their reputations, that’s not a risk worth taking.  They need others – like us at SD350.org – to advocate for the oceans as a significant aspect of our combating-climate-change mission.

In response to a question about the efficacy of COP itself, Yassir brings up a knotty diplomatic problem:  No nation owns the oceans, so who bears the responsibility for caring for them?  It will take international cooperation, which in turn will require political will from the politicians of COP member nations.  With many nations looking to the US, the world’s largest economy, for world leadership, progress in forging international commitment to reducing CO2 is currently doubtful.  The money that turns the wheels of our political system, so much of it coming from the fossil fuel industry, makes it difficult even for those politicians who see the need to act now.

That brings attention to another, related obstacle: the lack of urgency among the general public, who haven’t personally felt the consequences of climate change.  This complacency prevents politicians from having the confidence to take action, even if they understand that climate change is real and that human beings are causing most of it.  Without this populist counterbalance to the money poured into their campaigns from the oil industry, politicians are unlikely to stand up for pro-planet policies that defy their major political contributors.  Again, that’s where we at SD350.org come into the picture.  We must work to engender the political urgency needed for positive action.

Interest in Ocean Science Strong Among COP Delegates

Ocean Scientist Natalya Gallo at COP19, Warsaw

Ocean Scientist Natalya Gallo at COP19, Warsaw

Despite the gloomy political picture, the ocean-science panelists found something positive while in Warsaw:  They perceived among the delegates to the conference a hunger for information about the oceans.  Two Scripps scientists – one of them, Natalya Gallo of this evening’s panel – earned venues to present their science at the Warsaw conference.  Their presentations had standing-room-only audiences – a heartening sight to the scientists.

The evidence of such interest in ocean science, plus the energy and commitment of these ocean scientists, makes it obvious that they should continue their efforts.  They should go to the Lima COP later this year with their skills at communicating the data of ocean science; then continue on to Paris in 2015, where a new treaty will be drafted, this time with more specific language relating to the oceans — likely thanks in large measure to their efforts.

 

SD350.org’s Challenge

Meanwhile, it is our job at SD350.org, informed by the latest ocean science, to carry the message of the oceans into the political arena, where we will work on the seemingly intractable problem of generating the political will to combat climate change.  This Climate Chat was, in a way, a passing of the torch from OSIP to us.

Those of us who enjoyed and learned from the Climate Chat owe much thanks to SD350.org’s Dr. Janina Moretti for her hard work in bringing this successful event to fruition and to SIO for putting SD350.org in touch with OSIP.

_____________________________________________________________

Check out Ocean Scientists for Informed Policy

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

Great comment to the State Department on Keystone XL

Vigil-goer calls on President to reject Keystone XL

Vigil-goer calls on President to reject Keystone XL

The damage caused to our atmosphere and our oceans by carbon dioxide that has been released by burning fossil fuels is abundantly clear. The consequences are increasing year by year – acidified oceans harming coral reefs and diatoms (the basis of the oceanic food chain); huge changes in atmospheric patterns that are producing storms and different rainfall and temperature regimes than have been in place for at least 500 years, altering agriculture, silviculture, and the survival of entire ecosystems that are responsible for our hydrological systems. Without reductions in our CO2 output, science has predicted to a high probability that the extreme changes may come to reflect conditions not witnessed in 100,000 years or longer, if we don’t alter our production of CO2.

Leaving fossil fuels in the ground is the best way to stop their use. They are also extraordinary resources, and burning them to power cars, trains, and trucks is absurd in an era when other ways to power these ground transportation devices are available. We will really regret the lack of fossil fuels for those situations for which they are uniquely appropriate if we burn them all up just to roll people from place to place.

Some say that Keystone XL helps the US achieve energy self-sufficiency. Energy self-sufficiency in the US isn’t gained by the US refineries buying Canadian crude from tar sands. This simply guarantees the Canadian companies will make a lot of money. It is good that the US is seeking to be self-sufficient in our energy requirements. However, our national priorities for energy self-sufficiency have been co-opted by the current energy corporate hegemony, to encourage the continued reliance on fossil fuels.

If we prohibit the use of Keystone XL pipelines for transporting tar sand oil, this will slow down its production. British Columbians are barring pipelines to the Pacific Ocean. People in the NE US are coming together to prohibit transport across their states to the Atlantic Ocean. The rest of us need to prohibit transport across the middle of the US to the Gulf of Mexico via Keystone XL.

If we also follow up with mandatory reductions on shipping by rail or truck this would further constrain the Canadian excavation and shipment of tar sands oil.

If, as claimed by a number of critics of Keystone XL pipeline, the refined products are going to be sold to overseas markets, this makes a travesty of the idea that Keystone XL is helping the US be energy self-sufficient. It simply means that the refineries will make money regardless of the long-term needs for fossil fuels in the US for appropriate purposes.

If fossil fuels could be used without releasing CO2 that would be great. Where is the research for that? In the meantime, the only way to reduce CO2 releases is by conservation and by replacing fossil fuels used for generating electricity with solar, wind, tide, heat-pumps, and other already proven technologies that are improving efficiency every year. These, and other as-yet-unknown technologies that might become useful if they are proven to be benign in their impact to the environment (unlike nuclear power which is a very dangerous form of energy production) are the means to energy self-sufficiency and global climate protection. Ground transportation can also be converted to greatly more efficient use of fossil fuels – hybrid vehicles work great!

Our priorities must be switched to solar and wind generated electricity, conservation measures for fuel for heating and transportation, and anything else that we can do to reduce use of fossil fuels. The stakes are immense.

Thanks for considering my point of view and facts in your decisionmaking.

I beg of you, DO NOT AUTHORIZE THE KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE

Kay Stewart

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About the commenter: Kay Stewart is a volunteer with SD350.org and landscape architect with a special feel for melding plants and construction to create serene or playful outdoor places for her clients. She lives with her husband and her tabby cat.

Submit your own comment 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.
Creative Commons License This text by Kay Stewart is used here by permission of the author, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.