La Mesans Demand an Effective Climate Action Plan

By Joan Raphael

La Mesa residents in the audience hold signs showing support for a strong Climate Action Plan

La Mesa residents in the audience of the Planning Commision hearing hold signs provided by SD350 to show support for a strong Climate Action Plan.

On Wednesday, June 3, concerned citizens came together at a hearing of the La Mesa Planning Commission to press for a stronger Climate Action Plan (CAP). Many of those who came to speak were volunteers with SD350. The hearing turned out to be an uplifting reminder of what regular folks working together can achieve.

California’s cities are creating Climate Action Plans, following executive orders from Governors Brown and Schwartzenegger to comply with state targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions pursuant to provisions in the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32). Citizens at the hearing noted that La Mesa’s draft CAP includes no fixed timelines or mechanisms to quantify reduced emissions, and relies largely on promoting voluntary measures such as installation of solar power by individuals and businesses.

Nicole Capretz speaks

Climate Action Plan’s Nicole Capretz speaks to the La Mesa Planning Commission about the legal hazards of an inadequate Climate Action Plan.

Nicole Capretz, Executive Director of Climate Action Campaign, who developed the City of San Diego’s highly praised CAP, added support to the SD350 volunteers’ and other La Mesans’ voices.  She pointed out that the La Mesa draft-CAP’s lack of measurable, enforceable provisions and timeline for implementation renders the city vulnerable to expensive and time-wasting legal challenges of its CAP.

Volunteers from SanDiego350, speaking on their own behalf as citizens of La Mesa, added that the city could learn from the legal troubles of San Diego County and SANDAG, who were sued in court and lost because of the inadequacies of their CAP.  They urged the Planning Commission to craft a CAP that would not siphon taxpayer dollars away from services and would be a genuine effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

La Mesan Angela Deegan encouraged the commissioners to aim for 100 percent clean energy by offering Community  Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), also called Community Choice Energy.  CCA would allow the City of La Mesa to   procure electricity generated from renewable sources and deliver it through existing transmission lines.  Community residents and businesses would have the choice of buying electricity from a La Mesa CCA or from the utility.  Deegan emphasized that with CCA, La Mesa can achieve higher greenhouse gas reduction goals and also provide more competition in the local energy market, giving consumers a choice they don’t now have.

Co-organizers of SD350 volunteers, Jean Costa and Angela Deegan stand with Masada outside La Mesa Council Chambers before the start of the hearing.

SD350 volunteers and La Mesans Jean Costa, Masada Disenhouse and Angela Deegan (l-r) preview the messages they will deliver to the city’s Planning Commission.

Masada Disenhouse, co-founder of SanDiego350, noted that Governor Brown has issued a new executive order increasing the state’s emissions goal to 40 percent below 1990 by 2030.  (The previous goal had an extended target date of 2050.)  Disenhouse concluded, “The Governor’s recent executive order sends a clear message: We need to act boldly today.”

After all the speakers had voiced their concerns, the commissioners voted unanimously to send the draft Climate Action Plan back to staff for reconsideration in light of the information provided at that evening’s hearing.  While this is clearly a small victory for citizen action, the battle for a strong La Mesa Climate Action Plan has not yet been won.

The CAP hearing opened with Margaret Meade’s inspirational words: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”  In closing, Commissioner Jim Newland praised the citizen speakers for their participation in the democratic process.  La Mesans, it is clear, will be watching to see that their new Climate Action Plan does indeed pass muster.


Guest blogger Joan Raphael is a Youth Services Librarian for the City of San Diego. She hopes that the kids she has seen grown up will have a better future because climate change has been ameliorated.

A similar article entitled “La Mesans Call for Effective Climate Action Plan, Planners Vote to Reconsider City’s CAP” has been published in the Communities section of the East County Magazine.  Click on the link for this and other La Mesa news.


San Diegans Say No to TPP Fast-Track

Activist participation numbered in the fifties as the event got under way

Activist participation numbered in the fifties as the event got under way and grew as members got off work and were able to join the rush-hour rally.  Here, as the rally was winding down, many gathered for a group photo.

Wednesday, May 27, SanDiego350 joined forces with the Sierra Club, Climate Action Campaign, Environmental Health Coalition and others to urge local Congressman Scott Peters to vote against fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.  Our message: TPP is bad for people, bad for the environment, and bad for the climate.

Rounding a bend on La Jolla Shores Drive, UCSD commuters met SD350 placards and banners.

Rounding a bend on La Jolla Shores Drive, UCSD commuters met SD350 placards and banners.

Underscoring that TPP-climate connection, the backdrop for the rally was world-class climate-research center Scripps Institution of Oceanography, located in Peters’ district.  Activists positioned themselves at a strategic bend on La Jolla Shores Drive, where commuters would come face-to-face with colorful placards and banners, as they wound down the hill from UCSD.  Messages such as “Rep. Peters, Lead on Climate Change”  and “TPP -> Climate Change” elicited waves, thumbs up, and honks of approval from passing cars.

TPP’s negotiating partners include twelve nations that represent 40 percent of the world’s  economy. Environmental groups are concerned because the trade agreement’s dispute resolution provisions and the secrecy surrounding the terms of the agreement will undermine democratic processes needed to protect the environmental, health and labor laws.

While addressing the crowd, Masada turns to engage SD350 members Ashley Mazanec and Dave Engels

While addressing the crowd, Masada turns to engage SD350 members Ashley Mazanec and Dave Engels.  Kali Gochmanosky  catches the scene on video.

SanDiego350’s Masada Disenhouse voiced the concern that “85% of the people writing this deal come from lobbying groups representing massive corporations whose primary concerns are not climate change or the rights of workers.”  Also of grave concern is the secrecy surrounding the trade document: Congress members, who must vote on whether to fast-track the trade deal, may only review the document under highly restricted conditions.

Speaking on behalf of the Sierra Club, Davin Widgerow warned, “TPP would give large multi-national corporations the right to sue governments in private, non-transparent trade tribunals over environmental regulations that corporations allege would reduce their profits.”  Canada was sued under a similar provision in NAFTA and ordered by a tribunal to pay $5 million to Ohio-based S.D. Meyers in a case involving the disposal of toxic waste. Germany is currently being sued for $4.6 billion under an EU trade agreement over its decision to phase out nuclear power.  These payouts to large corporations will ultimately be paid by taxpayers.

Kath Rogers speaks to the crowd.

Kath Rogers gestures to the crowd as she emphasizes local effects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Kath Rogers, Operations Director for Climate Action Campaign, added that local governments, too, can be subjected to litigation, which will inhibit enforcement of environment and labor laws. The TPP, Rogers predicted, “will make it more difficult for local governments like San Diego to pass their Climate Action Plans,” which under California law they are required to do.  Rogers appealed to Congressman Peters to remember his connection to his community, where he has been a climate action leader.

Peters' Chief of Staff Maryanne Pintar hold a "petition" for a theme of flushing the TPP down the drain.

SD350 participated in other anti-TPP actions.  Here Peters’ Chief of Staff Maryanne Pintar holds a “petition” for a theme of flushing the TPP down the drain.

While the speakers were rallying the crowd, social-media savvy activists tweeted and facebooked photos and messages, according to a plan designed especially for this event. Placards displayed Congressman Peters’ office phone number and active hashtags for passersby.  Especially popular with the activist crowd were selfies with the SIO campus, the seaside town of La Jolla, and the blue Pacific in the background. That spectacular backdrop was a reminder to all of us how important it is to protect our beautiful world from the threat of misguided policies, like the TPP.

The event was a huge group effort, SD350 members showed their generous support of climate action by helping in many ways.  They’re documented here by photographs taken by Bill Avrin, Bonnie Funk and Masada Disenhouse.

Sue Zesky and Hugh Moore paint a banner with letters large enough that passing drivers can easily see their message.

Sue Zesky and Hugh Moore paint a banner with letters large enough that passing drivers can easily see their message.

Emily Weir emcees while Angela Deegan scouts for tweeting opportunities.

Emily Weir emcees while Angela Deegan scouts for tweeting opportunities.








SD350's Michael Brackney and Sierra Club's Anelli Ford share their concerns about the fast-tracking the TPP.

SD350’s Michael Brackney and Sierra Club’s Anelli Ford share their concerns about the fast-tracking the TPP.

Volunteers hold placards for Sierra Club's Davin Widgerow.  Kali gets his speech on video.

Volunteers hold placards for Sierra Club’s Davin Widgerow. Kali gets his speech on video.







After the rally is over, Sue. Masada, Paul and Bill help load up signs and gear.

After the rally is over, Sue. Masada, Paul and Bill help load up signs and gear.


Placard-holders silhouetted against the Pacific Ocean remind us that it’s a beautiful world that deserves protection from threats like TPP.

Signholders silhouetted against the ocean.

Signholders silhouetted against the Pacific Ocean.

Earth Fair 2015 Scrapbook


In early observance of Earth Day, dozens of SD350 volunteers, high on solar power and down on fracking, showed up Sunday, April 19th to work at Earth Fair 2015.  (Officially Earth Day is April 22nd.)  60,000 fair-goers crowded into the park, many of them crossing Cabrillo Bridge and walking along El Prado where they came upon SD350’s Sustainability and Anti-Fracking booths. What a great spot for visibility! — right there on Balboa Park’s only western access route.

On the Prado

Volunteers are kept busy answering questions and soliciting petition signatures.

Volunteers Ken Fowler, Bob Braaton, and Bruce Graves are kept busy answering questions and soliciting petition signatures.

All day long on El Prado we could see from a distance that the largest groups of people were gathered in front of our booths, easily identified by our Blue Man and our willing volunteers bobbing with their yellow sun hats.                 — Sue Zesky, SD350 Earth Day volunteer coordinator


Easily visible, SD350’s Blue Man, Paul Sasso, helped slow traffic down so volunteers could corral visitors with our message about climate change: It’s happening, humans are causing it, and together we can do something about that.

Concerned mom urges son to listen while Emily explains what the family can do to guard his future against climate change.

Concerned mom urges son to listen while Emily Weir explains what his family can do about climate change. It’s his future.

Blue Man embrace of a kindred spirit from outer space draws cameras.

Blue Man’s embrace of a kindred spirit from outer space draws cameras.







A new attraction this year was the photo booth.  Volunteers enticed passers-by with the lure of having their picture taken for signing petitions on Nooks, also new this year.  With signers often waiting, volunteers could have used more of those Nooks.  Over 800 people signed petitions.

SD350's photo both offered fun sourvenir of  Earth Fair

Petitioner-signers got this fun souvenir from the photo booth.

Signers could don a wig or a mustache and hold their choice of climate-change slogan placard for three photos that would be made immediately into a bookmark they could take with them. Kids, especially, had fun mugging for the camera while their parents signed two petitions, one to Governor Brown to stop fracking in California and the other to Mayor Falconer to strengthen San Diego’s Climate Action Plan. Three copies of each bookmark were made. Two were signed on the back to be delivered, one to the governor and the other to the mayor, and the third went home with the petition-signer.


       Over 800 signatures gathered!


San Diego’s former Interim Mayor, current Councilman and Climate Action Plan champion Todd Gloria came by to offer encouragement.  He even joined in the photo booth hilarity.

Emily Weir and 350-man usher Todd Gloria into the photo booth, while Masada stands by with a petition and climate-change brochures.

Emily and Blue Man usher Todd Gloria into the photo booth, while Masada stands by with petitions and climate-change brochures.

All day long, people entered and exited Earth Fair by way of Cabrillo Bridge, providing many opportunities for SD350 volunteers to engage them in conversations about combating climate change.

Nicole appeals to fair-goers to learn about the harm caused by fracking.

Nicole, sporting a newsboy-in-knickers look, appeals to fair-goers to learn about the harm caused by fracking.

Fracking Team members seized this opportunity to inform the public that fracking degrades the environment and the water supply in a number of ways. But engaging people who know little about climate change issues takes some ingenuity. To introduce fracking to people who didn’t know what it was, Nicole Peill Moulter used this easy-to-grasp image:

In the past oil was easy to access, like a swimming pool of oil not too deep underground. We could drill a well and suck the oil up, like through a straw, without much effort. Now all that easy-to-access oil and gas has been used up. The only oil and gas left is locked up in shale rock layers many thousands of feet underground. So we have to use more extreme extractive processes like fracking.

Peg Mitchell found herself challenging a skeptic from the financial industry who didn’t like the idea of disrupting the economy with new policies to address climate change. She approached him from his own perspective: Hearing from her that there are known financial risks associated with climate change gave him something to think about.


The Garden of Eating

Rob speaks to a crowd gathering to see his display of dumpster-derived food waste.

Rob speaks to a crowd gathering to see his display of dumpster-derived food waste.

One big attention-getter at Earth Fair 2015 was Rob Greenfield’s eye-catching Food Waste Fiasco, found in the Garden of Eating.  In addition, this year SD350’s Planet-Based Diet Team had a massive educational display right at the center of the park in the Plaza de Panama.  The featured message was the astonishing amount of greenhouse gases contributed to the atmosphere by animal agriculture — more than that produced by all transportation worldwide!

Colorful vegan sampler.

Attractively presented vegan sampler.





But the Garden of Eating had even more to offer, including live music and informative talks from their stage — with colorful vegan recipes to sample.


Kate ?? serves vegan sample to audience attending Planet-Based Diet Team's presentation at Garden of Eating stage.

Kate Placey serves vegan samples to an audience attending Planet-Based Diet Team’s presentation at the Garden of Eating.

Dynamic singer draws an audience to the Garden of Eating.

Dynamic rapper Kiyoshi Shelton draws an audience to the Garden of Eating with his empowering message of healthy, conscious living and hope for humanity.


High-Fives and Solar Smiles

In fact, SD350 gave this Earth Fair a lot of its energizing color.  High-fives from SD350’s Blue Man came in sizes from Adult Extra High to Toddler Extra Cute.

You're not so scary, Mr. Blue Man.

Wow! A big blue man and he’s giving me a high-five!

350man in high-5 (2)


Blue Man, being very tall and very blue, got people’s attention, but what drew them in was the photo booth. When Councilman Todd Gloria came by, he entered into the spirit of signature-gathering and smiled for the camera.

Kids in fake glasses with big noses and mustaches pose for their bookmark photos.

Kids in fake glasses with big noses and mustaches pose with important messages for their bookmark photos.

Todd Gloria holds a placard for his session in the photo booth.

Todd Gloria holds a placard for his session in the photo booth.










Among fair-goers, reactions were varied and the interest level high.

A supporter or a skeptic?  Hard to say, but Bruce has her attention  ... or does she have Bruce's?

A supporter or a skeptic? Hard to say, as Bruce explains climate change … or is she explaining it to Bruce?

He shakes the hand of a happy fan.

He shakes the hand of a happy fan.

An extrovert, SD350-man's appeal is universal.

Blue Man’s intergalactic appeal.

It was quite a day, exhausting but ultimately gratifying.  Many SD350 volunteers spent the whole day gathering electronic petition signatures on Nooks, explaining the need for a ban on fracking or how animal agriculture affects climate change, taking time out to wander around and see other booths and displays, and enjoying the camaraderie of our big group effort.

Peg was joined by her grandson.

Peg shares an SD350 solar smile with her grandson .

Bonnie draws in a passerby with, "Hey, you got that at the Garden of Eating, right?"

Bonnie draws in a prospective petition-signer with, “Hey, you got that at the Garden of Eating, right?” Not long after, she got signatures on both petitions.









A SanDiego350 high-ten to all who worked so hard to make our Earth Fair effort so successful.

High-tens for all the volunteers who worked so hard and with such spirit to make our Earth Fair effort so successful!

  's sunny smile gave our effort a friendly and inviting vibe.

Volunteer John Garcia welcomes the crowd with his solar smile.





Thanks to SD350 volunteers Bill Avrin, Janina Moretti, Martha Sullivan, Masada Disenhouse, Ashley Mazanec and Angela Deegan for sharing photos they took at Earth Fair 2015.











SD350 Awarded Patagonia Grant for Anti-Fracking Efforts — Again!

For the second year in a row, SD350 has been awarded a grant from the outdoor clothing company Patagonia. This year’s grant, which again recognizes SD350’s activism in the fight against fracking in California, is for $5000.

Patagonia logo tee-shirts and jackets are often seen on back-country trails.

Patagonia logo tee-shirts and jackets are favorite outdoor garb.

Patagonia’s grant program donates 1% of annual sales – not profit! – to local action-oriented organizations that build public involvement in defense of the environment. In a video on the company’s grant website, Lisa Pike Sheehy explains why: “No matter how much we strive for sustainability, we are still using non-renewable resources. For that, we tax ourselves.”

A privately held company, Patagonia has the freedom to fund grassroots groups that use creative methods to engage communities to take action on environmental issues, actions that include but also go beyond education and awareness-building. “We often fund groups that other companies don’t feel comfortable funding,” says spokesperson Hans Cole, adding, “Maybe it’s because the issues are too political or too hot. That’s where we feel we can make the most difference.”

Patagonia store at the corner of San Elijo Blvd. and Chesterfield Avenue in Cardiff.  .

Patagonia store at the corner of San Elijo Blvd. and Chesterfield Avenue in Cardiff.

San Diego County’s Patagonia store, which encouraged and received our grant applications, is located in Cardiff.  Local Patagonia stores accept grant proposals throughout the year. These are reviewed by the employees’ Grants Council at the Ventura headquarters, but the employees at the local stores are actively involved in deciding where the money goes for grants in their region. The Cardiff store North County is where the story of SD350’s successful grants begins.

At the end of the 2013-14 grant cycle, the Cardiff store still had money not yet granted. Because that store’s employees were concerned with the spread of fracking in California, they were looking around for a local group with an active anti-fracking record. They found SD350, and their representative Paul Amato contacted SD350’s Masada Disenhouse. That conversation, in which Masada detailed our anti-fracking activities, convinced Amato that SD350 should apply for a grant. Masada turned the project over to Peg Mitchell and Nicole Peill-Moelter, co-leaders of the Fracking Team, who wrote last year’s successful proposal.

For this year’s proposal, Peg and Nicole built on last year’s, emphasizing the year’s successes which had been helped along by the first Patagonia grant. Again, the reapplication began at the Cardiff store, where SD350’s Sue Zesky was soliciting donations of raffle items for the fall fundraiser featuring Bill McKibben. She was asked if SD350 would be interested in applying for a grant. Unaware we’d already been a grant recipient, she told Masada, which was how she found out about the first successful grant application.

SD350 Fracking Team members  ? Peg MItchell, and ?accept grant check from Cardiff store manager Dalton ???

SD350 Fracking Team members Helen Bouirne, Peg MItchell, and Margie Williams accept grant check from Cardiff store manager Dalton Smith.

The second proposal asks again for funds to build on SD350’s efforts to build a powerful grassroots movement with the goal of achieving a ban on fracking in California. The Fracking Team now has ongoing programs of community education, advocacy, and coalition-building throughout San Diego County, while at the same time managing to gain media visibility for those efforts.

Patagonia particularly supports SD350’s emphasis on coalitions with other local organizations, like CoastKeeper, Environmental Health Coalition, Activist San Diego, Citizens Climate Lobby, and others, exceeding last year’s goal of ten such partnerships. Within SD350’s membership, commitment to anti-fracking activism increased from 50 to 589.  This past year a collaboration formed between SD350 and IBEW Local in San Diego has generated a lot of enthusiasm. The electrical workers union has been helping us make the case that the clean energy economy does not have to sacrifice jobs.

Says Fracking Team co-leader Nicole Peill-Moelter of this second successful grant, “We’d accomplished so much with so little money, we earned that grant.”

The work of co-leaders Peg and Nicole has been recognized by invitations to join in organizing statewide anti-fracking actions. Peg was invited to attend a Californians-Against-Fracking Leadership Summit to discuss growing the movement and mapping out the 2015 campaign to stop fracking locally and statewide.

Ever the optimist, Peg gave this response to a question about future grant applications: “When the new application period begins on May 1, we may re-apply to make up the difference between the $5000 we received this year and the $12,000 we can possibly receive in a calendar year.”

Congratulations to Peg, Nicole, Masada, Sue and all SD350 members whose contributions of time and hard work have grown and energized the anti-fracking movement in San Diego County.

Plant-based Diet for a Healthy Planet

Garden of Eating

Hungry? Step Inside Earth Fair’s Garden of Eating!

Many of us take pains to do the right thing for the environment. We may recycle, take shorter showers, and turn the lights off when leaving a room. But did you know that you can eat your way into making an even bigger difference?

It’s true: food choices matter in so many ways. The great news is this is an area where personal health and happiness come together with conserving resources, building community, and addressing climate change – not to mention more compassion for the animals we share this planet with.

SD350 Planet-Based Diet Team

A recent SanDiego350 Planet-Based Diet Team book discussion of Comfortably Unaware. Click photo for the event presentation Powerpoint!

At this year’s Earth Fair on Sunday, April 19 from 10am – 5pm in Balboa Park, SanDiego350’s “Planet-Based Diet” team invites you into the Garden of Eating, where you can experience the pleasures of good food, good life, and good earth – and we promise, it’s anything but rabbit food!

Why Check It Out?

An overwhelming body of research shows that plant-based is planet-based. The UN says, “The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.”

How can this be? In a nutshell, we are now rearing 70 billion livestock animals for slaughter annually on a planet of 7 billion people, with both numbers growing each year. Yet our resources are finite, and it takes quite a bit of them – and causes shocking amounts of environmental damage – to accommodate these animals before they end up on our plates.

Got Drought?

PBD quote 3Take, for example, freshwater depletion. Per Pacific Institute, the crop receiving most of drought-stricken California’s water is alfalfa hay (livestock feed) and a whopping 47% of California’s total water footprint is associated with meat and dairy. Yet: “Eating lower on the food chain could allow the same volume of water to feed two Americans instead of one, with no loss in overall nutrition” (Scientific American, “Growing More Food With Less Water”). While Shorter showers save about 2.5 gallons, National Geographic says the average vegan diet saves 600 gallons of water per day! With California’s water supply running out, there’s no single more effective way to help save it.

Other areas of resource depletion in which animal agriculture is being called a leading cause are deforestation, water pollution, rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, and ocean dead zones. The documentary “Cowspiracy” explains this in further detail (check out their extensive fact sheet).

The Climate is Changing

And then there’s the creation of greenhouse gases and climate change, which is the focus of SanDiego350. Although energy and transportation are major contributors, animal agriculture is responsible for 35% of methane and 65% of nitrous oxide emissions, which trap much more heat than carbon dioxide (UN FAO). In PBD quote 2fact, animal agriculture is reportedly responsible for more emissions than all forms of transportation combined (UN FAO), with one more recent study finding it is responsible for 51% of total emissions (Worldwatch Institute)!

Deutsche Bank Research says, “Greenhouse gas emissions from meat-eating warrant the same scrutiny as do those from driving and flying.” And Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the UN IPCC, begs us, “Please eat less meat—meat is a very carbon-intensive commodity.” He adds that doing so is the most immediate and feasible way to reduce emissions in a short period of time.

Do Fish Count?

Although fish are often considered a more environmentally friendly option, our population’s demand for seafood is simply greater than the oceans are capable of producing. Outrageously, one third of all fish removed from the ocean, with most discarded as “bycatch,” are fed to livestock. Scientists say the oceans will be completely depleted at this rate by 2048. Additionally, removing too many fish from the ocean sets off a chain of events that further warms the atmosphere. Due to this rapid depletion of wild sea life, about half of the world’s fish currently come from fish farms, which are incredibly environmentally destructive and often poorly regulated.

But Grass-Fed Beef and Cage-Free Eggs Are Fine, Right?

Those opposed to factory farming may be reassured by meat labeled grass-fed, cage-free, local, organic, or sustainable. But what do these words really mean in this sense? Although impacts may be less in some areas, producing animal versus plant foods still uses far more resources and creates more greenhouses gases under any circumstances. Far more plants can be produced on a given acre of land, and using fewer resources, than animal foods. And ultimately, creating demand for meat products is what necessitates factory farming in the first place due to scarcity of land.

Need, Not Greed

Finally, consider the fact that one-third of all arable land on earth is used to grow livestock feed while millions of human beings starve to death each year – yet the World Hunger Program at Brown University found that a plant-based diet can feed billions more people. This seems like reason enough to give veg eating a try, no?

Death and Taxes… and Meat?PBD quote 1

With all this destruction being caused by animal agriculture and fishing, why are meat and animal products still so prevalent? Apart from current preferences and habits, it’s a clear case of profit over planet. Gigantic tax subsidies ($38 billion for meat and dairy vs. only $17 million for fruits and veggies, per Meatonomics) keep the price of meat products artificially cheap compared to the amount of irreplaceable natural resources used to produce them, and the true environmental cost is deferred to future generations ­– and possibly ourselves.

But Where Do You Get Your Protein?

Is a plant-based diet healthy? Most definitely! It is the American Dietetic Association’s position that vegetarian and vegan diets are “healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases” and “are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle.” If our closest relative, the gorilla, can thrive as an herbivore, so can we!

Luckily, plant-based eating is a trend that’s here to stay. Vegan alternatives are getting better and better, and are now available in most grocery stores.

At the Garden of Eating, plenty of samples, demos, speakers, performers, factoids, and other features await you once you step inside, including nationally recognized environmental activist Rob Greenfield’s “Food Waste Fiasco.” Jimbo’s, San Diego Soy Dairy, and Be Wise Ranch have generously donated food and supplies for our food demonstration stage. Vegetarians and omnivores alike are welcome! No “vegan police” will be present. The hope is simply for you to come away inspired and excited about plant-based eating.

Garden of eating logoThe Garden of Eating will be located adjacent to the Timken Museum. Get more event info and RSVP here!

Bring your appetite, and we’ll see you there!

Graphics by Amy Duncan/Wonder Creative.



Rob Greenfield Donates to SD350’s Planet-Based Diet Team

Local powerhouse environmental activist and SanDiego350 member Rob Greenfield has kindly donated a $3,000 advance he received to a cause he passionately believes in: using our forks to change the world.

He has designated $1,500 to SanDiego350’s Planet-Based Diet team (which he is also now a member of), which advocates the environmental benefits of shifting to plant-based diets and reducing food waste, and the other $1,500 to FoodShift, a group that works to reduce food waste. Rumor has it that the advance is for a Discovery TV show Rob will be featured in!


Rob in a green field. (Photo:

This self-described “adventurer, activist, and dude making a difference” employs attention-getting tactics such as cycling across the US and living in a 50-square-foot San Diego home to promote living simply for the environment’s sake. Greenfield has been featured on BuzzFeed, the Huffington Post, the Discovery Channel, USA Today, the LA Times, and more. He has vowed to live without bills or debt and to donate all of the money he makes to non-profits.

Although Rob chooses to live by example in every area of his activism, in his viral blog post “Lessons Learned From a Year Without Showering,” Rob writes, “If I could do only one thing to live in a manner that is good for the earth, my community, and myself it would be eating a plant-based diet.”

Much of Rob’s donation will be used for the Planet-Based Diet team’s “Garden of Eating” (click for Facebook event) area at EarthFair 2015 on April 19 in Balboa Park, which will take up a substantial area adjacent to the Timken Museum. The area will feature several of San Diego’s own 100% vegan food vendors, information exhibits, and a raised stage for speakers, performers, and cooking demos. Rob’s popular “Food Waste Fiasco,” in which he displays perfectly edible nonperishable food he rescues from dumpsters to spread awareness that up to 40% of food is thrown away, will also be part of the area and sure to draw a crowd.


Rob at a previous Food Waste Fiasco, surrounded by food he rescued from dumpsters to show how much perfectly good food is wasted. (Photo:

SanDiego350 gives a heartfelt thank you to Rob for his generous donation! We are very proud to call him a SanDiego350 and Planet-Based Diet team member.

To learn more about how animal agriculture and food waste contribute to climate change and global resource depletion, visit our Planet-Based Diet team webpage.

Recycling Water to Our Garden

Juan at Activist Training Workshop in August

Juan at Activist Training Workshop last August

SD350 Member’s Family Makes Water Recycling Simple and Do-able

Last September, SD350 sponsored an Activist Training Workshop.  One of the attendees was Juan Ahumada, a graduate student, Teaching Assistant and Undergraduate Adviser in the Communications Department at SDSU.  Juan had been looking for an organization where he might direct his energy and skill towards the purpose of combating climate change.  In this open letter for our blog, he describes how his family recycles water to their garden, helping to mitigate the 19% of California’s electricity used for pumping water, as well as the energy used in mechanized agriculture and transportation of food to market.  The simple methods of water conservation he describes here will become ever more important as we adapt to climate-change-induced drought.  The more families that practice home gardening with recycled water, the better our region will be able to deal with the consequences of climate change.  The following description of how Juan’s family does this is inspiring — and very do-able.   Bonnie


My name is Juan Ahumada, I am a SD350 volunteer and climate activist. I wanted to post a short blog on how my family and I go about recycling our water in order not only to have a beautiful garden, but also to be mindful of the water crisis that has plagued our state.

Could this be corn coning up with the verbena and cactus in a neighborhood garden?

All the plants in our garden are watered by recycled household water.

Having always been a low-income family, we have needed to adjust our life-style in order to save as much money as possible. One of the most important things we do to save money is pick fresh fruits and veggies from our garden.  To have this healthy benefit, we use recycled water.

Saving water and having a beautiful garden in the process is very easy to do. All you really need is a bucket, some land, and a little bit of time. My family uses water from baths and showers, hand washing, laundry, and dish washing in order to water virtually all of our plants. This not only saves us hundreds of dollars a year in water costs, but also provides us with fresh fruits and vegetables year round.

Most of our water — with the exception of outflow from the washing machine — is moved by hand via buckets to the garden. We simply lock up the bathtub drain in order to keep the water in the tub, then scoop the water up and put it in a bucket that is always kept next to the bath. Then when we are ready all it takes is a quick trip outside to pour the water into whatever plants need watering on that day. We repeat this same process with all of our sinks. On a daily basis we average approximately three-to-five buckets of water for the garden from this method alone

Here we've staked bean vines with branches, recycling garden waste, too.

Here we’ve used bamboo that also grows in our garden as stakes to hold up beans and tomatoes.

It didn’t take very long for us to notice that the most wasteful appliance we have in the home is our washing machine. In fact, for every load of laundry the machine will use anywhere from 2-3 buckets of water which we are then expected to just let go to waste. Well, instead we collect that water in a large tub and using either a hose or a water pump we transport the water to several locations within the garden.

The plants don't seem to mind soap bubbles and they discourage pests.

The plants don’t seem to mind soap bubbles and they discourage some pests.



By engaging in water recycling my family not only saves hundreds of dollars each year, but we are able to do so while still maintaining a beautiful year-round garden providing us with all sorts of fruits and vegetables.

The water we recycle easily makes up over 60% of the water we need to keep our garden healthy and productive. In return, our garden provides us with many different foods ranging from multiple species of cacti, prickly pears, to apple trees, a pomegranate tree, an avocado tree, cinnamon, and even sugar cane. For my family, saving water and gardening have always been a big part of our lives. We first did it out of necessity, but now we do it because it’s simply the right thing to do for the environment, and our health.


Rally Rhyme

Rally Rhyme

March for Real Climate Leadership, Oakland




A quiet sleep did fly us there,

Us travelers with tangled hair

But not so tangled up in knots

As governors in chess board spots.


The push and pull of tug-of-war

2for sons and daughters, what’s in store?

We’ve come from miles, miles away

Please hear our woes, as woes they stay:



3Please let our land be free from waste

From toxic streams and rumbling earthquakes

For thirstier we grow each year

Without your help, we’ll drink our tears.

The wells are running dry, they say

And yet we wait another day.


Lawless acts and bleeding noses

Residents of Dish have told us4

Scrolls unroll the chemicals

This practice is now medical.


Airborne benzene, CO2,

The price of power is up to you.5


 Dear Governor, please hear our voice

 With energy we have a choice.

6 7 8 9 10 11

SanDiego350 Applauds President Obama for Keystone XL Veto (Press Release)

Calls on the President to reject the project outright

SAN DIEGO, CA – In San Diego and across the nation today, citizens concerned about climate change applauded as President Barack Obama vetoed legislation that would have forced him to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline (KXL). SanDiego350 (SD350), an all-volunteer climate action group, called the presidential veto a battle won in the fight against KXL, but noted that it does not stop the pipeline’s construction. The pipeline would cross an international border, so its ultimate approval rests with the President. SD350 is urging the President to take this last crucial step.

Masada Disenhouse, a co-founder of SD350, said, “Yes, of course I’m happy that the President vetoed the Keystone XL pipeline.  But I’m more anxious for him to finally reject it once and for all.  If he fails to take this action – that is totally within his power to do – then he fails to be the climate leader that the world so desperately needs right now.”

President Obama has promised to disapprove construction of the KXL if it would make climate change significantly worse. Federal agencies and top scientists agree that it would.  The 800,000 barrels of crude oil to be transported daily through KXL will be extracted from the tar-sands of Alberta, Canada. Oil extracted from tar sands crude causes 17% to 22% more carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions than does oil produced from conventional crude oil. The destination of this particularly dirty crude is the refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast, from where most of it would subsequently be exported.

Another SanDiego350 co-founder Janina Moretti said, “KXL would create only about 35 permanent jobs and it’s only in the short-term interests of TransCanada and not at all in the interests of the average American who is already starting to experience disruptive weather events related to climate change.  Looking at it as a Southern Californian, why risk worsening our already critical drought and wild-fire situation to help out a corporation?”

According to climate scientists, we must keep global warming at or below 2° Celsius (or 3.6° Fahrenheit) to avoid the worst impacts. They estimate that, to stay within that limit, humanity must burn no more than 565 gigatons of carbon by 2050. Globally, it is estimated that five times that amount exists in oil, coal and gas reserves, meaning that 80% of these reserves would thus need to be left in the ground to keep global warming within the range recommended by climate scientists. SD350 argues that the extra emissions associated with tar sands crude oil production make the case for leaving it in the ground even stronger.

Noting this link between KXL and climate change, Peg Mitchell, a grandmother and volunteer with SanDiego350, stated, “If I didn’t act to stop this horrifying threat to my grandkids’ future, I couldn’t live with myself. This country should be focused on a moonshot-type effort to get off all fossil fuels now.”

Opponents of KXL include groups concerned with public health. RN Janice Webb, regional director of the California Nurses Association-National Nurses United, weighed in: “Nurses denounce the Keystone pipeline as a danger to public health.  Keystone’s tar sands oil poses a far greater hazard than conventional oil, and has already caused a spike in cancer deaths, renal failure, lupus and hyperthyroidism in Alberta, Canada.  Accidents in oil transport have become all too common and cause disastrous contamination of air and water supplies.  We call on President Obama to stand up for the health of children, the elderly, and all people, and oppose the Keystone Pipeline.”

SanDiego350 and its partners have actively opposed the Keystone pipeline since early 2013, with rallies and “pipeline walks”  in Mission Bay, Mission Beach, Balboa Park, La Jolla, downtown San Diego and even at Comic-Con.  They stand against the endless mining of fossil fuels and for an expedited transition to clean energy. The time is now, they believe, for the President finally to reject KXL outright.

From Comic-Con 2013    
2013 Comic-Con

From Feb 2013 Rally at Mission Bay Photo by Alex Turner
February 2013, Rally at Mission Bay – Photo by Alex Turner

California Nurses Association at downtown KXL vigil, February 2014 by Diane Lesher
February 2014, California Nurses Association at KXL downtown vigil –  Photo by Diane Lesher

Mission Beach. February 2014 - photo by Doug Fowley
February 2014, Mission Beach  – photo by Doug Fowley

SanDiego350, an all-volunteer, non-profit organization, is concerned about climate change and its very real effects on our livelihoods, well-being, and the future for our children. We work to increase awareness of climate change and advocate for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We are loosely affiliated with, the international climate organization, whose work inspires us.

Photo Essay: High Water Line

Martin Luther King Day was a gorgeous winter day in San Diego, perfect for visually demonstrating the effect of climate change on one of our favorite communities, Mission Beach.  Sea-level rise is already starting to affect this popular beach community, and by 2050 high tides will be reaching across Mission Boulevard.  Misson Bay Flooding Map from SD FDN

By the end of the century, if public policy towards climate change doesn’t recognize the threat of sea-level rise, Mission Beach will be mostly under water.  The purpose of demonstrating this threat was to create public support for a stronger Climate Action Plan (CAP) for San Diego in an effort to mitigate the disastrous effects of climate change.

Michael Brackney and Linda Case look encouraged by the support of Mike of Kokjaks

Michael Brackney and Linda Case look encouraged by the support of Mike of Kojaks

With the aid of a map showing where the High Water Line (HWL) is likely to be by 2050, the Crowd Engagement Team (CET) planned a “public art installation” event, using a mechanical chalker to create a visual representation of  the HWL along the east-side sidewalk of Mission Boulevard.  The original idea for this event comes from Eve Mosher of Brooklyn, NY.  Find out about events like ours that Eve has inspired at

In the two weeks preceding our event, members of the CET and the Media Team canvassed community businesses to tell them about SD350’s plan to stage this event.

Because Mission Beach has already experienced some effects of sea-level rise, notably at high tides during storms, we found that most business owners and residents see the need for stronger public policy to mitigate climate change.  Canvassers were able to gather fifty-three signatures from business owners, employees and residents to urge the San Diego City Council to adopt a stronger Climate Action Plan.

Ray gets a signature from the owners of Arslan's and Vashida's Greek Restaurant.  Some of us returned to eat a late lunch there after the HWL event.

Ray Paulson gets a signature (and a free sample!) from the owners of Arslan’s and Vashida’s Restaurant. Some of us returned to eat a late lunch there after the HWL event.

Jeanne and Ellen: Time to get started.

Jeanne and Ellen are all smiles: Time to get started.


On the actual day of the HWL chalking, SD350 volunteers gathered at the north-east corner of Mission Boulevard and Mission Bay Drive.  The eagerness on the faces of CET-leader Jeanne Peterson and record-keeper Ellen Speert (with the clipboard) indicate they’re ready for the day’s action.



The media showed up right from the start.  Channels 6, 8, 10 and KPBS covered our HWL event.  (See links to media coverage below photo gallery.)

KPBS cameraman films Dwane Brown interviewing Mission Blvd. business owner.

KPBS cameraman films Dwane Brown interviewing Mission Boulevard business owner Jason Daung.

So, how does one go about generating so much interest and media coverage for chalking a high-water line?  You can come along with us as we walk north on Mission Boulevard, chatting with news folks, tourists, residents and business owners along the way..

Leaving Belmont Park's historic roller coaster behind, the line starts north on Mission Blvd.

Leaving behind Belmont Park’s historic roller coaster, the line starts north on Mission Blvd.

Rachel Eggers spreads and sets the chalk line with a broom.

Ellen runs the chalker while Rachel Eggers spreads and sets the chalk line with a broom.








Michael becomes our stenciling expert.  Check out the cool shadow of the stencil!

Check out the cool shadow Michael makes when he carefully lifts the stencil.

Bill Avrin, assisted by 3rd generation Mission Beach resident Robby Shea, gives MIchael a break.

3rd-generation Mission Beach resident Robby Shea joins Bill Avrin, giving Michael a break from stenciling.








James chalks a hashtag along the HWL.

James Long chalks a hashtag along the HWL.

Dave Engel inspects his sea-level rise message.

Dave Engel inspects his sea-level-rise message.








Ray Paulson refills the chalker.

The chalker must be re-filled.  Ray volunteers.

Ellen engages a citizen in conversation about the effects of climate change on sea-level,

Ellen engages a curious citizen in conversation about the effects of climate change on sea-level.








Susan Crowe and Michael Zimmer walk the line.

Susan Crowe and Michael Zimmer walk the line.

Ken Brucker talks with employee at   Surf Shop

Ken Brucker talks with Allison Gardner Liquid Foundation Surf Shop

Ralph gets stenciling on film.

Closing in for a detailed shot, Ralph Chaney gets Michael setting a stenciling on film.

Chalkers pass iconic, zero-emissions beach cruiser.

Chalkers pass iconic, zero-emissions beach cruiser.

Ralph gets video footage of Ashley explaining the action for SD350.

Ashley Mazanec explains the action while Ralph films for SD350’s website.

MB attorney John Ready is one of many proprietors who gladly displayed our HWL poster in their windows.

One of many proprietors who gladly displayed our HWL poster in their windows is attorney John Ready.

Michael Brackney chats up a Camaro driver who stopped to see what was going on.

Michael chats up a Porsche driver who stopped to see what was going on.

Sidewalk skater checks out sea-level-rise messages along the HWL.

Like many passers-by, this sidewalk skater checks out sea-level-rise messages along the HWL.

,,, and the line continues

… and the line continues.





























The bright white line that started at the corner of Mission Bay Drive and Mission Boulevard went north as far as Pacific Beach Boulevard, a distance of just over a mile. Along the way, SD350 members had many opportunities to converse with people passing by. Vacationers and residents alike were aware of climate change, but many learned something they hadn’t known about one of its damaging effects: sea-level rise, right here in Mission Beach.  That, plus the great media coverage, the good time we all had, and the companionship we enjoyed made the HWL action the success we all hoped it would be.

Many thanks to Bill Avrin for his pictures of the HWL event.  It must also be said that Angela Deegan and Ashley Mazanec of the Media Team were largely responsible for the outstanding media coverage.



To access media coverage of this event, follow any of these links:

Compilation of TV coverage, excluding Channel 10. I’m not sure who provided this:
Photos posted on the SD350 Facebook page: