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Year end message from SanDiego350’s Executive Director

As we approach the end of 2022, I wanted to share some of SanDiego350’s accomplishments for the year and reflect on how the climate movement’s progress and momentum this year sets us up for bigger and bolder strategies in 2023. I also want to express my gratitude to our volunteers and donors who make everything we do possible.

To me, 2022 is the year when I can first see all the hard work we’ve put in over the past decade really starting to pay off. It’s been a long time coming, and all of us should be proud of what we’ve accomplished and take the time to celebrate.

Nationally, the U.S. Congress passed its first major climate bill – the Inflation Reduction Act. The IRA commits the U.S. to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030, invests $369 billion in energy and climate, and includes $60 billion for addressing the disproportionate burden of pollution that is borne by low income communities and communities of color. And, it will create up to 9 million jobs in clean energy, clean manufacturing, and green transportation. 

While the act is imperfect, and we’ll continue fighting any fossil fuel extraction (so far we’ve defeated Manchin’s “dirty deal” which would saddle frontline communities with new oil and gas extraction and pipelines – three times!), this bill is the first major national action on climate, and is a testament to our movement’s persistence and growing political power. 

Internationally at the COP, the US for the first time agreed to support a fund that will pay damages to the countries most impacted but least responsible for climate change. The U.S. also pledged $100 million for the adaptation fund.

This progress is a direct result of the steady drumbeat of demand for climate action that we, and our grassroots partners in communities across the country, have kept up and grown over the years. 

At the State level, Senate Bill 1137 became law, creating a minimum health and safety zone of 3,200 ft between residences, schools, and hospitals and new or reworked oil and gas wells. This is a key step forward that we campaigned on for several years alongside our environmental justice partners (note: we are fighting the effort by oil companies to delay implementation of this bill using the referendum process). 

Regionally, SanDiego350 was instrumental in advancing many key policy efforts. A few highlights: 

    • Developing micro-transit strategies being reviewed for pilot projects by our regional transportation agencies (watch our amazing panel discussion on microtransit)
    • Supporting a vision for a county-wide coordinated response to climate change (the Regional Decarbonization Framework)
    • Repealing the People’s Ordinance to make trash collection more sustainable and equitable.  (Read the post-election wrap-up of our ballot recommendations)
    • Passing resolutions calling on Governor Newsom to end oil drilling in California through the San Diego City Council and San Diego Unified School District (also listen to this KPBS interview with four youth leaders – it’s sure to inspire you)
    • Progressing toward building electrification policies for the City of San Diego and the County 
    • Using direct action and civil disobedience to call out Sempra and SDG&E’s price gouging and destructive fracked gas ambitions (watch TV coverage of our June action)
    • Mobilizing our members to stand in solidarity with BIPOC-led organizations and environmental justice communities opposing the proposed Misubishi Cement factory at the Port – which would dramatically increase pollution from diesel trucks

    SanDiego350’s volunteer led, distributed model has been paying off too. In 2022 we brought in and engaged hundreds of new volunteers in our 17 volunteer teams, got thousands of people out in the streets, and empowered hundreds of high school and college students. SanDiego350 has also continued to educate our membership on the connections between racial justice and climate change through workshops and climate justice leadership conversations. Our organizational infrastructure has grown significantly too, with our staff increasing from 1.5 full-time equivalent staff at the beginning of 2019 to roughly 7 full-time equivalent staff today. That staff capacity is primarily focused on supporting and empowering our volunteers and teams.

    I don’t want to make it sound like it’s all been roses and no thorns or like the job is done. Most of you reading this are in the trenches – you know none of these efforts has been easy and that none of these victories were gained without a fight. Progress and a rational response to the crisis are something we can’t take for granted in our country and society, and the threats to vulnerable people, our democracy and our future are still very much real and very scary.

    This past year also saw more devastating climate impacts, including record breaking heat waves, flooding, fires and storms that caused heartbreaking loss, especially in communities least responsible and least able to adapt to these disasters.

    We know the progress we’ve made is because we’ve stood up to and fought the power of the fossil fuel industry and the elected officials and community leaders in their sway, and that we will need to continue to fight to achieve our next targets. 

    SanDiego350 was founded with the understanding that ordinary people not only can make a difference on climate change, but that a people-powered movement is essential to shifting the public narrative and winning the huge changes we must make to decarbonize our economy and realize our vision for a healthier, more sustainable, more just and democratic future (more about SD350 and our theory of change).

    Truly, what keeps me going is YOUR inspiring commitment. Everything we’ve accomplished is a testament to the dedication, creativity and passion of our volunteers and supporters.  

    With your activism and leadership, we are committed to build on this year’s momentum, and to push harder than ever in 2023 for bold, transformative climate justice solutions at the scale of the crisis. Being part of the community we’ve built together gives me the hope and the confidence to take this fight forward. I am grateful to you. 

    Thank you. And congratulations to all of us on everything we’ve been able to accomplish in 2022!

    Photo of SanDiego350 staff August 2022. Masada is second from right in the back row.
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    Masada Disenhouse
    Executive Director and Cofounder

    Inspired? Please make a donation to support our work in 2023. All donations made through December 31 will be matched, to a total of $22,300. Help us unlock that match!