About Masada D

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

Can San Diego County Reach Zero Carbon by 2035?

By Lorenzo Nericcio, Newsletter Editor

With a progressive-leaning, newly-elected San Diego County Board of Supervisors, there is hope for an ambitious new plan: a zero-carbon San Diego County by 2035. The County will work with UCSD’s School of Global Policy and Strategy to get the plan moving, which involves transitioning the County toward more sustainable sources of transportation, sustainable housing, and a general push for environmental justice. 

SanDiego350 is helping to craft the policies and proposals that will make this effort possible—and, importantly, equitable for all San Diegans. 

David Harris of the Policy Team had this to say, “We applaud the Board for its commitment to bold climate action and encourage the supervisors to adopt a new Climate Action Plan to demonstrate how they plan to meet this ambitious target of zero carbon by 2035 […] To reduce San Diego County’s carbon footprint to zero by 2035, our elected leaders must focus on decarbonizing on-road transportation, electricity, and natural gas in buildings. These three sectors account for 78% of the County’s carbon emissions. This plan must center climate and equity, what we call a ‘just transition’, while also establishing aggressive targets to reduce emissions.”

SanDiego350’s priorities, thoroughly outlined in a letter to the County Planning & Development Services department, include the following areas of importance:

  • Sustainable built environment and transportation, including improved land use, expanded public transit, and incentives for telecommuting
  • Renewable energy, including microgrids with battery storage, and expanding electrification of new building projects
  • Sustainable food supply that incentivizes purchasing and producing less carbon-intensive foods
  • Consumption-based GHG inventory to assess the lifecycle of carbon and other greenhouse gasses originating from within the County. 
  • Social equity plans, including a Climate Equity Index built to advocate for a just distribution of renewable energy and other green advancements

As the County’s ambitious plans continue to take shape, SanDiego350 will continue to advocate for sustainable, equitable, and just development.

Celebrating Black History Month: Statements from Black Environmental Leaders

In order to honor Black History Month, SanDiego350 reached out to leading Black environmentalists we work with. We asked for statements on their work, what they find important, and asked for their perspective on what environmental movements can do to better prioritize racial justice. 

Clockwise from upper left: Maria Muhammad, San Diego Urban Sustainability Coalition; Tianna Arredondo, 350.org  California/Hawaii Regional Organizer; Marcus Bush, City Council Member, National City; Rachal Hamilton, Justice & Equity Intern, SanDiego350 .

As San Diego strives to grow in sustainable ways, what efforts should policymakers prioritize to ensure growth is inclusive? 

Maria Muhammad, SD Urban Sustainability Coalition

My father has a saying, folks pay for what they want and beg for what they need

I have observed nothing greater in my lifetime than the lengths people will go for what they want. 

What do this city and its policymakers truly want? Do they desire inclusivity? Are they actually prepared to do the incredible work necessary for inclusivity? Inclusivity requires true grit. It requires getting beyond the rhetoric and hashtags and getting to the root cause of exclusion, a white supremacist ideology.  

If policymakers are committed to striving toward a more sustainable future, the deconstruction of white supremacy has to be at the forefront of their agendas.  That laborious task will surely bring about resistance, misunderstandings, mistakes, human frailty, and excruciatingly uncomfortable conversations.  

The process of deconstructing white supremacy will also require long hours.  This will, of course, lead to bigger budgets, but the benefits of inclusion will ultimately have a positive impact on our collective prosperity. Inclusivity will allow our city to be more competitive regionally, nationally, and globally.  There can be no sustainable growth when a city suffers from social, economic, and political desertification.  

When policymakers prioritize their efforts with collaboration, listening deeply, transparency, accountability, funding, and popular education; we all have the chance to get what we want, leaving none of us having to beg for what we need.  

As a National City councilmember, what environmentally-focused changes would you prioritize for the county? What plans are currently underway? 

Marcus Bush, National City City Council Member

National City is one of the most environmentally-challenged cities in the county, particularly when it comes to air pollution, as we suffer some of the highest rates of asthma. This past week I was appointed by Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis and the County officials to represent the South Bay region on the newly-expanded Air Pollution Control District of San Diego County. One of my priorities will be addressing air pollution and emissions by reducing vehicle-miles traveled and supporting alternatives to driving, including walking, biking, and public transit. This is also critical to addressing the climate crisis and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why I strongly support SANDAG’s new efforts to overhaul the Regional Transportation Plan with bold investments to expand regional transit. 

We as regional leaders also need to support infill housing and job growth around transit stations, while opposing new sprawl development projects in our backcountry and sensitive habitat. More resources are needed for habitat preservation and restoration projects throughout the County.

What drives you to contribute to the environmental movement? What changes would you like to see in it?

Rachal Hamilton, Justice & Equity Intern, SanDiego350 

My experience as a young Black girl who grew up in the midwest really pushed me to understand the impact that environmental racism has on lower-income Black communities. I believe that one’s environment is the biggest factor in their overall mental and physical wellness and that free access to clean resources and basic needs is undoubtedly a human right. I am driven to do my part in the fight for environmental justice because I know that there are so many low-income, Black populations across the globe and the United States that are facing climate injustice due to systems of racism. I believe that in order for the environmental movement to truly begin breaking down these systems, they must unlearn the anti-blackness that has been taught throughout the history of this work, and use an intersectional lens for their activism.

Are there currently any ways that environmental activists in general—or 350 in particular—could improve our work in racial justice? What would you suggest people do to prioritize justice more in their activism? 

Tianna Arredondo, 350.org  California/Hawaii Regional Organizer

To improve racial justice, 350 local groups can prioritize listening and connecting as humans first. We will always have a strategy to create or a plan to adjust. What we won’t have unless we make time for it – is space to listen to one another and connect with one another. The more that we listen to each other and take time to be accountable to one another’s needs –  the more we can get into a practice of reciprocity and begin to cultivate integrity based relationships that allow for trust building. We need to learn to prove our reliability to one another so that we can trust one another’s commitment to racial justice.

Member of the Month: Allison Tester

This month, SD350 interviews our Marketing & Communications Team leader, Allison Tester. Between managing social media, contributing to the creation of this newsletter, and overseeing a team of volunteers, there’s plenty for Allison to be proud of. Here’s what she has to say about her experience working with SD350. 

How did you first get involved with SD350, and when was that?

I first got involved with SD350 this past summer; I was inspired by my younger sister’s work on sustainable fashion to do something more to help my community. I did a lot of research and SanDiego350’s comprehensive approach and successful track record made it seem like the best way to create real change.

What drives your activism?

People are absolutely at the core of this work for me. Both because I hope to help people, and because I’m so inspired by the people working hard to prevent climate injustice. It’s been a joy to work with so many passionate people who go above and beyond to fight for our future.

What do you recommend to people who want to have a larger impact through the environmental movement? What do you prioritize in your own activism?

In my own activism, I prioritize actually reducing my plastic use, recycling, eating plant based, not supporting fast fashion brands (see The True Cost, 2015), and supporting SD350’s policy efforts! Most of these actions are immediate and anyone can do them starting today. The results of the policy work take a little longer to see but are equally as important!

Is there anything else you would like people to know about you?  

I’m the chair for the SD350 Marketing and Communications Team and we’re always looking for more members! We work on a variety of projects and all levels of experience are welcome. Fill out the volunteer interest form today!

Youth4Climate Update

By Kathryn Chen, Intern & Co-Coordinator of Youth4Climate Fellowship

This past September, the Youth4Climate Team began the first term of its Youth Climate Fellowship Program. As the Youth4Climate Intern this term, I worked for the past 4 months largely behind-the-scenes in planning, developing, and running this program. Now, at the end of this tumultuous year with the second term of the fellowship only a few weeks ahead, I am so pleased to look back on how much Y4C has grown.

During the fall term, we hired 5 inspiring high-school fellows for 12 weeks to train as climate activists, lead volunteer teams with a total of 28 youth volunteers, and enact specific projects to advance Y4C’s goals of educating, supporting, and inspiring youth to take climate action. Our Strategic Campaigns team laid the groundwork for an impressive California anti-fracking campaign. Our Volunteer Coordination team met with new volunteers, funneled them into teams and projects that interested them, and hosted engaging weekly community calls with roughly 20 regular attendees. Our Actions team developed weekly challenges for youth to take climate action, as well as organized and hosted events such as a voting walkout and a career webinar. Throughout, our Communications team kept everyone updated through social media posts, graphics, and a stylish weekly newsletter. Finally, our Education & Outreach team gave impactful presentations on climate change at our weekly calls and to local schools. 

I am so proud of all our fellows and youth volunteers—the hard work they put in, the skills they have gained, and the stirring change they have made in our community. Every one of them teaches me, inspires me, and gives me such joy and hope for our future. Our adult volunteers, interns, and various staff at SD350 have also given us so much support throughout this learning process, and I am so grateful for all of their work in shaping what this program has become.

Flyer for a youth climate career discussion

This first fellowship term taught the Youth4Climate Team so much about our capacity to organize, train, and support our passionate local youth. As we now plan and develop programming for the spring term, I’m excited to apply what we learned from every success, every roadblock, every memorable moment from this past year. In the spring, we are looking forward to hiring a new set of high-school fellows to build on all of the work done in the fall, and we are so thrilled at this opportunity to train and support more youth climate leaders, increase the reach of our movement, and continue making meaningful change in our community.

How SanDiego350 is Building a Movement

By Pia Piscitelli, Public Policy Team Co-Leader

I’m proud to be part of an organization that learns from successful historical movements, such as the civil rights movement and the women’s suffrage movement, to develop its own theory of political change. These movements brought widespread change by concentrating on three main drivers: grassroots organizing, local action and policy, and connection to a larger movement.

These components are the principles guiding SanDiego350’s mission to build a movement to prevent the worst impacts of climate change and climate injustice.

Grassroots organizing

Governments and fossil fuel companies bank on the status quo. It’s so much easier for them to keep things the way they are. Fossil fuel companies deploy massive profits created off the exploitation of our planet to lobby governments, advertise their “commitment” to renewables (greenwashing alert!), and control our politicians. It creates an endless cycle centered around fossil fuel use.

In order to break the cycle and create a fossil free world, we need all hands on deck demanding change. When we turn out en masse, we put pressure on the system so people in power can’t ignore us. SanDiego350 is building a grassroots movement by continually growing our volunteer base, working in coalition with a diverse range of groups and organizations, and fostering leaders within our volunteer base. 

Local action and policy

SanDiego350 has been effective advocating for policy change on the local level. There are more opportunities to affect change on the local level, plus there’s more ability to influence local officials and decision makers. It takes far fewer numbers and resources to influence local policy, and local action can prompt larger national and global actions and policy changes. 

Connection to a larger movement

SanDiego350’s connection to the larger 350.org global movement helps motivate folks to take action and better leverages everyone’s efforts. 350 groups around the world build widespread awareness for 350 efforts, which drives new volunteers to join the movement. Through shared resources, branding, training, and more, SanDiego350 benefits from collective knowledge and can build on resources to best affect change in the region.

SanDiego350’s theory of change in action

This is all great in theory, but what does it look like in practice?

This past fall, SanDiego350 started a building electrification campaign. To date, there are 40 cities in California that have some form of building electrification ordnance in place, but most are located in Northern California. It’s vital that San Diego electrifies our buildings to reach our climate goals. If we don’t start working on this now, we’ll be married to natural gas and fossil fuels for years to come. 

Fossil fuel companies like SDG&E don’t want to see building electrification happen in San Diego despite study after study showing we must do this for public health and our planet. Why? SDG&E is a fracked gas company and makes their profits off polluting our planet. They wield a lot of power locally and have a history of breaking agreements and funding political campaigns to buy influence.

If we want to electrify our buildings and achieve our climate action goals, we must come together to escalate the pressure on elected officials and cities.

We’re building a coalition of individuals, groups, and organizations to work on our common goal together. We’re leading educational programs, events, trainings, and more to bring more San Diegans into the movement and demanding change. We’re countering propaganda and backdoor meetings between elected officials and power-hungry companies like SDG&E. 

To be most effective at electrifying our buildings, we need you. 

We have building electrification resources and educational webinars coming soon–make sure you’re signed up for the newsletter to hear about all upcoming events and activities. 

We’re looking for volunteers! We have volunteer working groups that always welcome new members. Additionally, we have calls to action to advocate for building electrification in cities throughout the region. Make sure you’re signed up for our newsletter to get monthly alerts or join the Public Policy Team for regular updates and action items. SanDiego350 is building a movement to prevent the worst impacts of climate change and climate injustice. To do that, we need everyone. Will you join us?

What should President Joe Biden do?

by Lorenzo Nericcio, Newsletter Editor

Biden and Harris won the presidency in November—but the question remains, what should they prioritize? The first 100 days are often a significant legislative period for a new president, and in this case, they promise to be even more so. That’s because Democrats recently retook the Senate when Raphael Warnock and Jon Osoff each won their runoff elections in Georgia, unseating two incumbent Republicans. They also kept the House after the November elections.

What’s more, the recent rightwing insurrection in the Capitol has heightened many Americans’ sense that some good must be done for the country soon. Democrats have a mandate and ample reason to use it fully. 

At SanDiego350, we understand that one of the most pressing concerns the US (and the world) currently faces is the threat of unmitigated climate change. If the COVID-19 pandemic has been any indication of our ability to deal with a global collective action problem, it’s clear that there is a lot of room for improvement. 

We’ve put together a list of demands that we hope the Biden administration will satisfy. Biden has campaigned firmly on a platform of climate action, and we shouldn’t settle for anything less than immediate and comprehensive dedication to addressing the dangers climate change poses. 

We also strongly encourage our readers to use the graphics linked here to post their own demands on the Biden administration. Let us help you have your voice heard. 

Here is what we demand:

  1. Rejoin the Paris Agreement. Famously, Donald Trump exited from the Paris Agreement. Biden’s administration should prioritize rejoining it, and meeting or beating its goals. 
  2. Stop new drilling on public lands and phase out all existing drilling. While ending drilling on private land may take more time, the federal government can put a stop to public lands drilling whenever it wants. 
  3. Create a cabinet-level environmental justice position. Climate change isn’t just an ecological disaster; it’s a human justice catastrophe, too. Biden’s administration needs professionals working on this dimension. 
  4. Buy only renewable energy for the federal government. The federal government should lead by example, powering its operations entirely through renewable energy. 
  5. End fossil fuel subsidies. This is a no-brainer—the government should be subsidising clean power, not fossil fuels. 
  6. Deny new fossil fuel infrastructure permits and rescind those for Keystone XL and Line 3. The destruction of sacred Indigenous lands and precious ecosystems for the sake of oil company profits must end. 
  7. Investigate and prosecute fossil fuel polluters. Fossil fuel polluters have known about the effects of their industry for decades. They should be held accountable. 
  8. Adopt and exceed California’s emissions standards. Trump eliminated federal emissions standards that had been built to mirror California’s. It’s time to readopt them and exceed them. 
  9. Create a national renewable energy standard that reaches 100% renewables by 2035. The time for incremental transitions is long past. We need an aggressive transition to renewables if we want to avoid the worst of climate change. 
  10. Establish a carbon tax to fund renewable infrastructure, transit, and green affordable housing. A carbon tax could be one of the most effective ways to incentivise and fund a transition from fossil fuels to clean power across the board. 

These changes won’t totally end our reliance on fossil fuel—much less end the threat of climate change—but they can significantly improve our course, and Biden and Harris can get started on them on day 1. You can start by signing 350.org’s online petition demanding these changes. Then, use our cards to make your own set of demands to share on social media.

Transportation Justice Forum: What You Need to Know

By Amanda Ruetten, Public Policy Organizer

This November, SanDiego 350 held a forum on transportation justice. What follows is a writeup of the important information that was discussed at the forum. In case you missed it, video recording is here.

As of 2017, Transportation accounted for 53% of greenhouse gas emissions in the City of San Diego. Additionally, people who take public transit in San Diego are largely people who are transit-dependent. For them, public transit is a necessity. That’s why it’s the most important sector to focus on to tackle climate change and economic justice at the same time. And all too often, like other systemic issues overlooked in the fight against poverty, we have forgotten to look at the implications of poor and failing transportation systems. According to Gillian B. White in The Atlantic, “Access to just about everything associated with upward mobility and economic progress—jobs, quality food, and goods (at reasonable prices), healthcare, and schooling— relies on the ability to get around in an efficient way, and for an affordable price.” Add to this the health and safety issues that affect those who live near transit, and we get a clearer picture of a system that is failing large swaths of San Diego communities. 

On Thursday, November 12, 2020, SanDiego350 hosted a Transportation Justice Forum to help educate members on transportation justice and explore the intersections between transportation justice and climate justice. At the event, we discussed many different topics to educate our members about transportation justice including redlining, local activism in San Diego, and how transportation is connected to racial justice, the pandemic, and climate change. 

The event started by examining some systematic issues in San Diego and how that creates a lack of opportunity for our environmental justice communities. Ricardo Flores, the executive director of Local Initiatives Support Corporation, spoke about redlining policies in San Diego that have affected our neighborhoods for generations and as a result, have affected access to transit. Next, Rio Oxas, co-founder of RAHOK, presented on mobility justice. Their presentation highlighted the connections between climate change, racial justice, and the pandemic. 

Following the presentations, a panel of community activists shared their experience in working towards transportation justice in San Diego and how SanDiego350 members could join the fight. This panel featured Maria Esperanza Gonzalez with Mid-City CAN, Maleeka Marsden, the Co-Director of Policy at Climate Action Campaign, Barry Pollard, the Executive Director of The Urban Collaborative Project, and Randy Torres-Van Vleck, Director of Policy and Planning at City Heights CDC. Together they discussed the major failing and success of San Diego’s transportation system, the top priorities when working with our local transit agencies for our environmental justice communities, and more.

Electrify Everything: Why Building Electrification is Necessary Now

Oliver Tiliouine, Member of the SanDiego350 Building Electrification Working Group and the San Diego Building Electrification Coalition

With the advanced technologies available today, Building Electrification (BE) is a feasible solution to meet State and local climate goals. It switches the power supplied to buildings from dirty fossil fuels to electricity, which is increasingly generated from renewable resources. It is time for cities to recognize that all-electric requirements reduce emissions from residential and commercial buildings, both saving energy and reducing indoor air pollution. 

BE means no gas hookups for new development projects and retrofitting existing buildings by replacing furnaces, stoves, water heaters, and clothes dryers; everything becomes electric! The major problem with gas-powered buildings are the harmful emissions from fossil fuel combustion. The largest component of natural gas is methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas (GHG). Currently, powering our buildings is responsible for 10% of California’s GHG emissions, not including gas leaks that occur during distribution.

In California, the high-powered gas industry touts renewable natural gas (RNG) as the solution to building emissions. However, RNG is almost pure methane, 25x more harmful than CO2. Any RNG that leaks out of the distribution network directly contributes to atmospheric GHGs, and therefore to warming. RNG is produced by capturing emissions from organic waste (e.g. landfills) but is not a clean fuel. RNG acts as a roadblock to development of cleaner energy, and is not simply a bridge. The United States has the technologies required to have electricity power our buildings and reduce climate-changing emissions.

SanDiego350 is working to support BE efforts in local cities. Last month, we convened the first meeting of the San Diego Building Electrification Coalition, a coalition of local organizations and businesses that support BE. The primary goals of the Coalition are to update Climate Action Plans (CAPs) to incorporate BE, pursue municipal ordinances in our region to advance BE, and to provide community education and outreach to build support for electrification.

To date, 40 Californian jurisdictions have passed ordinances either requiring or strongly encouraging all-electric in new construction projects. Some cities have gone a step further by banning new gas hook-ups. To date, Carlsbad is the only city in the San Diego region that has adopted an ordinance for building electrification. Several other local cities are looking into BE options as well. For example, the City of Encinitas recently approved an updated CAP which includes electrification of new residential and commercial buildings. 

SanDiego350 believes that now is the time to advocate for BE policies throughout our region. In order to make building electrification a top priority, we must build community support from residents and businesses for the advancement of BE in our cities. 

As a first step toward these goals, SanDiego350 hosted a webinar on December 3rd with 80+ participants. The expert panel explained how to effectively advocate for local BE policies. SanDiego350 and the Coalition are planning more educational events in early 2021. Sign up for our mailing list for updates on future events and actions to support a gas-free future in San Diego or volunteer with us here.

Reshaping Climate Leadership in 2021

By: Kathryn Link-Oberstar, Fundraising Team Co-Lead

This year has been a whirlwind. From pandemic lock-downs, a tumultuous election season, and the largest racial justice uprisings in our country’s history, I am grateful for every volunteer and supporter who has helped us weather this storm. The vulnerabilities in our society revealed and amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic have reinforced the urgency of a people-powered movement committed to climate justice for all. We need a mass movement of engaged community members to achieve climate justice action at the scale and speed necessary to avert disaster — and to build that movement we need everyone: people of all ages, races, and backgrounds. And we need the tools, training, and support structures to empower them.

SanDiego350’s initiatives are powered by 100 active members and dozens of dedicated team leaders. The fundraising team is run by dedicated volunteers just like you, committed to building grassroots financial support to amplify each of our members’ impact through leadership development, training, coaching, and paid staff to provide support on key projects.  In 2020, with the support of our  incredible donors, volunteers, collaborators, and supporters, we empowered dozens of high school students, engaged more than 3,000 San Diegans in 2020 through virtual actions, expanded our organization, and established the new Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Team to lead anti-racism initiatives.

SanDiego350 is ready to get to work in 2021. With local election results creating significant new opportunities for climate action, we know that we have the chance to achieve a climate mandate, but nothing is guaranteed. Now more than ever, we must stay in the fight for a just, sustainable future by reshaping and growing diverse climate leadership, mobilizing our community, and leading bold, effective campaigns. With your support, we can continue to expand programs that empower youth and leaders of all ages to fight for a Green New Deal, better Franchise Agreements, building electrification, and more!

We are building a movement for the long haul, engaging the future leaders of San Diego’s climate movement in these key ways:

  • Building youth power in the movement through the Youth4Climate Summer Camp, Youth4Climate Action Summit, Eco-club support, and Fellowship program.
  • Providing tools, training, and support for our volunteers and leaders through workshops, training, and coaching, and
  • Mobilizing San Diegans to take meaningful action.

Our leaders and volunteers are also committed to advancing key campaigns, including: 

  • Creating a diverse county-wide coalition to advocate for building electrification 
  • Transportation Justice and Transit
  • A Strong County Climate Action Plan, and
  • Fight for a better franchise agreement with Sempra

We are at a critical moment for the climate movement, and we must continue to mobilize our people in even greater numbers in 2021.

I encourage you to donate SanDiego350 before the end of the year. Your contribution will help us amplify the work of our volunteers and continue the vital work of fighting for climate justice, and building a more livable, sustainable, and equitable world.

2020 Accomplishments and Goals for the New Year

By Masada Disenhouse, Executive Director of SanDiego350

As 2020 comes to a close, I could not be more grateful for every one of you and for how we have come together in this year of the COVID-19 pandemic, a pivotal election (is it over yet?), and an inspiring racial justice movement. Together we navigated and adapted to a rapidly changing world, innovating new ways to continue our mission to fight climate change and climate injustice while maintaining hopefulness and a sense of community. 

I wanted to celebrate some of our accomplishments of 2020, and take a look at our plans for 2021. 

1. We didn’t let Covid stop our core movement building and mobilizing work

Despite covid, we mobilized thousands of San Diegans to act. Hundreds of people provided input on climate policy at local and state meetings. Our petition for better energy Franchise agreements was signed by 1,500 people. Over 2,500 people participated in the Virtual Climate Uprising. 

In fact, in 2020 we educated, skilled up, and empowered more San Diegans than ever before. We delivered four leadership and strategy workshops for volunteer leaders. We held more than ten educational events on key issues, including transportation justice, energy franchise agreements, just recovery, and the ballot measures. And we joined with other 350 affiliates nationally to offer virtual training on organizing, messaging, and protesting safely.

We also significantly grew our volunteer capacity to more than 20 volunteer teams and over 100 team leaders and core members, welcoming 4 new adult volunteer teams (Fundraising, Marketing and Communications, Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and Building Electrification) and several youth teams. We also welcomed new staff, including our volunteer coordinator, Nicole Muñoz-Proulx.

2. We strengthened our campaign work

We organized hundreds of San Diegans to take action on key climate issues – pushing for a better energy franchise deal, laying the groundwork to establish a regional building electrification coalition (the coalition’s first meeting included more than 20 organizations), and began planning out a strategy to weaken Sempra and SDG&E’s political influence that has blocked bold climate action for too long. We also pushed for an inclusive public process around an MTS initiative. Though it was halted by COVID, the work we did will help the next initiative move forward. And though we did not prevail on state legislation, losing on AB 345 which would have created health buffer zones around oil drilling sites, we engaged at a stronger level than ever before and laid the groundwork for the next round. 

3. We empowered more than a hundred high school students 

We held a virtual Youth Climate Summit in April, a Virtual Summer Camp over the summer, and we’re holding weekly calls for youth activists. We hired 2 college interns to manage a fellowship program with five high school fellows who are organizing dozens of students across San Diego County to learn about the issues, practice new skills, and take action. These smart, diverse, inspiring high school and college students are the climate leaders of tomorrow, and they make us hopeful. 

4. We deepened our commitment to racial justice 

We educated ourselves on the issues, shared informational resources, stood in solidarity with BIPoC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) organizations and held 2 anti-racism training sessions. We hired a justice & equity intern, Rachal, who’s supporting the new Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Team and leading anti-racism work and training.

As we look forward to 2021, we face new possibilities and challenges. We’ll continue to navigate this pandemic together and find new ways to build a stronger community. 

We are starting out strong with the support from all of you: SD350’s passionate, dedicated volunteers. 

In the new year, we’ll focus on several high-impact priorities

First, we will run hard-hitting, effective, bold campaigns to hold our newly elected representatives accountable to take action. These include building a strong regional coalition to electrify buildings, advocating for a county climate action plan, for transportation justice and a regional transportation plan that reduces carbon emissions, and, exposing our investor owned utility and its parent company as bad actors and preventing them from stalling progress on climate policy. 

Second, we will continue to build the breadth and depth of the regional climate movement. This includes mobilizing and empowering San Diegans to act and strengthening our connections to coalition partners. 

Third, we will equip and empower hundreds of teens to be climate leaders through a robust Youth4Climate program, a youth climate action summit, summer camp and fellowships. 

Finally, accomplishing these goals require us to be strong internally as an organization. In the coming year, we will empower volunteers to step into leadership through training, coaching, and peer learning. We will cultivate an inclusive organizational culture and build leadership that’s more representative of San Diego. And, we’ll grow our staff to better leverage our powerful volunteer base. 
2021 is a year for us to be bold. We know we can make a significant impact together. I can’t wait!