SANDAG Reform Bill Now on Governor’s Desk

Credit: slworking2 / Flickr

By David Harris, SanDiego350
(originally published in the San Diego Free Press on September 27, 2017)

A bill to reform the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) has made its way past both houses of the State legislature and now awaits the Governor’s signature. AB 805, introduced and sponsored by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, would change the structure and voting process of the SANDAG Board of Directors. The Board consists of elected officials from 18 cities and the County.

Gonzalez-Fletcher held a press conference this past week to urge the Governor to sign her bill. The legislator was joined by San Diego Councilmember Chris Ward as well as councilmembers from Encinitas and National City. Gonzalez-Fletcher was surrounded by two dozen supporters, including members of the Quality of Life Coalition, Environmental Health Coalition, and SanDiego350.

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Tom Steyer draws large crowd for climate change lecture

by Celeste Oram

Over 400 San Diegans arrived at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Hillcrest Thursday evening to hear a decisive, energetic message on clean energy and climate action from climate advocate and philanthropist Tom Steyer. The public talk, organized by grassroots climate action organization SanDiego350, was co-sponsored by over 20 San Diego community groups. In a week of devastating natural disasters and controversial political announcements, the clarity of Steyer’s clean energy message was warmly received by a fired-up audience.

Welcoming remarks by the cathedral’s Dean, Penny Bridges, soberly reflected the urgency of the evening’s discussion, and a moment’s silence was held for victims of recent natural disasters: Hurricanes Harvey and Irma; wildfires on the West Coast; flooding in Pakistan and Bangladesh; landslides in Sierra Leone.

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State Legislative Initiatives on Climate You’ll Want to Support

By James Ferguson, SanDiego350

We have known for 50 years or more now that the effect of releasing millions of years of biologically-captured carbon into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels would trap infrared heat radiation. According to James Hansen, formerly the top climate scientist at NASA, our climate is stable when the level of carbon dioxide does not exceed 350 ppm in earth’s atmosphere.

SanDiego350’s Climate Legislation training, July 2017, Hillcrest – Photo by Olga Cortes

This Summer, monitoring stations in the mid-Pacific measured net carbon concentrations at an average of over 400 ppm! This increase in the level of CO2 has raised the average global temperature by 1° Celsius since the dawn of the industrial revolution, with another 0.5° Celsius locked in from greenhouse gases already emitted (due to the lag between when greenhouse gases are emitted and resultant temperature rise). [Read more…]

Study Finds That Community Choice Energy is Cleaner & Cheaper

By Tyson Siegele, SanDiego350
(Originally published in the San Diego Free Press on July 28, 2017)

Community Choice Energy has been taking California by storm. The overwhelming support for and adoption of Community Choice Energy (CCE) only makes sense. All eight operational CCEs across the state charge lower electricity fees than their utility competitors while providing higher renewable energy content. Consumers save money while their children breathe less polluted air.

However, here in the city of San Diego, the mayor and some City Council members have been dragging their feet instead of racing ahead to get the same program up and running locally.
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Community Choice Energy Myths Debunked, SDG&E Misdirection Exposed

By Tyson Siegele / SanDiego350

burned light bulb photo

Photo by Comfreak (Pixabay)

Sempra promotes itself as an upstanding community participant with only the best intentions for its customers, but in conjunction with SDG&E, it charges exorbitant rates and fights tooth and nail behind the scenes to maintain its monopoly. It does so at the expense of electricity consumers. SDG&E and its parent company Sempra have been misleading customers about their stance on Community Choice Energy (CCE).

By reviewing Sempra marketing material and comparing Sempra’s statements to its actions, a clear pattern of misdirection and exploitation emerges.
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SANDAG is Ailing; Assembly Bill 805 Could Be the Cure

By Lisa Wellens/ SanDiego350

Tired of stalled progress from San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)? Frustrated with its failure to address  San Diego’s poor air quality and lack of transportation options in overburdened communities? Outraged at it’s latest scandal – hiding financing shortfalls and misleading voters about how much money Measure A would raise?

Wishing this planning organization would do the work to bring about a holistic, connected, transportation system that reduces greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with state targets? Assembly Bill 805, introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher could be just what’s needed – kicking the agency into gear with better representation, accountability, transparency, and an eye towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
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2017 People’s Climate March

by Celeste Oram and Mark Hughes

2017 People's Climate March

People marching in San Diego. Photo by Greg Lowe.

On April 29th, 2017, SanDiego350 and partner organizations put on our local version of the People’s Climate March. This march was held last in 2014 and around 1,500 people participated. This year, the goal was to double that number, but that’s not what happened. Instead, the rally and march drew over 5,000 people. A success by any measure, and that was matched by the tens of thousands across the country and across the world who took part in the collective march. There is no doubt our demands on our leaders to respect science in general and climate science in particular, to get in step with nearly all the rest of the world, was heard. Perhaps our voices were even loud enough to break through the walls that separate some people’s alternate worlds from ours. This is critical, because while our collective knowledge makes us powerful, our individual ignorance makes us dangerous. And one day’s march, no matter how many people take part, will not solve the problem. Only sustained presence, sustained demands, will impel our leaders to act on our demands and on the needs of our planet and the life it sustains.

–Mark [Read more…]

Lonely? Try Talking about Cow Flatulence

By Bellamy Dryden

This past Saturday, April 29, I celebrated an important milestone with 5,000 strangers at the Peoples Climate March in downtown San Diego. After that same march in 2014 I adopted a vegan diet, cold turkey, so to speak. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Three years later, I’m healthier and happier.

2017 People's Climate March

2017 People’s Climate March. Photo courtesy of SanDiego350.

What better way to celebrate than with a perfect stranger holding a sign that says “Cow Farts are Destroying the Planet”?

I changed my diet for two reasons. One: it’s an easy and useful way for me to help combat climate change. Two:  it meant that I would never, ever, EVER have to eat a cricket burger with a side of mealworm “fries.”

Why not celebrate such an important day with friends and family? Well, I’m the only environmental vegan in my circle. Besides, my family and friends are far flung, so we use Facebook to keep in touch. The friends and neighbors I see in real life like me just fine, but online, it’s really lonely being the dietary outlier, the green sheep, the tree-hugging vegan. [Read more…]

SanDiego350 Reports on the Science March

By Pat Masters, SanDiego350

Photo by P. Masters.

Last Saturday’s Science March drew fifteen thousand scientists and science enthusiasts, energized by attacks on science and the environment by the Trump administration. They turned out on Earth Day to march for science and evidence-based policy. The crowds jammed Civic Center Plaza and surrounding streets, their signs urging respect for science and support for research that finds cures, protects the environment, and underpins technology and innovation.

The March for Science started as a social media campaign and grew into rallies in over 600 cities around the world. Organizers spoke up for logic and reason and education. They emphasized the need for scientists to defend scientific discovery, the consensus on climate change, and fight for Planet Earth.

Reflecting intense concern over the administration’s dismissal of climate science, San Diego’s rally kicked off with Professor Ralph Keeling, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego – the climate scientist who is carrying on his father’s pioneering research on carbon dioxide measurements that track the rate of global warming. Keeling drew cheers from the crowd by declaring the debate on the reality of climate change “has been over for decades” and 97% of the published science calls climate change a “serious problem, … even that undersells it.” [Read more…]

PRESENT AT THE CREATION

By Ron Bonn, SanDiego350

Originally published in the San Diego Free Press on 4/20/2017

You could say I was present at the creation.

Looking back in our lives, we rarely know exactly when something started. But regular television news coverage of man-made climate change, with all it implies, started on New Year’s Day, 1970.

Ron Bonn

Ron Bonn, courtesy of the author

The staff of “The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite”: producers, writers, technicians; a couple dozen of us in all, were sitting around the newsroom waiting for something to happen—because nothing happens on New Year’s Day—when the man himself stormed in. “Goddamn it,” he said to us, “we’ve got to do something about this environment story.”

You might guess that when Walter Cronkite said, “Goddamn it,” things happened at CBS News. And what happened is that I, the science producer for “The Evening News,” was detached for eight weeks to “do something” about this environment story. Never before, to my knowledge, had a network spot news program paid that much attention to a non-breaking story. [Read more…]