Closer to Sustainable: Considering our relationship with meat and where we go from here

By Victoria Wallace

On Survivor, the long-running reality TV show that sends Americans to remote beaches to compete for $1 million, contestants are periodically divided over the fate of a chicken. While the gritty realities of survival are featured less on the show than social and physical competition, enough poultry-based drama makes it onto the screen for trends to emerge.

Subsisting mostly on a meager diet of white rice, winning teams on the show are often rewarded with live chickens—and the subsequent dilemma of what to do with them. Typically, utilitarian teammates assign themselves the role of butcher, while their squeamish counterparts look away. In season 2, experienced hunter Michael Skupin leads the debate over the chickens’ fate. The sole dissenter, Kimmi Kappenburg, leaves camp, while Skupin and fellow contestant Rodger Bingham team up to do the deed with “just a hatchet and a block of wood.”

Kappenburg isn’t alone in her discomfort about killing birds on reality television. The intimacy and violence of killing chickens on Survivor has continued to ruffle feathers, on-screen and at home. Perhaps most notably, season 12’s gentle-spirited Tai Trang successfully advocated for a rooster named Mark, intermittently charming and annoying teammates with his do-no-harm philosophy. On season 38, California resident Wendy Diaz infamously hatched a plot to free her team’s birds, while controversially admitting she has no qualms about eating factory farmed chickens at home.

Survivor contestant Tai Trang and his pet chicken, Mark. Credit: CBS

Chicken-related squabbles on Survivor illustrate a widely observed feature ofindustrialized society: a profound separation between meat-eaters and the animals sustaining them. Cows, as a concept, do not often appear in the imagination of someone eating a Totino’s pepperoni pizza roll.

The consequence of our estrangement from farm animals is that people in rich countries are eating more meat than ever before. But this level of meat consumption is untenable. If every human being ate the same amount of meat as the average Briton, 95% of habitable land on Earth would be needed for agriculture. If everyone ate as much as an American (over 200 pounds of meat per year on average), agriculture would occupy 178% of global land—literally, more land than exists on this planet.

Advocates of climate justice know that radical change is needed, that modern lifestyles are impractical and unsustainable. Unfortunately, this earthshattering realization is rarely accompanied by a clear path forward. What does sustainable meat consumption look like?


Ancient humans were hunter-gatherers, careful observers and managers of local ecosystems. Around 9,000 – 10,500 years ago, people started to keep herds of livestock for consumption—beginning with sheep, goats, cattle, and pigs. For the first time, humans owned animals. Hunting strategies were replaced by concerns over the wellbeing of the herd. “Domestication,” anthropologist Brian Fagan writes, “means a shift in focus from the dead animal to the living one.”

Flocks and herds were small and closely managed. Sustainability was central to subsistence herding; an oversized herd would quickly overgraze and destroy good pastureland. During the day, animals would be driven to pasture and vigilantly guarded from predators. In the evening, they would be kept near or even inside human settlements. Herders would have recognized each animal individually, carefully selecting breeding pairs.

The investment in breeding, rearing, and managing livestock put a high value on meat consumption. The slaughter of animals was often ritualized, imbued with spiritual and social significance. Large, communal feasts were common in a world without modern refrigeration and preservation technology.

As cities grew and technology evolved, livestock became a commodity. Individual animals were valued at a price per unit, rather than their significance to the health of the herd. Agricultural intensification and mass production further reduced the cost of meat. Now, you can pay less for a Quarter Pounder than certain brands of bottled water. As our lives become further removed from the lives of the animals we eat, we seem to value them less.

The devaluation of animals and their meat is accompanied by the rise in factory farming, which obscures the realities of meat production. From birth until death, we almost never lay eyes on the creatures we eat. The diversity of animal life on Earth is somewhat misrepresented by depictions of polar bears in the Arctic, giraffes on the scrubby savannah, and toucans gracing the branches of tropical rainforests. It is estimated that 96% of mammals on Earth are humans and livestock, and 70% of birds are poultry. We live on a meat planet.


It’s clear that we meat-eaters must eat less meat if humans are to survive and thrive on this planet. But, instead of eating less meat out of disgust or despair — what if it came from a place of reverence? Our predecessors, who lived alongside the animals they ate, held them in high esteem. Livestock were killed for cyclical feasts and gatherings. Meat was celebrated, never taken for granted.

Of course, there are practical reasons why we might not all immediately adopt the meat-eating habits of a subsistence herder. Wherever you are, you might consider these ways to move toward a (more) plant-based diet:

  • Start small. If you eat meat every day, try Meatless Mondays. If you eat meat three times a week, you might aim for twice a week.
  • Think about enjoying meat at celebrations, and sticking to a mostly-plant diet on normal days.
  • A rule of thumb is that four-legged animals (pigs, beef, and sheep) are worse for the planet than two-legged animals (turkey and chicken) or no-legged animals (fish and shellfish). If you can’t skip meat, opt for two legs or no legs.
  • Most of us were raised on meat-based meals. Get comfortable making a few meat-free recipes you love, so cooking meat-free is just as easy as an old family recipe.
  • Keep an eye out for plant-based substitutes for eggs and dairy.
  • It’s harder to change your habits alone. Make plans with likeminded friends to share recipes, eat at a vegetarian restaurant, or cook together.

The Future of Climate Justice Begins with Knowledge of the Victims of Now

By Sophia Lee

Look at the bigger picture, not just in regards to our own futures affected by global warming, but physically bigger, as in its current effects around the world.

The phrase “climate change” seems so abstract nowadays, especially with political tensions and the Covid-19 pandemic still at a head. Our nation’s internal conflicts and priorities have made it easy for us to forget problems that more directly affect the bigger picture such as global warming. And by “bigger picture”— I don’t just refer to our own futures, I am referring to the people of now all over the globe who are currently victims of the adverse effects of climate change. 

Many seem to think that climate change isn’t a big issue now— but that it will be in a few decades, and thus, addressing the issue can be put off in place of more direct and personal problems. Those people likely don’t know that, according to Statista, “In the last few years, global temperatures have been consistently among the hottest on record. The global anomaly in surface temperature might be the cause of an increase in sea level, a decrease in arctic ice and the growing number of weather-related catastrophes, including storms, floods and droughts.”

And who do you think are the most affected by such natural disasters? According to Mercy Corps, “While everyone around the world feels the effects of climate change, the most vulnerable are people living in the world’s poorest countries, like Haiti and Timor-Leste, who have limited financial resources to cope with disasters, as well as the world’s 2.5 billion smallholder farmers, herders and fisheries who depend on the climate and natural resources for food and income.”

Meanwhile, industry critics of climate change claim that it is impossible to massively cut down greenhouse gas emissions without large financial and economic repercussions. However, according to The Center for American Progress, “There is no need to postpone greenhouse gas emissions reductions. The technology exists to reduce them through comprehensive application of energy efficiency, wind power, and solar power. For instance, McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, concluded in a recent study that the ‘United States could reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 by 3.0-4.5 gigatons of CO2 emissions using tested approaches and high-potential emerging technologies.’ This would equal a 40 percent to 64 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from today.” If one looks hard enough, there is massive space for improvement in regards to not only our countries, but also the world’s carbon footprint. This is largely due to the fact that the majority of greenhouse gas emissions come from America and China, and thus, the wealthier countries can make the greatest impact despite being virtually unscathed from the effects of climate change in comparison to the rest of the globe.

As a typical busy student with a vague but ultimately shallow view of climate change, I remember asking my teacher a question during my freshman year: “But when will climate change happen?” It wasn’t until I started to get more involved with climate justice and youth advocacy later on that I learned the current and far-reaching effects of climate change, especially in poor communities and areas targeted by natural disasters.

Now, I know for a fact that my former worldview was too narrow— and that ultimately, when I was asking that question, what I really meant deep down was, “When will climate change affect me?”

Targeting support for climate change through statistics and approximations of some abstract future where climate change puts the reader at a disadvantage is not enough. Remember: climate change activism is not just about science or self-interest, it’s a cause with a purpose that’s ultimately centered around saving people: you, me, and everyone around the world. I can’t think of a better way to appeal for climate justice than to let others know that climate change isn’t an issue of tomorrow, but is behind the end of many victims today.

Sources:

https://www.mercycorps.org/blog/climate-change-poverty

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/news/2008/05/30/4369/excuses-excuses/

SanDiego350’s Youth4Climate Summer Camp

By: Hannah Riggins, SD350 Youth Volunteer

SanDiego350 recently launched the Youth4Climate (Y4C) Summer Camp to introduce climate activism techniques while allowing campers to discover their people, power, and passion. Designed for high school and college-level students, Y4C was first conceived in May, during the initial COVID lockdown, and is currently halfway through its second session of the 2020 Summer. The planning team consists of a diverse group of adult and youth volunteers, with each separate committee spearheaded by at least one youth activist responsible for administering weekly meetings and delegating tasks to other committee members.

Y4C Structure:

The curriculum development team, led by Kate Vedder, develops the goals and weekly content, as well as the assigned projects, discussion questions, challenges, and journal prompts. Managed by Izzy Lee, the production team produces educational webinars and complementary promotional videos. Meanwhile, Adelka Hancova’s promotional team generates social media content and supplementary materials. Meisha Meyers and Alexa Castruita, youth volunteers, and Jennifer Phelps, an adult volunteer, organize the Sunday meetings as the leaders of the overall coordination and volunteer coordination team.

Y4C Camper Experience:

By the official start date for Session 1 (June 29, 2020), 39 individuals had registered. Each camper began the 4-week session with a welcome packet. The packets were designed with each detail thoughtfully considered, down to the 100% recyclable packaging. In each packet, campers discovered SD350’s custom DIY Handbook – “Fight like a climate activist”, as well as “sneak-peeks” of the week ahead, from positive energy tea to herbaceous plant clippings. Certain items in the welcome packet symbolized an aspect of how we as humans are connected to the Earth. Guided emotional resilience exercises, inspired by Joana Macy’s teachings, empowered campers to use their connections to each other and to the Earth to channel passion toward climate activism. The exercise included deep breathing and a focus on self-compassion.

Y4C Impact:

Youth are often susceptible to burnout, facing many stress-inducing pressures of contemporary life alongside the ordinary difficulties of coming of age. The primary goal of Y4C is to help youth climate activists find their place within the movement. For that reason, the content design team placed extra emphasis on emotional resilience. Another key goal of Y4C is to cultivate an environment in which campers can build a network of relationships. Y4C wants young climate activists to know that they are not alone—that their voice is heard—and intentionally connects them with peer activists.

Kate Vedder, a rising senior at Point Loma High School, stated that, “It is so amazing to be surrounded by passionate activists and to be in this community the camp has created. This camp is extremely empowering and has shown me how to be the best climate activist I can be!”

Alexa Castruita, a rising junior at Hilltop High School in Chula Vista, wrote that, “joining the planning group and actually being a part of the camp has opened up my eyes to so many perspectives on the world and has helped me develop more empathy for people. The camp is an amazing way to learn and advance in your education of important issues.”

Session 2 kicked off in early August and includes roughly 50 campers from 6 states. We will do what we can to continue the momentum in these unprecedented times, knowing that we are all in this together.

Explore Y4C: Website; Instagram; Youtube.

Food Vision 2030

What’s your food vision for San Diego County? What food issues do you care about? Share your thoughts on the FV2030 community engagement platform!

By: David Pearl, SD350 Food & Soil Committee Member

Our friends at the San Diego Food System Alliance are hard at work on Food Vision 2030, a plan for transforming San Diego County’s food system over the next ten years. In their own words, “The goal of Food Vision 2030 is to inform planning, policy, program, and investment opportunities that improve the food system in San Diego County.”

SDFV2030 is now in the community engagement phase, and they want to hear from you! Visit the community engagement platform to provide feedback on the region’s food system and what you would like to see reflected in the ultimate vision.

If you want to focus on the intersection between climate and food, there is a section specifically for that.

We hope you’ll take the time to make your voice heard.

Discussing a Just Recovery from COVID-19

Panelists Rebecca Rojas, Dr. Kyra Greene, Sonja Robinson, Carolina Martínez, and Dr. Amrah Salomón were brilliantly moderated by Madeleine McMurray.

By: Louise Potash, SD350 Communications Volunteer

Within a week of joining SanDiego350, I found we were hosting a panel discussion on a just recovery from COVID-19. I myself have been confronting these questions and feeling daunted by the enormity and complexity of our current and future systemic challenges.

The Facebook Live discussion brought together a diverse group of experts: Rebecca Rojas (SD350 Board Member), Dr. Kyra Greene (Center on Policy Initiatives), Sonja Robinson (NAACP and SUN Host), Carolina Martínez (Environmental Health Coalition), and Dr. Amrah Salomón (Writer, Artist, Educator, and Activist for Indigenous and Tribal communities). Panelists contributed their expertise in policy initiatives, climate justice, environmental health, and Indigenous and tribal communities, to address issues and opportunities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

How do we tackle environmental justice issues?

COVID-19 has given us an unfortunate but important opportunity to grapple with the potential economic and societal reorganization presented by this moment. The communities most directly affected by COVID-19 are the very same ones most affected by the climate crisis, social injustice, racism, economic injustice, and other adverse public health injustices. So, a truly just recovery from COVID-19 must address these intersecting issues.

The panelists also asked the audience to grapple with questions such as:

  • How has the San Diego tourism economy exploited land and people? 
  • What kind of labor do we envision in a just society?
  • How do we build a future for those who have historically been denied a future?
  • How can we shift to creating non-oppressive relationships between communities?

What would a just recovery look like and how do we get there?

The panel reminded us that while “recovery” implies a return to a previous state, the prior economic status quo was not healthy or just for all. Rather, we must re-imagine an economy with sustainable climate opportunities focused on communities of color. Moving forward, the needs and opinions of our frontline communities should be considered in the solution. As we restructure, we must engage with and listen to these community members.

To do so, we must be bold and push the dialog for regional change. Panelists suggested working with, and financially supporting, social movements based on intersectionality and voting on both local and national issues.

How can we as climate activists use this discussion to become engaged and effect change?

The panelists’ knowledge and experience were not only extensive and impressive, but I was most appreciative of their wisdom to ask questions of the audience and to ask us to be active participants. As to how we as climate activists can take action, the panel reinforced the importance of actions such as lobbying, petitioning, and voting.

This work is not new. This moment simply feels new in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. We must always continue working toward a reimagined society and economy that eradicates the injustices felt by underserved communities. The resounding remarks from the Just Recovery Panel tell us that recovery cannot be a return to previous conditions. Instead, a true just recovery must redesign a new normal that supports communities at the forefront of current environmental, racial, economic, societal and health injustices.

Intersecting Causes in Environmental Justice

Image Source: Josh Hild, Pexels

By: Lorenzo Nericcio, SD350 Communications Volunteer

Those interested in environmental causes, like ecological protection or climate change mitigation, often consider issues of racial or economic justice as separate causes: While we work to protect the environment, others labor against systemic oppression. Though it has never been entirely true that they are separate, it is even less so now, and recent events have highlighted how inescapably intertwined these two issues have become. 

The concept of intersectionality allows us to understand the connections between environmental issues and those of racial justice. Each of us lives at the intersection of multiple identities: racial, economic, gender, ecological, and so on. Each of these identities becomes, in an oppressive system, a way by which a person might in some cases experience injustice, or in others, privilege. 

Systems of oppression built around one form of identity often spill over into others. For example, people of color more often bear the burden of environmental degradation, as explained by this 350.org article on the intersectional effects of climate change. This realization—that Black and Brown people are often first on the front lines of rising seas and temperatures—forces those in the environmental community to confront the fact that focusing solely on the environmental effects of climate change is not enough; one must also understand its intersectional social effects. 

Environmentalists of color have renewed their arguments for an intersectional approach in the wake of protests responding to the police murders of George Flloyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others. In the pages of the New York Times, Black environmentalists called on the environmental community to address these issues more prominently in their advocacy. And many environmental institutions have listened, committing to fight for racial justice alongside the environmental causes they champion.

While this may be a new concept for some in the environmental community—and especially for those most privileged—it’s important to note that for people of color, fighting for their right to a safe, clean, and ecologically sound place to live has long been part of the fight for justice. Our contemporary conceptions of environmental justice owe their development to Black leaders, a history discussed in this article, also from 350.org

For those new to the environmental justice movement who wish to become more effective advocates and activists, it is important to start by learning. As a White person or other person of privilege, you should focus on becoming an ally: someone who is not the direct subject of oppression but who stands with and supports those who are oppressed. The first step is listening to the needs and views of those who directly experience oppression, as described recently by a guide in Vox. By listening, understanding, and acting strategically, environmental activists can learn to become effective allies, and stand in solidarity with those fighting for racial and environmental justice. 

If you’re interested, please take the time to read the articles linked within this piece. Additional readings are linked below:

Flex Your Power: Help SD350 Push for Climate Smart Legislation

The SanDiego350 community gathers at a previous training event. The most recent Legislative Training was held virtually due to current circumstances.

By: Jill O’Keeffe, SD350 Legislative Intern

SanDiego350 is working hard this summer on state legislation. We kicked off the effort to organize meetings with our legislators this past Sunday, June 28, at the Legislative Training where SD350 members met virtually to learn how to combat climate change with legislation and which bills are currently priorities. 

The SD350 community, members from several 350 groups around the state, and individuals from affiliated organizations gathered for the event. Attendees heard presentations on the bills that SD350 is advocating for this year, how bills become law in California, and advocacy best practices. 

Nine bills were highlighted within the presentation. Among the 2020 California climate bills are AB-345SB-54, and AB-1080. AB 345 would require a 2,500 foot buffer between new oil drilling sites and homes/schools/businesses. Even now, with oil demand down, the governor is approving new drilling sites in California. We need to protect working families from the toxic environment created by oil drills. California Climate bills AB 54 and AB 1080 are both two-year bills that would move California toward eliminating 75% of single-use plastics by the year 2030. The mandated recycling proposed by these bills would reduce greenhouse gases in both production of materials and degradation of said materials if put in landfills or littered rather than recycled.

The presentation included two social justice bills: Senate bills AB-1460 and AB-3121. These bills target racial equity by advocating for an ethnic studies requirement at all California State Universities and by creating a task force to develop a plan for reparations for African Americans, respectively. AB 1460 and AB 3121 will improve exposure to cultural and social justice history and begin to address the disparities of a shameful history. Racial and economic justice are indisputable and essential to climate justice. We, as advocates for climate justice, must strive for a world where people of color have a safe and healthy future on this planet.

SD350 will be urging legislators to think big and invest in systemic changes that will allow us to reduce carbon pollution and prioritize frontline communities and workers. There needs to be a change in our economy that focuses on justice, both racial and environmental, while expanding the scope of cleaner energy. Elected officials need to be reminded that even during this uncertain time, many people are still dedicated to bettering the future for this country. By joining these legislative trainings the SD350 community will help press legislators to invest now in a more sustainable future.

The training was a resounding success with many motivated community activists. The legislative training slide deck can be found here

What you can do: 

  • Contact local state legislators and ask them to support the important bills above. Call Senator Atkins (619-645-3133) and Ben Hueso (619-409-7690)and tell them to support AB 345, which protects residents near oil and gas extraction sites.
  • Contact Amanda at Amanda@sandiego350.org to learn how to get involved with advocating for these bills—via meetings, calling our legislators, attending trainings, and more!

Plant-Based Meal Recipe

Looking to incorporate plant based meals into your diet? This quick dish is a great and customizable combination of familiar and yummy foods- ‘no-meat’ balls over pasta and oven-roasted veggies with a balsamic twist. Recipe below:

VEGGIES (serves 4-5):

1 onion, 2 zucchini, 2 red bell pepper, 2 eggplants *any combination of your favorite veggies is possible — (green beans and broccoli would also be great in this), 2 tbsp olive or avocado oil, salt, pepper, fresh or dried herbs (thyme, oregano, celery, basil, etc.), balsamic vinegar


1. Preheat oven to 400F

2. Slice onion and zucchini into half moons, eggplant into sliced quarters, and red bell peppers into strips. Toss with oil and spices.

3. Cook for 20 minutes and take out to flip veggies. Cook another 20 minutes, take out to do the same. 

4. After 40 minutes or when veggies begin to caramelize, bring over to 300F and cook for 10-15 minutes. 

5. Remove from oven and finish with balsamic vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. 


NO-MEAT BALLS (serves 4-5): 1/2 c cooked and cooled quinoa, 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, 1 can beans of choice (white beans used in this recipe, black beans work too), 1/4 c flour of choice, salt, pepper, 2 tbsp ketchup, tomato paste, or barbecue sauce, 1/2 tbsp sriracha (optional), 1/4 cup sesame, hemp, flax, or chia seeds, 1 tsp garlic powder, herbs (oregano, thyme, basil, parsley, etc.)


1. Preheat oven to 400F

2. Drain beans and use a fork to mash them in a bowl.

3. Mix in all other ingredients well. 

4. Scoop mixture into desired sized balls and place on a baking sheet.

5. Cook in oven for 30-40 minutes, or until crispy.


PASTA: Your choice, but @sprouts and @banza have great protein pasta options that boost the nutritional quality of this dish and keep you fuller for longer. 


Serve and enjoy! This dish is great with pesto, or sub the balsamic for marinara sauce. Let us know in the comments if you tried it and what you think!

By: Maddie McMurray


Toyota Tainted

Last fall, Toyota took an action that puts them squarely on the side of polluters in the battle for cleaner air. Back in October, Environmental Defence Fund (EDF) and others filed a lawsuit defending California’s vehicle emissions standards against an attack by the Trump administration – a case where Toyota might be expected to stand firmly on the side of defending California’s standards. Instead, Toyota sold us out, joining the defendant in attacking our state’s standards.

Toyota talks a pretty good talk when it comes to the environment. Just check out their goals in Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050, the first of which is “Reduce CO2 emissions from new vehicles by 90 percent from 2010 levels.” And you could say they’ve walked the talk too, with the iconic Prius – the first mass-produced hybrid-electric car, which pioneered mass electrification of passenger cars. 

But at the end of the day, the company has traded clean-air for favor with the Trump administration.

Why focus on Toyota?

Other carmakers besides Toyota took the defendant’s side in EDF’s lawsuit. So why single out Toyota? Because they, in particular, are demonstrating hypocrisy, given their facade of sustainability. And with 14.58% of the U.S. market in the first quarter of this year, they trail only GM and Ford. In addition, Toyota actually had a hand in crafting the California emissions standards!

We must fight Toyota’s stance, tooth and nail. There’s so much at stake – clean air in our lungs, a livable planet.

Assaulting California’s auto emissions standards

The Trump administration attack had come in September 2019, in the form of a rule “blocking California – or any other state – from setting its own standards for fuel economy or greenhouse gas pollution from vehicles”. It was well known that the administration was hell-bent from day one on favoring oil industry profits over clean air. (Just check out this timeline.) In anticipation of an attack, in July 2019, four major automakers reached an agreement with California to voluntarily adhere to its stricter emissions standards, regardless of what steps the federal government took. You’d think Toyota would have been among them, but you’d be wrong. The four companies that chose to protect our planet and our health were Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW.

Origin of California’s special status

California has had the right to set its own, stricter emissions standards for motor vehicles than the federal government’s, dating back to the 1967 Air Quality Act. That’s because California already had emissions standards in place by that time to address dire pollution in Los Angeles. The 1970 Clean Air Act honored that by allowing California to continue to write its own rules – subject to applying for and being granted a waiver by the EPA.

California is treated uniquely in this, due to its particularly severe motor vehicle-related air quality issues. However, under Section 177 of the Clean Air Act, any state can choose to follow California’s standards. Significantly, 13 states and the District of Columbia do so choose. Known as the “Section 177″ states, they are primarily in the northeast of the country. 

Importance of California’s special status

As goes California, so goes the rest of the country. That’s because it’s uneconomical for automakers to manufacture cars to two different emissions specifications – one for the 14 states using the California standard and another for the rest of the U.S. using the EPA standard. This makes California’s special status extremely significant in terms of controlling climate pollution and protecting the air that we breathe.

California’s standards have directly resulted in the development of major technological advances to clean vehicle emissions. As a result, in terms of smog-forming pollution, the average new car sold in California – and nationwide – is more than 99 percent cleaner than a car from the 1970s.

 “It’s hard to overstate how important the ability for California to set its standards has been to public health and clean air over the past 40 years,” says Don Anair, deputy director for the clean vehicles program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. And in a 2017 article, Wired Magazine’s Alex Davies called the California exemption “one of the most powerful environmental tools in the world.”

Assaulting Federal auto emissions standards

On March 31st, the Trump administration launched a second major assault on auto-emissions standards. In one of the biggest steps the administration has taken to reverse an existing environmental policy, it rolled back federal fuel economy standards established in 2012, under which new vehicle fleets would reach an average of 54 miles per gallon by 2025. Instead, that federal goal is now lowered to about 40 miles per gallon. 

This latest attack makes it even more important that we retain our state’s ambitious goals! Let’s leverage COVID-19 downtime to take action.

Hit them where it hurts

The best way to apply pressure is by affecting sales. Dealerships act as critical ‘middlemen’ for the auto industry. In late February, SD350 joined forces with Activist San Diego at a protest at a local Toyota dealership – the Larry H. Miller Toyota dealership in Lemon Grove. This was part of Activist San Diego’s Toyota Loves Trump campaign – a campaign to pressure Toyota to drop its support of the administration in the EDF lawsuit. But with most of us currently sequestered at home during the COVID-19 lockdown, we must take action now through calls, emails, letters, etc. 

What you can do

Please tell Toyota that their behavior is unacceptable by contacting them in any of the following ways: 

  1. Call one or more of the 11 San Diego Toyota dealerships.
  2. Submit a comment to Toyota corporate at Email Toyota (Choose Advertising/Marketing as the Topic on the left side.)
  3. Write to Toyota headquarters:
    Mr. Tetsuo Ogawa, CEO
    Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
    P.O. Box 259001
    Plano, TX 75025-9001

Here’s a sample of what you can say:

I’m a resident of XXX, California and am writing/calling to express my outrage at Toyota’s support of the Trump administration in striking down California’s right to have stricter auto-emissions standards than the EPA’s. 

I will not consider buying a Toyota [again] until Toyota Corporation does the following, and I will encourage my family and friends to do likewise:

  1. Drop support of the Trump administration in the lawsuit brought by EDF et al in October 2019.
  2. Publicly support California’s right to have stronger auto emissions standards than the EPA’s.

Our individual actions can add up to make a big difference in protecting our state’s auto emissions standards. Thanks in advance for your action on this issue!

Cultivating the Youth Leadership Movement

By: Jennifer Phelps, Youth Climate Leadership Program Leader

On Jan. 25th, SanDiego350 launched its kick-off for the Climate Youth Leaders pilot program 2020. Now more than ever, youth are at the frontlines, taking a powerful stand to ensure a sustainable future. Young people have organized some of the most successful climate strikes and environmental movements in the past year, and their numbers are growing. SanDiego350 has created a program to empower youth and harness this energy. The program is geared to train young people on how to organize actions, advocate, and motivate others to join them! 

Goals include:

  • Empower young people to take action on climate
  • Foster leadership skills
  • Provide education on the intersection of social justice and environmental justice issues
  • Create a community of like-minded youth for support and inspiration

This pilot program pairs students with experienced climate activist “coaches,” who will share their expertise throughout the six month program. Clubs also receive the newly published Fight Like a Climate Activist: Handbook and D.I.Y. Roadmap to Environmental Clubs on Campus (produced by SD350), a customized step-by-step guide to mobilize their club to take meaningful and powerful actions. The Handbook features youth leaders in the movement, as inspiration and guidance (“hot tips!”). Designed to offer flexibility, students are encouraged to personalize their approach, depending upon their specific club agenda. 

Upcoming events include: Climate Youth Leaders Summit on April 4 (full-day training, speakers, and interactive exercises), supporting students to hold effective Climate Strikes (April 22), and a celebration dinner in June to conclude the program. 

Contact Jennifer Phelps to get involved.