Juliana v. U.S.: A healthy planet  –  worthy cause or a right?

Credit: Pixabay

by Ivanna Patton

The debate on climate change in the U.S. is taking an unexpected turn. New questions are being raised, not about whether a healthy climate is a cause the government should support, but rather a human right they must defend.

Twenty-one youths, in conjunction with Earth Guardians, say it’s a human right, and have sued the U.S government. Their case, Juliana v. U.S., has been pretty promising so far. Since its inception in 2015, it’s already become one of the most widely discussed lawsuits in the history of the environmental movement.

[Read more…]

San Diego’s Community Choice Energy Technical Study Stands Up Under Scrutiny

Conservative Assumptions Camouflage this New Energy Option’s Benefits

Originally published by the San Diego Free Press on October 27th 2017
For a primer on Community Choice Energy, see this San Diego Free Press article.

Credit: Pixabay

By Tyson Siegele / San Diego 350

San Diego struggles under the yoke of the highest electricity prices in the state. Meanwhile, thousands of cities across the United States have executed a plan to reduce their electricity prices, called Community Choice Energy. City officials hired an expert to determine if Community Choice would work here too. The technical study, also known as the feasibility study, found that San Diego would benefit from Community Choice, just like thousands of cities before it.

In July, when the City released the technical study, several publications such as the San Diego Union-Tribune and the Voice of San Diegohighlighted the main finding of the study: “San Diego could provide cheaper, greener energy than SDG&E.” Now, having had several months to digest the findings and compare them to Community Choice Energy programs across the state, additional conclusions can be teased out of the study.

SDG&E provides high-cost energy with average clean energy content

To understand the technical study better, one needs context. Stating that CCE can provide “cheaper, cleaner” energy does not allow us to adequately judge the program. How much cheaper? How much cleaner? The following table lists the percentages of *pollution-free electricity from various providers in California. [Read more…]

Interfaith Team Member Spotlight: Phil Petrie

Philip Petrie is the co-leader of SanDiego350’s Interfaith Team – a role he shares with fellow team member James Long. The Interfaith Team urges faith communities of all backgrounds to come together on the issue of climate change and climate justice.  Their mission is to seed creation care teams in faith communities of all denominations around San Diego and to build an Interfaith Climate Coalition of faith leaders in San Diego.

A self-proclaimed devout Episcopalian, Petrie believes religions approach climate change with a different perspective–that the universe has a divine origin and purpose, and that human beings are to take care of the earth and use its resources wisely.  “We may think that the world was made for us to do with as we please,” he says, “but really God made humans also as part of His divine creation, calling on us to treat animals and other life forms better than we have and to live in greater harmony with the planet,” said Petrie. [Read more…]

Climate Change Lawsuits and Coastal Plans — Where Does San Diego Stand?

By Stephanie Corkran / SanDiego350
Originally published by the San Diego Free Press on October 27th 2017

Image of San Diego skyline viewed from Coronado, but with Coronado under water from sea level rise

Coronado Island in 2300 if sea level rises by 12 feet; Nickolay Lamm/StorageFront.com, Data: Climate Central

San Francisco, Oakland, San Mateo, Marin and Imperial Beach are suing fossil fuel companies over the sea level rise and expected property damages to homes and businesses. The claims cite increased cost of infrastructure, emergency response, coastal flooding and extreme storms. Danger to health and the obstruction of free use of property and free passage of waterways and parks is included.

[Read more…]

Interfaith Team Member Spotlight: Fr. Emmet Farrell

Fr. Farrell in his priest robes

Father Emmet Farrell is one of SanDiego350’s climate change action warriors. He is a member of our Interfaith Team and serves on the San Diego Interfaith Climate Coalition. The Interfaith Team – which formally came into being earlier this year – comprises SanDiego350 members who belong to various congregations and faith backgrounds. The team’s mission is to support the revival of the San Diego Interfaith Climate Coalition (which was formed in 2015) and to support creation care efforts in the diverse faith communities in our area.

A Catholic priest for 52 years, Fr. Farrell is originally from Iowa where he grew up on a farm. He is fluent in Spanish, having served sixteen years in Latin America – specifically in Peru. There he worked heavily on social justice issues such as inequality and helping the poor. During this foreign mission work, he spent eight years in a slum town on the outskirts of Lima, four years in Chimbote (a small coastal fishing and steel manufacturing town) and the last four years in a small mountain town in the Andes mountains south of Cuzco. Upon his return to the United States, Fr. Farrell continued to serve in the parishes of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in San Ysidro, St. Anthony in National City and, lastly, at St. Jude Parish in Southcrest before retiring from the priesthood. [Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

SanDiego350 Climate Presentation at Lions Club – National City

By Mônica Prado, SanDiego350 

On August 31st, the SanDiego350 Presentation Team shared with members of a local Lions Club in National City what we can do together to solve the climate crisis. Presenters Nancy Cottingham and Beverly Harju explained what climate change is and how we, as individuals and collectively, can act towards reducing fossil fuels emissions.  The presentation was organized by Larry Emerson, a National City resident and SanDiego350 volunteer, with the support of National City Host Lions Club.

Nancy Cottingham presenting at National City Lion’s Club, Photo by Mônica Prado

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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…]

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…]