|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
San Diego, CA – Saturday, December 12th -- several hundred San Diegans marched in Balboa Park, joining with hundreds of thousands of people around the world in a solidarity action marking the end of the United Nations Climate Talks - where world leaders met from Nov 30 - Dec 12 in Paris to negotiate a global climate treaty. San Diegans called for stronger climate solutions that create local jobs, strengthen community power, and transition us to 100% clean energy while prioritizing the most impacted communities for investment in renewables, transit, and green jobs. Demonstrators called on leaders not to cross climate red lines - including keeping 80% of fossil fuels in the ground and ensuring a just transition to renewable energy. They also celebrated San Diego taking leadership in passing a strong, enforceable climate action plan on December 15 that will achieve 100% clean energy by 2035.
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Participants gathered at 6th and Laurel and marched to the Fleet Center Fountain in Balboa Park for a rally. Speaker Jeff Severinghaus, Professor of Geosciences at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, emphasized the urgency and dangers of global warming. “Like the doctors fighting against lung cancer caused by cigarettes, we climate scientists are horrified by the inexorable decay of our planetary life support systems caused by fossil fuel burning. The time to act is now. We need world leaders to swiftly enact policy solutions that reduce fossil fuel emissions to near zero.”
Rev. J. Lee Hill, Jr., Pastor and Co-Chair of the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice, pointed to the moral and faith imperative to reduce global emissions and called for unity in our actions to address climate change. “God calls us to a life of ecological justice; to allow our faith to move us toward good acts of justice on the earth’s behalf. We must all come together, bridging our numerous divides, to demand action and change from our world leaders to make our world more inhabitable for future generations.”
“Climate change is the greatest threat to our generation,” said Sydney Helfand and Niki Nair, two of the leaders of the Middle School Green Team at La Jolla Country Day School. “We're taking action; we implore you to join us.” They were followed by Professor Jim Miller, of San Diego City College, and chair of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council Environmental Caucus, who talked about why climate change is an issue of economic justice and intertwined with worker rights. “If we are really going to save the planet, we need a movement that unites economic and environmental justice and offers both a strong moral case for bold environmental action and a future that doesn’t further deepen already historic levels of economic inequality, protecting the interests of the affluent while leaving the poor behind.”
Anne Marie Tipton, of SanDiego350, spoke about what each of us can do to make a difference. "Individual actions and behaviors like driving less or eating less meat and dairy are important solutions to climate change, but working together in organizations like San Diego 350 on community-based solutions can give folks 'more bang for their buck' and it is way more fun!"
San Diego Councilmember David Alvarez then addressed the crowd and talked about climate justice in San Diego, who gets hurt by inaction and how we can fix that. He reminded the crowd that the San Diego Climate Action Plan will be voted on by the City Council on December 15. “The Climate Action Plan is critical to protecting and preserving our environment for future generations. In order to actually accomplish this, I will be keeping a close watch over the plan’s implementation through ongoing engagement and dialogue with a diverse mix of public stakeholders. Only by turning the plan into action, will we help the neighborhoods that are most harmed by climate change.”
Nicole Capretz, of Climate Action Campaign, then spoke about the importance of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan in setting the standard for other cities in the region. “The city is on the cusp of passing the most bold Climate Action Plan in the country with 100% clean energy mandate. Not only will this preserve the people and places we love in San Diego, it will be a model for the other cities in the region, state, nation and even internationally. It's great news that San Diego is the vanguard in this movement to take control of our destiny and save our future for generations to come.”
Throughout the day, large colorful red banners, live music and festive activities captivated marchers and the public at large.
The March and Rally for Climate Justice was organized by SanDiego350 and supported by a diverse coalition of dozens of environmental, health, labor, faith and civic organizations including San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council Environmental Caucus, Environmental Health Coalition, IBEW Local 569, California Nurses Association, Climate Action Campaign, AFT Guild 1931, Project New Village, Interfaith Center for Worker Justice, San Diego Coalition for Peace & Justice, Stay Cool 4 Grandkids, Citizen’s Climate Lobby, and many more.
SanDiego350, an all-volunteer, non-profit organization, is concerned about climate change and its very real effects on our livelihoods, well-being, and the future for our children. We work to increase awareness of climate change and advocate for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We are affiliated with 350.org, the international climate organization, whose work inspires us.