Youth4Climate’s Level Up Summer Camp Brings Climate Justice Programming to Morse and Hoover High

By Chris Kracha

This July and August, SanDiego350 launched an in-person Youth4Climate (Y4C) summer camp at two San Diego High Schools for the first time, as part of the Level Up program – with support from the SD Foundation and the San Diego Unified School District. This program was created to provide summer learning and enrichment opportunities for students who have less access to these types of programs. The camp was held four days per week, for five weeks at Morse and Hoover High Schools.

At the beginning of camp, we were all still emerging from our COVID bubbles. After over a year of isolation and zoom class, it gets hard to break out of one’s shell! 

But by the second week, we were making jokes, playing games, and doing projects together. The field trips were especially helpful with getting everyone used to being around each other again. On our hike in Manzanita Canyon, I got to know each of the campers much better, and showed them some native plant names and traditional uses. Joel was one student who was really interested in plants, and by the end of the hike, we had gathered handfuls of fragrant fennel buds to take home.

Early on, campers started to realize that living “green”, supporting environmental causes, and getting involved in their communities was easier than they had previously thought. When we played a game of “personal action BINGO”, one camper, Jiyaulei, said she had no idea that so many of the actions she and her sister took at home were good for the environment: They were already using public transit, reusing old food containers for storage, air drying clothes, and more! Another student named Michael had a similar realization, and started to question why so much advertising and corporate messaging focuses on changing the individual actions we take, when everyone in the room was already taking many actions themselves.

In the middle of the camp, we focused on building personal resilience and developing support networks for ourselves among our friends, family, peers, role models, and community groups. This was my favorite part of the camp, because I got to share many of the methods I use to keep myself calm and resilient. Some students benefited from this as well. My co-facilitator Alyssa Nguyen – a high school student at Mt. Carmel High School and active in the Youth4Climate Program – was able to use some of the personal resilience methods to help out a student who came to camp visibly distressed. By the end of the day, we were all playing charades together and there were no tears to be seen.

Later on, we began to explore the common roots between economic and racial injustices and environmental injustices. Ronald and Nafeesa were two students already involved in social justice groups who were able to connect their current efforts to environmental change. Many other students became even more interested after learning that environmental injustices disproportionately impact their communities and communities around them. Once we learned about environmental injustices, we focused on how organizing our communities can combat injustices of any kind. 

By the end of the camp, everyone had made new friends. Melaina, Jiyaulei, Jiyaunah, and Nafeesa were all relieved that they had met fellow students at Hoover High, before they entered high school for the first time in-person! Alyssa and I were a camp counselor dream team by the end of the camp, and we had both become much more confident leading and teaching groups around our own ages. On the last Wednesday of camp at Hoover, we spread out in the grass, munched on vegan banh mi from a local Vietnamese cafe, and played a few rounds of Uno.

The last day of camp was also the last field trip. We traveled to Mission Bay where we had a picnic of vegan burritos and played games, like egg and spoon races in the sand. The campers also noticed all the trash littering the beaches around the bay and we took this opportunity to take action together. We used our trash grabber to clean up the litter around the area. It was inspiring to see the campers so concerned for the wellbeing of wildlife and the oceans. They were so eager to spring into action! We discussed the interconnectedness of the San Diego waterways and the importance of keeping the roads, as well as nature spaces, free from trash. Spending time in nature on a beautiful sunny day at the bay was an amazing way to finish off our camp!

Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month: Fighting for Environmental Justice

By Monica Gil dos Santos, Marketing and Communications & JEDI Committees

From September 15 to October 15, National Hispanic Heritage Month is a celebration created to honor Latinx and Hispanic Americans’ histories, cultures, and contributions.

This celebration was first introduced by President Lyndon B. Johnson as National Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 “to pay special tribute to the Hispanic tradition.” Johnson created this week to celebrate the Independence Day of five Latin American countries – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua – that earned their independence from Spain on September 15. With Mexico, Chile, and Belize celebrating their independence from Spain and the United Kingdom on September 16, 18, and 21, the week was extended by President Ronald Reagan to the first Hispanic Heritage Month in 1988.

According to the Census Bureau, the U.S. Hispanic population is 60.6 million as of July 1, 2019. This makes people of Hispanic origin the largest ethnic or racial minority in the USA. Throughout the country, Hispanics help advance our economy, improve our communities, and bring a diverse and vital perspective to social, justice, and environmental issues. Yet, they are one of the marginalized communities disproportionately impacted by climate change.

According to a study published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2019, Hispanics breathe 63 % more air pollution that leads to health damage than they make, while Caucasians are exposed to 17% less air pollution than they make.

Housing Discrimination and Environmental Injustice

All over the world, marginalized groups and minority communities, especially people in low- and lower-middle-income countries, have been impacted by the increasing effects of climate change. A recent study found that the countries most affected by climate disasters are in the Global South, such as Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Puerto Rico, Bolivia, and Haiti.

Also in the U.S., people of color suffer from a multitude of environmental injustices. For example, is it no secret that there is still residential segregation. People of minorities tend to live in neighborhoods considered “hazardous” by lending institutions, giving them no opportunity to improve their housing or economic situation.

According to a study published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2019, Hispanics breathe 63 % more air pollution that leads to health damage than they make, while Caucasians are exposed to 17 % less air pollution than they make.

In California, some regions are advised to stay indoors to avoid outdoor pollution exposure on hot days, potentially being stuck in a home without cool air. For example, 64 % of disadvantaged communities in southern Los Angeles live below the poverty level with no access to air conditioning or affordable energy, making them more vulnerable to hot temperatures during heat waves due to global warming.

Aside from the impact of extreme heat, severe weather such as hurricanes also become more frequent due to climate change. In 2005, New Orleans’ Hurricane Katrina caused approximately 2,000 deaths and roughly one million residents’ displacement, with 75 % of the displaced residents being African American. More than 30 % of these residents didn’t own a car, making it difficult to leave the city in time. With no financial resources, people of color find themselves in a dangerous position of life and death due to climate hazards.

Furthermore, many people living in poverty and marginalized communities rely on agriculture and natural resources to survive. All over the world, people of color and low-income communities are less responsible for climate change yet more vulnerable to the effect of climate change, including heatwaves, storms, hurricanes, floods, and other disasters.

Driving Change in Climate Injustice

This year, we want to show you some ways to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month:

  • Practice self-education.
  • Elevate the voices of impacted communities and spread the word
  • Donate to organizations advocating for marginalized people of color and/or environmental justice, such as SanDiego350, Environmental Health Coalition and Latino Coalition for a Healthy California
  • Get involved in climate action and volunteer, SanDiego350 is always looking for more volunteers!
  • Support small-scale Hispanic farmers and businesses
  • Advocate for federal action to reduce emissions of pollutants that cause global warming and affect human health
  • Call on elected officials to protect most vulnerable communities from climate hazards and invest in equitable solutions to the climate crisis

Let’s end climate injustice.

Let’s speak up.

Let’s act.

¡Sí se puede!

Here is how you can get involved with SanDiego350:

Fill out our volunteer interest form or email us at for more information.

Member of the Month: Bella Santos

Meet September’s Member of the Month, Bella Santos! Here she tells us about how she got involved and her advice for other’s who are interested in making a difference.

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

I was connected to San Diego 350 through the Youth4Climate Summer Camp in 2020 and continued to get more involved in the organization. I was actually connected through a Girl Scouts page where a local mom shared the opportunity!

What drives your activism?

 Being able to connect with so many other like-minded youth who are passionate about environmental justice is so motivating. Seeing how our efforts translate to victories is so empowering! Whether it’s discussing climate change or our regular lives, I always enjoy spending time with the folks around me.

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?

I always tell people who want to get involved to just get started somewhere. Just attending one call will allow you to connect with others, learn something new, and take collaborative action for the planet. From there, you can see where your passions fit into the working puzzle of San Diego 350. In my activism, I make efforts to show youth the endless opportunities for involvement. Whether you’re interested in protesting, organizing, or even graphic design, there is always a place for you in the movement! I work to prioritize using a JEDI lens in my activism after learning that BIPOC and low-income communities are hit the hardest by the climate crisis despite contributing the least to emissions. As many are already being negatively impacted today, it is important that we take urgent and equitable action. 

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

I’m a rising junior at Westview High School in Rancho Peñasquitos. I am a Girl Scout and tri-sport athlete playing soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey! Within SD350 and Youth4Climate, I am a part of the teams Youth v. Oil, Plastic Free Gen Z, Eco-Club Coalition, and was the Spring Media Fellow. I am currently working on spearheading a Y4C summit called the Eco-Club Coalition Leaders in Action Workshop (ECCLAW) on August 28 from 2:30-5 PT. This ECC kickoff is an opportunity is for youth and their advisors to help jumpstart and grow their eco-clubs for the coming school year. We have updates for all of our events on our Instagram @youth4climate.350 !!

Heat mapping for Climate Justice

Five members of the SD350 JEDI team became heat-mapping scientists for a day on Sept. 13. We volunteered to drive around areas of the San Diego at certain times – starting at 6 am! – with GPS-connected heat sensors. 

It was part of a national Urban Heat Island mapping campaign taking place in nine cities this year.  The project is aimed at making sure cities focus heat-relieving resources on the neighborhoods suffering most from climate change. 

As the climate crisis increases dangerous heat waves, low-income areas with little tree canopy and lots of pavement usually are hottest. The data we helped collect are intended to direct City of San Diego funding to plant trees and provide shaded and air-conditioned facilities where people most need to escape the heat.

Union-Tribune story about the local mapping project said the City’s climate resiliency plan is expected this fall.

The JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) team members Alex Abrams, David Gangsei, Kathryn Link-Oberstar, Maura Deignan, and Susan Duerksen joined volunteers from Outdoor Outreach and High Tech High to collect the heat data. 

The Disarray of Fast Fashion

by Vaishnavi Kuppa

On average, many of the clothes in our closets are said to be used about seven months before they end up in landfills. Either they aren’t trending anymore, too big or too small, damaged, not useful or just hoard up closet space that we want to clear out so we can buy new clothes. The cycle then continues; wear and throw, wear and throw almost like single use plastics. 

It isn’t that different, considering the majority of our clothes use polyester which is a type of plastic. 

This unsustainable cycle that takes place in our everyday lives is called fast fashion. Fast fashion is cheap clothing that is mass produced and styles that mimic luxurious brands and the latest trends. They tend to appeal to a larger group of consumers, who cannot afford luxury branded clothing but would all want the illusion that those clothes offer. However, the end results from mass produced retailers end up being of low-quality clothing which fuels throwaway culture. 

Social media plays a big role in why people partake in fast fashion. Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and Twitter have driven people to share their glow up or haul videos, which have led consumers and followers to splurge on outfits to make themselves appear trendy, and to match their favorite idol or influencers. The emergence of many online retailers such as Shein, 

Amazon, YesStyle, Forever 21, Fashion Nova and H&M selling these cheap clothes have made it easily accessible for consumers to buy clothes that they don’t even need. 

So, what are the problems with fast fashion? 

As mentioned previously, polyester is to be one of the most-used fabrics in the fashion industry. Polyester is made from fossil fuels and one of the biggest concerns with this material is that it sheds microplastics. Similar to conventional plastics we know of, polyester also takes about 200 years to biodegrade. So if clothes are being bought and thrown at a rapid speed, these microplastics will pile up in landfills or in the process of washing clothes and enter into waterways such as the oceans. The fashion industry also is depleting our natural resources and water is one of them. According to the UN, a single pair of jeans would take 2000 gallons of water and would also generate a large amount of wastewater with microplastics in it. 

Because of the fast-paced process of buying and getting clothes, it has also amassed major textile waste and pollution. Transportation and packaging related pollution increases when most people are buying clothes online and having it shipped to their doorstep. Aside from going to landfills, the clothes that end up in garbage trucks are sometimes burnt. Burning mountains of clothes every single day is one of the leading ways that carbon dioxide emissions are being released, which worsens global warming. Sometimes these are clothes that have not been sold or used and are just extra stock. Various companies such as H&M have been burning their mass produced unsold garments (that equal up to $4.3 billion) to make room for clothes that represent newer trends. 

Aside from environmental problems, fast fashion also encourages companies to exploit their workers by making them work in harsh conditions and paying them low wages. Fast fashion is cheap for a reason— it is unethical and to make profit from selling clothes at such low prices, workers are generally paid very little. They are working for long hours in often harmful workspaces since they expose the workers to toxic chemicals in unventilated establishments. 

What are some solutions to combat this problem? 

Reflect before buying: Before buying clothes, reflect a little bit and ask yourself these questions: What occasion are you buying this outfit for? Do you already have something similar you can use? How many mes will you actually wear the clothing item? If you’re buying for the sake of retail therapy, maybe reconsider. 

Keep and reuse for longer: Don’t throw it out just because you already took pictures with an outfit for your Instagram! It’ll help you save money as well as saving the environment to repeat outfits and it’s extremely unlikely that anyone even notices. Even with damaged clothes, many platforms such as TikTok are promong MIY (make-it-yourself) videos for crocheting, knitting or embroidering clothes. It could be a new hobby you can take on! 

Buying second-hand/thrifting: Second hand clothes seem to have a stigma that they will be dirty or damaged or out of trend, but that’s a misconception! Consumers have many options for them from shopping in-person at thrift stores such as Goodwill, to buying from online second hand stores such as thredUp. These services make sure the clothes you are paying for are of best quality, and they’re sure to have something everyone likes. 

Selling clothes: It’s simple, why not make some of the money that you spent on buying your clothes? Apps such as thredUp, Poshmark, and Depop not only allow you to buy second-hand, but you can also sell your clothes on those platforms! With the money you make from selling, you can buy other second-hand clothes, which will be economically beneficial for you as well.

Donang to friends, family, or anyone who needs it: Pass-me-downs, hand-me-downs and sharing clothes with friends and family is a sustainable way to not let your clothes go to waste and increase their use span. There are also options to find donating clothes bins to charitable organizations such as the American Red Cross or your local social services institution that help to make good use of your clothes. 

Shop from sustainable brands: Quality or over quantity will be a good use of your money and you won’t have to throw out clothes as often. Many sustainable brands are also small businesses that you can shop locally for, which will reduce your carbon footprint with transportation. They are also mostly up to date with the fashion trends, so you’ll be in good hands. 

Remember, not everybody is perfect when it comes to buying sustainably. Our economic situation influences us to shop cheap and mass-produced products but little changes in what we do once we have these clothes can make a huge impact.


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The Advantages of Local Foods

By Harrison Sweet, Food and Soil Committee

Over the past year, the pandemic has exposed the limitations and problems with our globalized and hyper-connected world. We have seen toilet paper shortages, hospital and healthcare services overrun, and a worldwide shipping delay costing billions of dollars from a ship stuck in the Suez Canal. We’ve seen the spread of disinformation and conspiracy theories about the pandemic as well as the radicalization of many Americans by the global social media apps like Twitter and Facebook. We have seen transnational corporations force people back to work without proper safety protection and governments open up way too early. We have seen the ugly side of globalization.

In a recent book by Helena Norberg-Hodges, she lays out a scathing critique of globalization and proposes a new way of living that’s more sustainable, healthier and gives people more meaning: localization. Norberg-Hodges defines localization as “a process of economic decentralization that enables communities, regions, and nations to take more control of their own affairs…shortening the distance between producers and consumers wherever possible, and striking a healthier balance between local and global markets” (Norberg-Hodge 2019). Now, this can often be confused with isolationism, or protectionism but more specifically localization is a process of counter-development through a “recognition of what older cultures often did well: they relied on local resources and local knowledge to meet people’s material needs…[and] they put a high value on community ties, which enabled them to meet people’s psychological need for connection and security” (Norberg-Hodge 2019). Localization is about trying to find a better balance between the energy we spend on our own towns and cities and the energy we spend on big, transnational companies.

A key part in this definition of localization is local foods, which are foods that are “grown and harvested within 100 miles of your home or the restaurant where it’s served. It doesn’t come from large commercial farms, and it isn’t transported over long distances…Locally grown foods are found at farmer’s markets, roadside farm stands, pick-your-own food farms and through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs” (Amisson 2020). Local foods have many benefits on top of the decreased distance that food travels which include improving community health, increasing environmental education and enriching food security. Having the source of the food nearby helps community members see the process their food goes through as it travels from the farm to their house, deepening the connection between them and the environment.

This connection also strengthens community bonds and helps both farmers decrease their economic uncertainty every year and educators teaching children about where their food comes from and how to eat well (Dixon 2009). It also gives climate activists a way to educate the public about climate change in a way that directly pertains to their and the community’s well-being. Although eating a better diet consisting mainly of plant-based products can have a bigger greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction than local foods, certain products bought locally can help reduce GHG emissions especially if the products require emissions heavy transportation (Weber 2008). Finally, local food helps to increase the food resiliency of the community by encouraging diversity and carbon farming techniques that help to create better soil, more nutritious plants and a healthier atmosphere (Horst 2017). It also helps wildlife reclaim some of their ecological niches and restores the natural balance within those communities. 

Localization is a process of pulling back and realizing what’s important in our communities. It’s about re-establishing bonds and connections with both the people around you as well as the land we all live on. It’s about slowing down, appreciating everything that we have and moving forward in a deliberate and mindful way.

Local Food References

Amisson, L. (2020, September 14). Is Eating Locally Grown Food Healthier for You? . Retrieved March 6, 2021, from

Dixon, J. M., Donati, K. J., Pike, L. L., & Hattersley, L. (2009). Functional foods and urban agriculture: two responses to climate change-related food insecurity. New South Wales Public Health Bulletin, 20(2), 14.

Horst, M., Mcclintock, N., & Hoey, L. (2017). The Intersection of Planning, Urban Agriculture, and Food Justice: A Review of the Literature. Journal of the American Planning Association, 83(3), 277–295.

Norberg-Hodge, H. (2019). Local Is Our Future: Steps to an Economics of Happiness . Local Futures. Retrieved from

Weber, C. L., & Matthews, H. S. (2008). Food-miles and the relative climate impacts of food choices in the United States. _Environmental Science and Technology_, _42_(10), 3508–3513.

Get involved with our Food and Soil Team

Check out the team page or email us. at

“Code Red for Humanity”: a dire warning from the IPCC and our climate action

By Kathryn Link-Oberstar (fundraising team co-leader), Toshi Ishihara (board member), and Masada Disenhouse (executive director). 

This week, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its most grim and decisive climate assessment to date.

In its starkest conclusions yet, the IPCC attributes a definitive causal relationship between human-induced climate change, and intensifying weather and climate events. 

For those of us in the trenches, this is not a surprise, but an affirmation of our worst fears – that inaction and false promises by global leaders and politicians have pushed our climate to its limit. That some changes, like sea-level rise and ocean acidification, are irreversible, and others will take centuries or millennia to reverse. We are on track to exceed 2°C of warming in this century, and unless we take immediate and decisive action now, the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Accords will be out of reach. 

UN Secretary-General António Guterres characterized the IPCC report as “nothing less than a Code Red for Humanity.” He said “The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk.”

While the report does not discuss the role of the fossil fuel industry in the crisis, the UN Secretary-General didn’t mince words, saying “This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet.” Despite this, fossil fuel companies – and utilities like SDG&E / Sempra in San Diego – are doubling down on fossil fuel extraction at the exact time we should be ending. 

It is clear that there is no future scenario in which we turn back the clock. However, the report indicates the climate can be stabilized by “strong, rapid, and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and reaching net zero CO2 emissions.” We know that only powerful citizen action around the world can stop the fossil fuel industry and stem the tide of devastating climate impacts. 

Now, more than ever, we must push harder and mobilize more people to enact bold climate policy in our region, the country and the world. 

Preventing the worst impacts of climate change relies on mobilizing our communities to stand up and take action. SanDiego350 has been doing this for nearly a decade. We have over 15 volunteer lead teams and hundreds of volunteers. And, as Masada shared on CBS8 earlier this week, in our ten years fighting for climate justice in San Diego, we’ve seen that bold action by individuals, here and around the world, is the driving force for change. 

However, we need to step up our efforts. We must aggressively demand climate action and to hold elected officials and business leaders accountable for taking those actions necessary to securing a livable planet for us, our children and grandchildren. And, we must raise public awareness of the urgency of the climate crisis, climate justice, and what they can do to demand action and prepare for the worst impacts.

We feel that climate change is disrupting the world in our bones. To save civilization we need to fight like hell right now. Together we can create change and stand up for what’s right. We’re grateful to be standing with all of you. 

What is building electrification?

By Jeanne Brown

Building Electrification is the term used when converting all your energy uses to electricity rather than natural gas. “Natural” gas is almost 95 % methane. Methane has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 28-36 times that of CO2. San Diego’s Climate Action Plan’s goals will not be achieved without cutting this fuel from our energy budget.So let’s look at how we can achieve this. The most logical change is to make sure that new construction doesn’t include the installation of gas infrastructure.  That will save money in construction, will make those communities safer from explosions and they will never have the inevitable expense of conversion to all-electric. For the rest of us, what could we be doing?

Induction Cooking: This is not your mother’s electric stove! A number of groups, including the Sierra Club and the San Diego Green Building Council, have a free 3-week Induction cooktop trial. Try The scare tactics are that you have to go out and buy a whole new expensive set of cookware. My cast-iron pans worked as well as my wok and one of my fry pans.  It was as sensitive as gas, if not more so. Gas stoves combust and release pollutants to our homes. Children who live in homes with gas stoves have a 42% increase in asthmatic symptoms and a 24% increase in being diagnosed with asthma.

Heat pump heating and air-conditioning: Electric heat pumps move warm air from outside to the inside for heating, and from inside to the outside for air conditioning. They are many times more efficient than natural gas. In San Diego with our relatively mild climate, heat pumps work very well. 

Heat pump water heaters: These water heaters are extremely efficient for electrification as well.There is a $500 instant rebate from SDG&E for changing to a heat-pump water heater and a $300 tax credit from the IRS.

Electric Clothes drying: Electric clothes dryers are one solution. A clothesline is another. The electric dryers vary in efficiency and whether they require 120V or 240V.

Are you a renter and don’t have control over any of this?  What can you do? (1) Be sure to support Community Choice Energy that will allow us to have the choice of clean renewable electricity. (2) Continue your membership with SD 350. San Diego 350 is a founding member of the San Diego Building Electrification Coalition. (3) Volunteer to help us change the codes in cities around our county.There is also more legislation coming from Sacramento. SB 1477 provides $50 million in annual incentives through 2023 to jumpstart the market for clean, low- emission heating technologies.  California’s updated building code requires all new single-family and low-rise apartment homes in the state to have access to renewable electricity. This is the perfect time for us to begin to electrify our homes and businesses.

Want to get involved with electrifying the county? Volunteer at
@SDBECoalition on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram

Celebrating Pride 2021

By Mel Viloria

San Diego Pride, best known for the San Diego Pride Parade and Festival—the largest civic-event in San Diego—also operates as a year-round education and advocacy organization, providing over 30 programs such as Youth Leadership Academy, She Fest, Transgender Day of Empowerment, QAPIMEDA & Latinx Coalitions, Art of Pride, DevOUT and more (if you are in any part of the LGBTQ+ community, there is a space for you in our organization). In addition to our annual festivities, San Diego Pride has donated over 3 million dollars to LGBTQ-serving nonprofits through our Pride Community Grants, making us one of the most philanthropic Pride organizations in the world.

While COVID-19 has prevented us from putting on our normal celebration, we hosted over 38 community events in the month of July 2021, ensuring that our community can celebrate together, but in smaller, limited capacity satellite events. You can view the full list here. On Sunday, July 11, we hosted our Resilient Community march, highlighting that our community has made it out of multiple pandemics, such as the HIV/AIDS pandemic and COVID, while acknowledging that Black trans women are still being murdered at a disproportionately higher rate, and thus, our work for equality is far from over. The Black LGBTQ Coalition, Latinx Coalition, and QAPIMEDA coalitions led the Resilient March last weekend to the tune of 16,000~ attendees that marched from Balboa Park to the Hillcrest Pride flag.

July Member of the Month

Steven Gelb works on the SD350 Transportation Team. We interviewed him to learn more about his valuable contributions to our mission.

How did you first get involved with SD350, and when was that?
Until recently I was involved with the Alternatives to Violence Project co-facilitating workshops with inmates in California state prisons and volunteering at the immigrant/refugee shelter run by Jewish Family Service. When the pandemic arrived those programs closed down.  Last summer, I participated in a SD350 webinar on transportation and afterward received an invitation to join the transportation committee. Bee reached out to me and spoke of the need to have a transportation team member be a liaison to BikeSD. As a passionate advocate of bicycling for transportation and member of BikeSD (and many other bicycle organizations) I was happy to be that person.

What drives your activism?
I have a personal need to be of service to the larger collective we all belong to. It’s a special joy for me to work together with others in a spirit of generosity and community.  The enormity of the climate emergency motivates me to work for the sake of my grandchildren and all life on this planet.

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? 
I honestly don’t feel like I’ve been in the movement long enough to advise others. But I do know that growing a movement is crucial and I admire the democratic, inclusive, and supportive culture of SD350.  I’ve learned from SD350 members with more experience and knowledge, not only about technical issues related to climate change, but also about the political context and how to negotiate it to good effect. It’s not enough to be right on the issues. We have to draw in more people to work with us and build relationships with people who are indifferent or working for the status quo..

Is there anything else you would like people to know about you?
As a teenager I went to the August 28, 1963, March on Washington at which Dr. Martin Luther King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. That experience has had a lasting influence..