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Sonoma County Climate Change Activists Summit
Climate change activists have their act together in Sonoma County, California!
Sonoma County Climate Change Activists Summit
Climate change and global warming are on the minds of many of us here in Sonoma County and this concern has seeded many groups to focus on this issue.
On July 31st, Occupy Sonoma County hosted a gathering of local climate change activists at the Peace & Justice Center along with 350Sonoma. The purpose of this summit was to introduce ourselves and our various climate change campaigns to one another for a cross-fertilization of groups and individuals. Over 70 people, representing 25 local climate change organizations, attended.
The first hour was spent getting to know each other socially at a potluck. We spent the next two hours introducing ourselves and the climate protection campaigns we are engaged in. Each group was given five minutes and then individual climate activists were given one minute to talk about their efforts. It was exciting to see all the climate change groups come together and learn what each group is doing and create a stronger connection. Everybody was excited about being there.
Many of the groups, such as Sierra Club Sonoma, Transition Sonoma Valley, the Lite Initiative, the Climate Change Disaster Campaign, The Center for Climate Protection and Sonoma County Conservation Action have campaigns focused on influencing governments to take immediate, decisive action. Democratic Socialists North Bay, Sonoma County Citizens Climate Lobby, 350 Sonoma, Fossil Free California and Friends of Public Banking are using economic pressure, primarily for divestment from fossil fuel companies. North Bay Jobs with Justice, an umbrella group of 18 organizations, is working with the Teamsters to ensure quality waste management that is socially responsible and environmentally sustainable with safety and union benefits for workers. Zero Waste and Green Mary were there to address waste diversion as a method for reducing greenhouse gases. The Community Alliance with Family Farmers, the Compost Coalition and Northern California Earth Institute concentrate their efforts on sustainable farming and soil management while the Regional Climate Protection Authority and Sonoma County Transportation Authority are government agencies that deal with local transportation issues. The Center for Climate Protection is working on Sonoma Clean Power. Daily Acts pays attention to the effects of climate change on the health of growing children and teaches hands-on skills for sustainable practices such as gray water systems and lawn conversion. Sonoma Solidarity with Standing Rock supports public banking and is raising funds for legal issues including the defense of water protectors and lawsuits to force divestments. The Green Party has been about protecting the environment since its inception. Occupy Sonoma County talked about their GMO campaign, their Earth Action listserv and unveiled their Climate Change Declaration. Local students spoke including a Sonoma State University student, three students from Santa Rosa Junior College who are forming an Environmental Club and a Freshman from Analy High School who has formed Schools for Climate Action. The Sonoma County Nonviolent Training Collective, Sonoma Climate Coalition and Climate Mobilization were also present. This is only a small summary. Every group is also involved in educating the public and empowering folks to take action.
The meeting was an introduction - a beginning of taking county-wide collaboration to a whole new level. When one of the summit organizers asked for interest in having follow up meetings almost every hand went up. We ended the evening with a plan to meet on every 5th Monday with a next meeting planned for October 30th at 7 PM. at the Peace & Justice Center to form action plans and coordinate our efforts.
One of the things we learned at the summit is that when Europeans first came to North America there was 6% carbon in the soil. Now there is less than 1%. Co-sponsor 350 Sonoma is named for the acceptable level of carbon in the atmosphere – a number that has been exceeded. With 25 groups and all the individuals who attended, everyone has their own approach to this global problem. This is bigger than all of us unless we work together.
To learn more about the climate emergency that we are facing go to see Al Gore’s new movie, An Inconvenient Sequel, which is in theaters now. Recommended reading is the new book Drawdown which offers viable solutions. For ongoing information subscribe to EcoWatch or the Occupy Sonoma County Earth Action listserv and weekly newsletter.
What group do you resonate with? What campaign do you want to join or support? Learn more about this issue and get involved today. A growing energy is building in the community so that we can be effective.
The Occupy Sonoma County Earth Action Campaign meets on the 3rd Monday at 7 PM every month. Next meeting is September 18th at the Peace & Justice Center, 467 Sebastopol Ave., Santa Rosa 95401. For more information go to OccupySonomaCounty.org or call 707-877-6650.
CORRECTION: The Center for Climate Protection is NOT working on Sonoma Clean Power. We are a separate entity devoted to incubating climate solutions, including Community Choice Energy, throughout California. We are currently working in the Central Valley to establish Community Choice there - with locally generated renewable energy that will benefit the local community. We also have a Youth program called ECO2schools (eco2school.org), a Solar Sonoma County program to support Sonoma County residents who want to go solar, and a Business for Clean Energy program to support businesses committed to climate solutions.