MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN SONOMA COUNTY!350 Sonoma, an all-volunteer non-profit, is working to slow climate change and promote climate justice in the county. We're part of 350 Bay Area and inspired by 350.org, the international climate action organization founded by Bill McKibbon. We meet the third Wednesday of the month at 7:00 p.m. at the Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County, 467 Sebastopol Ave., Santa Rosa. Join us!
Support 350 Sonoma Actions:
On July 3rd, SB 100 (Senator De Leon’s bill that will mandate 100% electricity from renewable sources by 2045) passed out of the California Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee. Yay! Four members of 350 Sonoma’s steering committee attended the hearing, joining more than 120 activists from across California to testify in favor of the bill. SB 100 should reach the Assembly floor sometime this summer. (It may have to go to the Appropriations Committee first.) We’ll all need to do our part to be sure it passes! (The Assembly will be its last hurdle — It passed the Senate last summer.)
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Zero Waste Sonoma County
By Caitlyn Thomasson
Folks in Sonoma County are learning how to work towards Zero Waste by composting, recycling, and reducing plastic use. Considering that Sonoma County residents contribute 4.6 pounds per person, per day to the landfill, this is an much needed culture shift. On June 24th, the Sebastopol Farmers Market hosted the first Zero Waste outreach booth with the help from Recology and 350 Sonoma members to help address this issue. Market-goers could stop by and decorate reusable produce bags made from repurposed from cloth with veggie stamps. The bags are a fun, colorful, and an eco-friendly way for people to gather veggies at the market without using plastic bags. Enthusiastic employees from Recology were on hand to provide information about their company and answer questions about recycling and composting. Also, a travelling trash installation from the Santa Rosa Junior College was on display, providing education and a unique conversation starter to help us all realize how much single-use plastic and disposable coffee cups are sent to the landfill weekly.
To get involved, visit us at the Sebastopol farmers markets for our monthly zero waste outreach booth (July 29th, August 26, September 30, October 21, November 18, December 16 January 27); join us at our zero waste subcommittee maker meetings to make more reusable veggies bags and other reusable DIY items to share at the market (contact Sunny Galbraith for more information: email@example.com); make a personal pledge to get closer to zero waste in your life, and encourage your city counsel or supervisor to adopt the upcoming Zero Waste Resolution, and ask restaurants/vendors to replace single-use plastic with compostable and recyclable alternative.
AB 813 would regionalize California’s electricity grid, merging the existing independent management into a broader regional system. This is an extremely complicated issue. There are compelling reasons to consider regionalization, but the risks far outweigh the potential benefits at this time. Regionalization would increase the control that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has on California’s grid, and FERC is currently dreaming up ways to support extending uneconomical coal and nuclear generation. Also, the western region envisioned in the bill includes coal country – and there is the strong potential that this regionalized grid could extend the economic viability of some of the nation’s worst coal plants. California’s existing grid management system is not in dire circumstances! We have a functioning operator supported by existing out of state contracts that balance our energy needs. We are at a time of remarkable innovation in electricity generation and distribution – it is quite premature to lock in this approach in the face of rapidly changing circumstances, especially when California risks losing control over its electricity generation portfolio by doing so.
Call or email your State Senator McGuire’s office before Tuesday morning! There is a critical vote on this issue on June 19, and we need to reach Senator McGuire, a key vote on this issue. His phone number is (916) 651-4002, or email his legislative aide Christopher.Nielsen@sen.ca.gov
A contingent from 350 Sonoma helped swell the ranks of more than one hundred climate activists from across California on 100% Clean Energy Lobby Day in Sacramento last Wednesday, June 13. Divided into ten teams, we made quite a statement as we trekked through the Capitol’s halls in our “100%” caps. We talked with staff of nearly seventy Assembly Members (there are only eighty), asking them to support SB 100 – 100% of California’s electricity from renewables by 2045. The bill has now been scheduled for a hearing on July 3 in the Assembly’s Utilities and Energy Committee. That’s progress! Stay tuned…
Last year, 350 Sonoma’s Regenerative Agriculture action group hosted David C. Johnson, researcher and microbiologist at the University of New Mexico, for training and workshops on his bioreactor technique for creating compost undisturbed by turning. The first Sonoma County bioreactors created during the workshops have been opened to reveal thick compost filled with worms. We are mixing the compost with our garden beds and making inoculate spray to spread the healthy organisms. Stay tuned for the results! Meanwhile, new bioreactors are being built for next year’s gardens. A bioreactor is used to create BEAM – a rich compost filled with mycorrhizae (fungal filaments) that are key factors in regenerating and improving soil, carbon sequestration and water retention, according to Johnson’s research.
A small team from 350 Sonoma and 350 Petaluma (our new subgroup representing the south county) will be meeting on May 15th with a member of Assemblymember Marc Levine’s staff. We’ll emphasize the critical importance of quickly achieving 100% clean energy in California. SB 100 is the current legislation mandating 100% clean energy, and it is currently stalled in the State Assembly after passing the State Senate. If SB 100 doesn’t make it out for a full vote this year, we will keep working to get it back into the legislative process. We will also ask for Levine’s vote on AB 3232, a bill that will promote the shift to all electric buildings. Other bills we will ask for AM Levine to join us in supporting: 2304 – atransit pass study, 1775 – to limit offshore drilling, and 2928 – promoting dense housing on BART properties. A million thanks to Kathy Dervine, Judy Pope and the 350 Bay Area Legislative Team for their leadership and guidance. 350 Sonoma will be setting up a meeting with Jim Wood as soon as the dust settles on this one.
It has been a big month for the Zero Waste team. We worked with the Santa Rosa Junior College student sustainability group to present Wasted, a deep and sometimes profane look at food waste throughout the world. The conversation that followed was lively and informative. We were also instrumental in converting the Santa Rosa Earth Day to a Zero Waste event. As part of the effort, our own Sunny Galbraith organized 30 middle school and high school student volunteers who sortied garbage, separating compostible and recyclable materials from trash while educating the public. In addition, several 350 folks are participating in the “Zero Waste Curious” trainings, where we are being trained by Portia Sinnot of Zero Waste USA to give 20-minute informational presentations about Zero Waste to the general public.
On May 10th, we participated in the second-annual Sonoma County Zero Waste Symposium, which featured an amazing collection of knowledgeable and inspirational speakers. This event, somewhat coincidentally, marks the beginning our push to get city councils and the county board of supervisors in Sonoma County to pass a Zero Waste resolution. The Zero Waste policy resolution was crafted by a large group of community and business members interested in promoting specific city and county action to reduce waste and climate warming emissions, while promoting good jobs.
100% clean energy is our top priority! SB 100 — which would mandate that 100% of California’s electricity be generated from renewables by 2045 — would be a big step in the right direction! It’s now in the California Assembly. Contact your assembly member (click on “Act Now”) and tell him/her to support SB 100!
Another ground-breaking bill now in the California legislature is SB 964, a bill that would require CalSTRS and CalPRS, the two biggest pension systems in the U.S., to take climate-related financial risk into account when making investment decisions. It’s past time for California’s big pension funds to divest from oil giants like Exxon Mobil. Show your support for SB 964 by signing the petition!
Other important bills that we’re supporting:
AB 1775 (its companion bill in the California Senate is SB 834) would help prevent oil drilling off California’s coasts by giving the State Lands Committee more power to block unloading and transport of oil from new offshore drilling operations.
SB 1072 would help under-resourced communities compete for state funds in order to fund local projects that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help transition away from fossil fuels. Another goal of the legislation is to help these communities increase jobs and economic development through investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable infrastructure.
AB 3232 would require the California State Energy Resources Commission to develop a plan that would reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases from residential and commercial buildings to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.
Stay tuned for more info and actions!