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.
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In the wake of tragedy, we have a strong drive to rise up and find a way to come back even stronger from it. It’s in that spirit that 350 Sonoma is working in coalition with other local and regional climate groups to build a vision of a more sustainable and resilient community. 350 Sonoma spearheaded an effort to capture the main elements of rebuilding sustainable and resilient communities. This is just the first step in creating a common vision of the future of our community and world.
In recognizing the suffering of those who lost homes, we advocate strongly for solutions that do not add cost or complication to the process, and we call on our city and county governments and agencies, and other community leaders to join us in rebuilding for the future.
In summary, we promote zero net energy homes, the use of sustainable and fire-resistant building materials, wise resource management, and an intentional effort to create sustainable communities. Here is the document in full: read more…
The Sonoma County climate and environmental community got together on October 30 and agreed to support 350 Sonoma’s plan to rebuild our neighborhoods to be sustainable and resilient. 45 attendees representing about 25 regional organizations discussed 350 Sonoma’s action plan to develop a specific vision including all electric infrastructure supported by solar and storage with the goal of net zero energy, sustainable building practices, rainwater management, and drought resistant regenerative landscaping, among other ideas. Sunny Galbraith from 350 Sonoma summarized the call to action saying, “This is an unprecedented opportunity to rebuild using methods that reflect best practices in sustainable design, materials and systems to achieve both reduced emissions and greater resilience to future climate impacts.”
Climate and environmental activists in the region are organizing around creating a strong case for electrification including cost analyses, digging deep to uncover potential sources of funds, and coordinating with other community groups and government entities to gather information about other similar efforts, educate and ask our city and county officials to take strong action towards rebuilding with 21st century methods.
Because our first commitment is to our community, these efforts are guided by three principles: solutions will not add to the cost of the rebuild, they will be incentive-based, and they can opt out if they choose. 350 Sonoma, with the support of other groups, has hit the ground running and is in the process of determining where action is already taking place and figuring out how to support existing efforts that fit the overall vision for an innovative rebuilding process. Early indications are that there is a general, community wide call for electrification and that the local community choice energy group, Sonoma Clean Power, is putting its weight and know-how behind that effort.
As Laura Neish, Executive Director of 350 Bay Area (and a Santa Rosa resident) summarized: “We aren’t just asking Santa Rosa and Sonoma County to model sustainable and resilient rebuilding at a neighborhood scale, we are supporting our community to model how we can all work together to recover after a major climate-related disaster.”
Good news! Santa Rosa just approved a contract with Recology, choosing it to be its new garbage hauler. Recology has an excellent record both as a responsible steward of the environment and a company concerned with the well-being of its employees.
350 Sonoma worked closely with North Bay Jobs with Justice to encourage city councilors to choose a waste hauler with a strong track record of fair and safe employment practices, and a sustainable, zero-waste approach. We know that rates will increase to reflect the added costs fair wages and cleaner trucks and practices. The result will be rates in line with our region, better jobs, safer working conditions AND keeping key resources out of the landfill. Other cities working with a zero-waste philosophy have significantly reduced landfill requirements and spurred local economic growth by utilizing resources previously discarded.
Watch this space! 350 Sonoma is part of two coalitions working towards improving waste management in the county, the Compost Coalition working to bring a local compost facility back, and the Zero Waste Task Force, working with other community groups to get Sonoma County cities to adopt zero waste policies.
The BEAM Team is a group that has formed to support and further test the research of Dr. David Johnson, a New Mexico State University molecular biologist who has been investigating the microbial life in the soil. Dr. Johnson has developed, applied and tested the results of a high fungal compost called BEAM – Biologically Enhanced Agricultural Management–with the goal of enhancing soil microbial community populations, structures and functionality to regenerate natural processes in soils of agro-ecosystems. His test plots have had very positive results in terms of the amount of carbon returned to the soil, soil nutrient availability, plant vitality and growth, and water retention. This research offers a different perspective than traditional soil science which has been focused on soil chemistry rather than soil life systems. The BEAM Team includes farmers, orchardists, grape growers and gardeners as well as climate activists. Current members are located in Sonoma, Marin, and Yolo Counties.
Interested in getting involved in this exciting project? Contact Anna.
What is Plastic Free July? It’s a challenge to all of us to refuse single-use plastic! It’s not all that easy – straws, bags, plastic lids all get delivered to us automatically, so you have to remember to ask to NOT receive them (and shouldn’t it be the other way around?) Take the pledge here and learn about ideas for avoiding junk plastics. We have found it (mostly) pretty easy to avoid plastic bottles, cups, straws and bags by carrying our own. What do you do to avoid junk plastic?
SB 100, which establishes a target of generating 100 percent of the state’s retail sales of electricity from renewable energy resources by 2045, is one of the most exciting bills now in the California Legislature. If passed it will confirm California’s place as a trend-setter in moving the planet to renewable energy sources.
We call on CalSTRS and CalPERS to divest by 2020 from all oil and gas companies, beginning with ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Shell. These companies have known for decades that their products increase the dangers of climate change, but they have not joined the international effort to minimize global warming. Since they refuse to modify their business plans or activities, and since their reserves are at risk of becoming worthless stranded assets, CalSTRS and CalPERS should refuse to own any of their shares.