current actions we recommend

Tips for Zero Waste and Resilience During the Pandemic

by Sunny Galbraith

While some of our zero waste practices have been curtailed during the pandemic, there is still plenty we can do to reduce waste and become more resilient as a community.  Check out these resources and ideas compiled by members of the Zero Waste North Bay Task Force.  Also check out the excellent tips in Cindy Albers’ Sonoma West Times article Zero Waste Challenge: Minding the Gap.


    1. Sonoma County Food Recovery.  A wealth of information on donating food, receiving food, and volunteering.
      1. Household Information 
      2. Business/ institution information 
  2. REDUCE JUNK MAIL by opting out.  
  3. REFUSE SINGLE-USE UTENSILS. When ordering take-out, ask that restaurants do not include utensils.  


  1. REUSABLE GROCERY BAGS (Yes you can still use them!)
    1. Instead of using single-use paper or plastic bags at check-out, load your paid-for groceries back into your shopping cart.  When you wheel the cart to your car, transfer the items into the bags in your trunk.  Or- if you walked to the store,  transfer items into your bags outside the store.   
    1. Make masks out of old clothing.
    2. Purchase reusable masks and gloves. 
    3. Important health and safety tip: have multiple amounts of these on hand so they can be thoroughly washed after each use. 
  3. REDUCE PAPER TOWELS: Make a kitchen drawer filled with clean rags (old cut-up towels, flannel sheets) and use them for cleaning and spills.  Wash with laundry. 


    1. Sonoma County Zero Waste Guide: what goes in recycle/ compost/ garbage, hazardous waste, e-waste, mattress recycling, etc. 
      1. Look up by item: Zero Waste Sonoma Home Page
    2. Sorting Guides and Resources from Recology 
    1. Learn how to compost and why it’s good for the climate: Zero Waste Sonoma Compost for the Climate 
    2. More composting information from the UC Master Gardener Program of Sonoma County 
  3. REPORT LITTER through “SoCo Report It”.   Litter ends up in waterways and in animals’ stomachs.  


  1. BUY & USE ITEMS that are
    1. Large sizes and as minimally packaged as possible. 
      1. We can’t buy in bulk, but we can buy larger packages with less individual wrappings.
      2. You can special order gallon-sized containers of shampoo, conditioner, liquid soap, etc from Community Market
    2. Essential and necessary for you and something that you don’t already have too much of (to ensure others also have the option to get their essentials)
    3. Made of the highest recycled content.
    4. Reusable, recyclable, and/or compostable packaging. Choose glass or aluminum containers if you want to cut down on plastic
    5. Local to Sonoma County (this supports our local economy and businesses to recover faster from this crisis and ensures a lower carbon footprint)
  2. WATER
    1. If possible, invest in a water filtration system at home so that you have to make less or no trips to the grocery store for bulk or water. 
    2. If you need to purchase water:
      1. Purchase larger containers, rather than individual bottles. 
      2. Purchase water in containers made with recycled materials and/or minimal packaging
    1. Purchase TP made from recycled paper.
    2. Made with recyclable/compostable packaging if possible. 
    1. To-go coffee:
      1. Patronize your local coffee shops if possible.
        1. Purchase the smallest size so that less waste is made with the cup.  For example, cappuccinos, macchiatos, etc. all have smaller cups than regular coffees, therefore smaller amounts of landfill waste and they also don’t usually require a lid. They have just as much caffeine, if not more. 
        2. Bring your reusable straw or use their single-use straw provided, only if a paper straw. 
    2. Coffee for home:
      1. Try to purchase whole beans from a local coffee shop or company from your local grocery store. 
    1. Create your own sanitizers in reusable containers with reusable wipes.
    2. If you cannot or don’t want to create your own sanitizers and wipes, use sanitizers from a local company made with sustainable materials. EO, for example, uses a material in their wipes that is not petroleum plastic and their plastic wipe hard plastic containers are recyclable. 
    1. If you must shop online:
      1. Choose a company that is:
        1. Local to Sonoma County if possible.
        2. Uses alternative fuels or electric vehicles, if possible.
      2. Add things to your cart but don’t purchase until you absolutely need something in your cart. In other words, make purchases less frequently so that the order can be consolidated in packaging and less trips made to your residence. 
      3. Choose the longer delivery time (some companies will give you perks if you choose a longer delivery time)
      4. Create a note in your order requesting less packaging, recycled packaging, recyclable or compostable packaging, etc. 

A discussion hosted by a CDC doctor advisor, the founder of TerraCycle and Loop, and others on how safe reusables are at this time: INDISPOSABLE: The Safety and Future of Reuse   

  • Addresses misinformation on disposal plastics being “safer” or more sanitary. 

Read Marty Bennett’s article on Paid sick leave for Sonoma Co workers and sign petition!

Martin J. Bennett – The Coronavirus Message: America Needs Universal Paid Sick Leave

Sonoma County 14 Days Emergency Paid Sick Leave

STOP Big Oil using the coronavirus pandemic to push through the Keystone XL pipeline

Here is a very urgent matter that needs action right away. The oil industry is taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis to fly workers from all over the USA to work on the Keystone XL pipeline, at a time when everyone else, except those providing essential goods and services, is being asked to stay home. This will be devastating to the neighboring vulnerable indigenous communities, at a time when they are already struggling.

Please sign and circulate these three petitions now!:

To halt the construction:

To ask Liberty Mutual to stop insuring tar sands projects:


Remembering the First Earth Day and What We Can Do Now.

Earth Day was a new idea –to have a celebration for the Earth and for Life rather than a celebration for one of us or for a human accomplishment. The Earth needed us to stand up for her against the pollution and overuse of pesticide that increasingly threatened  health and quality of life. I had watched the Schuylkill River burn one summer when I taught in Philadelphia and had struggled to breathe the smog-blanketed air of Los Angeles. I had read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. 

The first Earth Day was spearheaded by  Wisconsin Democratic Senator Gaylord Nelson, soon joined by Republican Senator Pete McCloskey. I joined the twenty million Americans who poured into the streets, squares and parks to hear speeches and to organize. My brother and his Conservation Natural Resources teacher and my husband-to-be, John Cummings, organized an Earth Day event at Zellerbach Hall, UC, Berkeley, featuring Senator Proxmire. The results of this burst of activism and concern were immediate and very hopeful. President Nixon formed the EPA at the end of 1970 and the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts soon followed. DDT was banned in 1972, followed by The Endangered Species Act. The environmental movement had successfully launched.

How do we recover this sense of purpose in this darker, even more challenging time as we face the fact that in spite of fifty years of regulations, global greenhouse gas emissions have skyrocketed from 325 ppm to 411 ppm and 9 trillion tons of ice have melted? The mean global temperature has risen 1 degree and if we fail to act is on track for an unprecdented rise of 3 to 4 degrees by the end of the century. As we cope with social isolation to combat the threat of Covid-19, a new and potentially lethal microbe, we must also respond to the larger, looming threat posed by a changing climate. What can we learn from this global emergency that will prepare and energize us for the inevitable challenges that lie ahead? How can we fight to protect what remains of the natural world even as we grieve for what is already lost?

I turn here to Bruce Justin Miller, former Sustainability professor at Univ. of Hawaii, one of the founders of the first Earth Day and current leader of the Council of Elders. Bruce calls on us to make a personal plan for what we can do now at home while we reflect on how we can build momentum in the future to bring positive change on this beautiful world that we share. Here is his plan:


Friday April 17:

I will take a walk around my yard, my neighborhood, a park, or a favorite beach, woods, or other wild place near to me. While walking, I will quietly observe how I feel while looking at nature, and compare that with how I feel looking at man made features. I will look for things that we have done that make the Earth more attractive, and for those things we have done that make it less beautiful. 

I will find a quiet place to sit and reflect on what made me feel happy or peaceful, and what made me feel sad or upset. When I am ready, I will write an essay or make a drawing that expresses what I like about nature and about being in nature, what I observed about the way we have treated nature, and what I would like to do to ensure that nature is always there for all of us. I will start a list of some everyday things I can do in the time ahead that would make a positive difference for the natural world we share.

Saturday April 18:

I will do one of the things from my list that I think would improve how we are living with nature. One possibility would be to take a walk around my neighborhood and pick up trash. One might be to plant a tree or set up a compost pile. Another way to help nature would be to think about wildlife, and what I can do to help it survive. I will look for a small place in my yard, or a spot on my patio, where I could put up a bird feeder, or plant wildflowers such as milkweed or bee balm to support bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. 

Sunday April 19: 

I will think about the food that is needed to sustain us, and about how much energy and chemicals are used to grow it commercially. I will spend a part of the day working with my family to plan, clean up, and expand a garden in our yard, add some container plantings on the patio, or start a window garden. 

Monday April 20 and Tuesday April 21

I will think quietly and carefully about the hopes and dreams I have for my future, and reflect on any fears I may have about some of the issues such as climate change, pandemics, sea level rise, overpopulation, and food shortages that may make it difficult for me to achieve my dreams. 

When I feel I have carefully looked at my hopes, dreams, and fears, I will write an essay, compose a song, create an expressive dance, develop a skit, make a collage, or do a drawing that describes how I hope to plan for and move into the future. I will reflect on the power each of us has to create change, and then make a list of actions my friends and I can implement starting on Earth Day 2020 and in the years ahead to make sure we all have a future in which we can realize our dreams. 

Some of these actions could include making major commitments for my future, such as making sure that I, as well as my family and friends, are registered and encouraged to vote for environmental candidates, will buy more local and organic food, and will have a fuel efficient car and energy efficient home.

Wednesday April 22: EARTH DAY 2020: 

When I am happy with my creative expression, I will post it today….Earth Day 2020… on my Facebook page, share it with my family, and send it to my friends. This could include my list of actions and any drawings or videos that I have made, or photos I have taken. 

Then I will go outside, alone or with my family or friends, and walk through a favorite natural area, appreciating with gratitude all that we still have of the natural world.

To get inspired and see wonderful examples of what local artists and poets have done to express their feelings and thoughts about the corona virus go to:

Be safe. Stay well. And know we are all connected.

Anna Jacopetti

Ban Fracking Act!

In conjunction with Senator Bernie Sanders’ recent senate bill, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Darren Soto introduced the first-ever bill that would ban fracking nationwide and finds that  U.S. Congress must initiate a just transition for the working families in the fracking industry. These federal lawmakers must fulfill their oath to their constituents by making certain that the oil and gas industry can’t exploit our disenfranchised communities and our land any longer.
Sign Here

Indivisible Letter of Action on Economic Response to Coronavirus

Sonoma County United in Crisis petition.  “Just as our fires brought the vast inequalities in Sonoma County to the surface, so too has the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than corporate bailouts and commitments to simply not evict families ‘for now’ we need a real community bailout. One in five Sonoma County residents are living in poverty1 and hundreds of thousands are now out of work. Members of our community need to know they will not lose work permanently and come out of this pandemic owing thousands of dollars to landlords and banks.”

Suggestions for donations: 

Undocufund.  “Many of our undocumented community members work in temporary or low-wage jobs, without access to sick leave, unemployment or the ability to work remotely. Immigrants, many of them undocumented, do essential work that sustains us all. It remains unclear whether national relief plans will include immigrants in their plans for support. We cannot wait to take action. Your support for UndocuFund will provide relief and support to undocumented families and individuals.”

Restaurant Employee Relief Fund was created to help restaurant industry employees experiencing extraordinary hardship in the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. Through this Fund, grants will be made to restaurant industry employees who have been impacted by COVID-19, including a decrease in wages or loss of employment. 


This comes from our very busy Sonoma County Democratic Party! You can sign up for “GOTV – Canvassing (Precinct walking)”. 

They are continuing  outreach to Newly Registered Young Voters in Sonoma County. This is very important work and the very heart of grassroots efforts. We’ll knock on doors to Get Out The Vote (GOTV) Locations for these canvassing sign ups will be in Santa Rosa. Please click on the link below for more info and to sign up here.

Coalition Opposing New Gas Stations

911 > 711 > !!!

Family faces eviction by 7-Eleven to build a gasoline station!

 In Santa Rosa, 7-Eleven threatens to evict a family from their home of 35 years to build a gas station, creating the perfect storm, combining the housing crisis and climate crisis in one place. A broad range of Sonoma County community, environmental, and social justice groups are in strong opposition to both the eviction and the overall project.

To oppose this project, email, call, or write:  Action Alert: 911-> 711  (this doc has sample script and contact info for which officials to call, email, or write)

Big Climate Bill Passes in the State Assembly

AB 345 would require a 2500 ft setback between oil/gas extraction operations and sensitive communities, including homes, schools, childcare centers and medical facilities. Drilling operations create toxic emissions, and science informs us that 2500 foot setbacks are necessary to protect nearby communities. This is a brave vote for our elected officials to take. We thank Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) for authoring the bill and our local Assembly members Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, Marc Levine, and Jim Wood for voting yes to advance this bill. The bill will now move over to the Senate with lots more work to do and the oil industry ready to fight. Stay tuned for actions you can take to move this important policy into the win category!

This is a really big deal and the beginning of something big if we can just keep building the movement against fossil fuels and for climate sanity.