Fossil fuel energy powering buildings is the second greatest source of emissions in Sonoma County, after transportation. Electricity for heating and cooling air and water is responsible for about twenty-two percent of greenhouse gases. Our county has better options! Geothermal, solar and wind already provide clean, renewable energy to some. Microgrids and storage are also essential components of resilient, clean local energy. Clean energy sources and storage must be scaled to achieve the county’s climate goals. These, and efforts to phase out natural gas in large scale residential buildings, commercial and municipal structures, need your support. Friends of the Climate Action Plan advocates for smart approaches to address the climate crisis. Contact FoCAP for more information at email@example.com.
Ban Fossil Fuels
The extraction, transport, refining, storage, and end use of all fossil fuels leaves a trail of devastation to communities and the environment all over the world, mostly in low income communities of color, and is a primary contributor to the global climate crisis. In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions it is essential to stop burning fossil fuels and to stop building new infrastructure which only prolongs our dependency on fossil fuels into the future.
A powerful way to move the entire economy away from fossil fuels is to make them expensive. A fee on carbon, as it leaves the ground, has been effective in places like Canada and Europe. However, a sufficiently strong fee could put an unjust burden on families, especially the poor. That is why all proceeds should be returned to every household as a dividend check. The poor, with a small carbon footprint, come out money ahead! To pass a national carbon fee and dividend requires hundreds of CCL chapters like ours in Santa Rosa working together to build the political will to get Congress to act.
In December 2019, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted in support of a Socially Responsible Investment Resolution. The Resolution requests that the County Treasurer make no new or renewed investments in corporations financing fossil fuels and immigrant detention centers.
Friends of Public Banking Santa Rosa has been monitoring the Sonoma County Quarterly Investments Reports to ensure that the county is in fact committed to divestment.
We continue to work to educate the community and elected officials about how a public bank would offer an alternative means to depositing and investing our public funds locally into infrastructure, housing, small businesses, renewable energy and equitable community development. For more info go to Friends of Public Banking Santa Rosa.
Hold Politicians Accountable
We must hold officials responsible by demanding they act swiftly to reduce carbon emissions, stop expansion of fossil fuel projects, and protect natural habitats and at-risk communities. Our local, state and national governments must give first tier priority to policies that ensure rapid transition to renewable energy and regenerative practices. Profit-driven corporate lobbyists must no longer determine policy. 350 Sonoma works in coalition with environmental and social justice groups to ensure that our community is well informed and organized to advocate effectively for legislation that will ensure a sustainable and just future. For more info go to 350sonoma.org.
As of March 2021, all ten jurisdictions in Sonoma County have passed a Climate Emergency Resolution. Five of those have set a target date of 2030 for carbon neutrality. In order to make the rapid transformational changes needed, we need an educated and engaged public tirelessly advocating for bold public policy. “The people lead, and the leaders will follow.” And for this to happen, we need greater communication and coordination among the many stakeholder groups in the County: among climate commissions, organizations, electeds, activists, and laggards. Sonoma County Climate Mobilization is working to make this happen. For more info contact: pete(at)commonsensedesign.com.
Education is essential to creating climate resilience in Sonoma County and beyond. The climate change field is made up of in-depth research and analysis that must be conveyed in engaging, informative ways. This can be done through interactive events, community participation, sharing knowledge through articles, conducting ongoing campaigns, and more, to ensure supporters can avail of climate-education opportunities on many levels. There is also an opportunity to educate elected officials, community leaders, and decision-makers so that they can implement key findings into their plans and policies to keep people and places safe during climate disasters.
Our automobiles and trucks emit more greenhouse gases than any other sector of the economy. In Sonoma County, transportation currently represents around 60% of our ‘activity-based’ emissions. It is essential to make every community more attractive for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit riders, because the shift to battery-powered vehicles is only a step in the right direction. Advocacy with the Sonoma County Transportation Authority, SMART, bus systems, public works departments, and land-use planning agencies is an important factor in preserving open space and in developing more walkable communities that are close to jobs, shopping, schools, and recreation.
Regenerative agriculture is a critical component of climate change mitigation as it has great potential to reduce carbon emissions and capture atmospheric carbon. Community Alliance with Family Farmers, (CAFF), along with our partner organization, CalCAN, promotes regenerative farming and ranching practices that mitigate and adapt to climate change. These include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, sequestering carbon in the soil and plant biomass and conserving natural resources like water and topsoil. Increasing soil organic matter can result in more productive fields that are more resilient to pest and disease pressure and improve water holding capacity and infiltration, thereby making farms more resilient to drought and flooding. The same principles can be applied to carbon gardening, ie. planting trees and other perennials, use of compost and organic mulches and reducing impervious surfaces.
Plant-Based Diet & Zero Waste
A shift to more plant-based and fewer animal-based foods is essential to reducing greenhouse gases. Eating organic foods with minimal processing and packaging is healthier. Consider where your food is grown and how much energy and resources created it. Ask questions about your food and use this Shopper’s Guide. A Zero Waste lifestyle considers how products are made and disposed of. Every bit of plastic ever made still exists. Most glass and metal we use is recycled. Composting captures carbon! Switch from plastic to renewable and reusable packaging. Put pressure on manufacturers and the government to end single-use plastic. Use this Action Picker for Zero Waste. Join the Occupy Sonoma County Earth Action listserv and receive a weekly news-filled newsletter.