Rallying in San Francisco against Climate Change, Petitioning the Air Management District

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If you’re a local activist like me, you’re probably up to your widow’s peak in causes that demand you sign their petitions, tweet their updates, march under their banners, or, god forbid, attend their meetings, too. We have lots of issues that folks in Oakland alone are working on: violence prevention, economic development, police accountability, and improving the schools. I better stop before I make myself too tired to complete this blog.

But here I am on a sunny day in Oakland asking you to show up, be counted, march, rally, and speak out with our local branch of the national organization 350.org. Check out 350BayArea.org’s September 17th rally in San Francisco where we will join together to let the president know what we want him to do when he makes the final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline.

The fact that it’s a sunny day after 5 weeks of no rain during our California “rainy season” should be a tip-off. I’ve also been enjoying the wonderful sunsets that we’ve been seeing and photographing for the last year or so. Could they be a result of drier and dirtier air, don’t know, but I have to wonder?

I’ve worried about climate change so much over the last decade or so that I, like many Americans, have almost avoided the subject. I try to conserve energy and water, and recycle everything, but whenever I’ve taken the online quiz, myfootprint.org, I still find that it would take 3 or more planets like ours if everyone lived like poor little me. Being a  meat eater, I contribute greatly, as my son always reminds me, to methane gas production, a more dangerous gas than carbon dioxide. So I try to eat a little less meat-it’s very doable.

Also very doable is joining 350BayArea.org which is finding itself so popular, its projects have almost gotten ahead of its membership structure. They still don’t have regular meetings but are involved in some very interesting campaigns. You can find out more at 350BayArea.org’s website, but I’m going to promote two of them here for now.

Here’s what they have to say about the “No Tar Sands” movement. “The Bay Area 350 No Tar Sands Campaign focuses on local activism in support of the 350.org movement. We bring to public attention the dangers of the Tar Sands Oil and the Keystone XL Pipeline. We support the ongoing Tar Sands Blockade and encourage participation.  We will work to prevent the refining of this oil in the refineries of the East Bay.”

I attended their last event and heard a very effective speaker from Canada, Garth Lenz, who showed us slides of the horrendous damage that tar sands development is already wreaking in Canada (yes formerly benighted Canada).

From the website oilsandstruth.org site, “The Tar Sands “Gigaproject” is the largest industrial project in human history and likely also the most destructive. The tar sands mining procedure releases at least three times the CO2 emissions as regular oil production and is slated to become the single largest industrial contributor in North America to Climate Change.”

The national version of 350.org is holding a giant rally in Washington, DC, on February 17th to let the Obama administration know we will back him if he stands up to the oil lobby. The state department is slated to make a decision soon on whether to let Canada bring the oil from Canadian tar sands into the US. The demonstration in DC will be held at the national mall but the Bay Area dem will be held in front of the state department’s building at 1 Market Street in SF, starting at 1 PM and continuing til 3 PM. There will be brass bands, giant puppets, and speakers. Bring your original signs and all your friends and family-this is truly a family issue.

But before you make those signs and check your BART schedule, you can do something even easier if less fun. The Bay Area 350 Carbon Cuts Campaign will lobby Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) “to lead the way to achieve the deep cuts we need to protect the global climate.”

They are petitioning the Air District Board to use their authority to enact programs to reduce Bay Area Green House Gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Please go to 350BayArea.org and check this under campaigns, “Carbon Cuts.” There are also other intriguing actions being planned that you will probably want to sign onto-a Chevron watch (Richmond refinery), divestment and dump the pump labels to check out.

For today, please sign the Carbon Cuts petition and plan your Sunday, February 17th, to meet in San Francisco with those you hold dear. See you on BART!