Sonoma County Climate Change Activists Summit

No one has come up with the answer to climate change. That’s because there is no one answer. Climate change solutions are a gumbo with lots of chefs contributing...

No one has come up with the answer to climate change. That’s because there is no one answer. Climate change solutions are a gumbo with lots of chefs contributing to the stew.

On the last day of July, Occupy Sonoma County hosted a gathering of local activists at the Peace & Justice Center for a Climate Change Activists Summit. The purpose of this summit was to introduce ourselves and our various climate change campaigns to one another. More than 70 people, representing 25 different organizations, attended. Climate change activism is alive and well in Sonoma County. Lots of chefs. Lots of ingredients for the gumbo.

The first hour was spent eating and meeting. This allowed for social interaction prior to organizing. We spent the next two hours identifying ourselves and our groups and explaining the climate protection campaigns in which we are engaged. Each group was given five minutes and then unaffiliated climate activists were given a minute to talk about their efforts. It was amazing.

Many of the groups, such as Sierra Club Sonoma, Indivisible Sonoma County, Transition Sonoma Valley, the Lite Initiative, the Climate Change Disaster Campaign, The Center for Climate Protection, and Sonoma County Conservation Action, have campaigns focused on influencing governments to take immediate, decisive action. Democratic Socialists of America North Bay, Sonoma County Citizens Climate Lobby, 350 Sonoma, Fossil Free California, and Friends of Public Banking are using economic pressure, primarily divestment from fossil fuel companies, to enact change. North Bay Jobs with Justice, an umbrella group of 18 organizations, is working with the Teamsters on quality waste management with safety and union benefits for workers. Zero Waste and Green Mary were there to address waste diversion as a method for reducing greenhouse gases. The Community Alliance with Family Farmers, the Compost Coalition, and Northern California Earth Institute concentrate their efforts on sustainable farming and soil management while Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Action and Sonoma County Conservation Action deal with transportation issues. The Center for Climate Protection is working on Clean Power. Daily Acts addresses the effects of climate change on the health of growing children. Sonoma Solidarity with Standing Rock supports public banking and is raising funds for legal issues including the defense of water protectors and lawsuits to force divestments. The Green Party has been about protecting the environment since its inception. Occupy Sonoma County talked about their GMO campaign and their Earth Action list serve, and unveiled their Climate Change Declaration. Many students were present, including an SSU student, three from the JC who are forming SRJC’s Environmental Club, and a high school freshman who has formed the Schools for Climate Action. The Nonviolent Training Collective, Sonoma Valley Climate Coalition, and the Climate Mobilization Group were also present. This is only a summary of some of the campaigns these people are working on. Every group there was also involved in educating the public and empowering folks to take action.

Thanks to skilled and disciplined facilitation, we were able to hear from everybody in the time allotted. We ended the evening with a plan to meet again at the Peace & Justice Center on October 30at 7:00 pm to form action plans.

Do some of these ideas ring true to you? Do you want to be part of the solutions? If so, find the movement that speaks to you and jump in. It’s going to take many chefs and many different ingredients to make this gumbo just right.

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