Monday, October 11, 2010

350 day of Climate Action

Mary Rose LeBaron

My day with the Friends of Five Creeks working to restore a creek between 9th and 10th St. in Berkeley was a nugget of delight as far as community activism experiences go. Working together with others towards a shared goal; that of creating viable global climate solutions was rewarding and beneficial in more ways than one. First as an experience that was shared, meeting others from my local community and enjoying new happy fellowships and second, meeting on the basis that we are part of a larger global community with a common goal. If one visits the website one can see the pictures that are streaming in from across the globe from other work parties on 10/10/10. In short, our work party consisted a walk and tour of the existing stream bed and a talk from a few of the organizers including an ecological urban designer who along with Friends of Five Creeks has designated enough land to create and re-invigorate a healthy habitat for Steelhead Trout in Berkeley and Albany, This was followed by an hour and a half of creek side clean up. The local homeless population had been sleeping along the creek bed and had left considerable amounts of trash behind. My particular work party group had the job of bagging up and moving this trash about a hundred yards down the creek bed to an area where it would later be picked up and disposed of.

One of the aspects that I most liked about this project is that Friends of Five Creeks is making a fantastic urban green space, open to the public, filling it with native plants, and along part of the creek they have planted several fruit trees and made a small gathering place in the shade of these fruit trees and willow trees. Richard Register, our tour guide explained that he wants children to come walking along this path and be able to pick the fruit from these trees so that they can know where fruit comes from and experience the pleasure of picking it in their own community.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Van Jones and Prop 23

Mary Rose LeBaron

Oh what a night I had listening to the man himself….Van Jones!

Yes, I guess you could say I was a tiny bit star struck. You would be too once you realized what a dynamic and incredible idea man Van Jones is. Author of The Green Collar Economy and former “Green Czar” for the Obama administration, Van is back in the Bay Area doing inspiring work. The event I attended on October 3rd was a night of community collaboration and phone calling to inform voters about a deceptive piece of legislation on the California ballot this November. Prop 23 is funded by Texas Oil companies to the tune of 20 million dollars. They claim that Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act, requiring California to develop regulations that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, is going to hurt California’s economy and destroy jobs. The truth is that while embracing the Global Warming Solutions Act may reduce jobs in the dirty energy business, it will definitely increase jobs in the California green energy sector…ie: Silicon Valley and beyond…to local solar and bio-fuel businesses etc.

I share Van’s spirit of belief in the hope movement. Some of what he touched on was the inspiration behind the change that we saw in 2008 with the election of Barack Obama. Van said we were “the movement that met the man” In other words, who inspired who? Did Obama inspire us or was it the other way around? Our power as concerned, socially aware, loving individuals is to act together with shared goals and values. Texas oil may have billions of dollars but WE have our collective power, the power that got AB 32 approved in the first place. So that is incredible; knowing that Texas oil had to spend 20 million just to backlash against OUR collective voices.

In 2008, when Obama and McCain were having their debates, one thing that there was never disagreement on was that clean energy was beneficial to America and that our economy could be strengthened on the backs of new green jobs. That’s right, the clean energy idea was shared by both sides in 2008. Now we see the latest headlines, that the Tea Party is taking sides with Texas oil in trying to pass prop 23. It is puzzling to be sure, the energy that seems to spur on the Tea Party.
“But consider the fact that lies uncontested don’t shrink in growth, they GROW.”

This quote from Van’s speech leaves me with the resolve that it is simply unacceptable to let the lies of the Tea Party and the incredibly profitable oil companies (62 Million per day for BP) go uncontested.

An important date coming up to note, is 10/10/10, global day of action for climate solutions. Check out for a local work party that you can be involved with.

Finally, another exciting bill that the California senate has put forth is SB 375, a bill to support sustainable communities. Here is the link to more info; Hooray California!! As Van said the other night,
Our glory is now, in our achievements!” and I say today is our day, seize the moment, make one small act based on love, and voila! We have created a movement!!