EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES

Resources for Enacting Change

The landmark Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2018 report highlighted the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, and the need to strengthen the global response to the threat of the climate crisis.  Learn more about various initiatives that play a role in reducing carbon emissions below.

Climate Action Alert

Stop Anti-Solar Bill
AB 1139

Person researching Climate Action Plans

Assembly Bill 1139 would kill "net energy metering" (NEM), the policy that has allowed rooftop solar to grow sustainably and become increasinging accessible. The bill would make going solar more expensive for every ratepayer, including those on the discounted California Alternate Rates for Energy Program (CARE), while eliminating the 20-year NEM grandfathering protections for 1,200,000 California solar customers and introducing new fixed "grid access" fees, which will effectively tank all existing and future rooftop solar investments.

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Climate Action Plan

Person researching Climate Action Plans

Climate Action Plans are critical in mitigating climate change and moving towards climate justice on a local level. They're planning documents used by local governments to decarbonize the region and secure a livable future through determining current emission levels and sources, creating-emission reduction goals, and establishing strategies to reduce those emissions. The most ambitious include cutting all greenhouse gas emissions by half and aiming for all electricity used in the City to be from renewable sources by 2030. In 2015 the City of San Diego became the largest city in the country to commit to a legally-binding Climate Action Plan with a 100 percent clean energy goal. San Diego and many other cities are now updating their Climate Action Plans, and residents can weigh in on these updates.

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Green New Deal

Green New Deal Poster

The rapid warming of our planet, sixth mass extinction, and socioeconomic-environmental inequities in the U.S. call for a comprehensive plan to ensure the sustainability of future generations. The Green New Deal is a national plan introduced to Congress in 2019 by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Edward J. Markey to address our most pressing climate justice issues. The Green New Deal aims to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers, to create millions of high-wage jobs, and to invest in infrastructure and industry to sustainability meet the challenges of the 21st century. Inspired by the national intiaitinve, there are also coalitions calling for statewide and regional Green New Deals, including the California Green New Deal Coalition and the San Diego Green New Deal Alliance.

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100% Clean Energy

Picture of solar system and wind turbines

As we keep breaking records for the hottest year Earth has seen, we inch closer towards the 2 degrees Celsius temperature change designated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as the upper limit of warming where catastrophic impacts to our planet will occur. This temperature change is in comparison to the pre-industrial period, 1861-1880. While the 1.5 degree Celsius warming target has been passed in many areas of the world, in order to limit further warming, we must transition from a dirty, fossil-fuel energy system to one operating from 100 percent clean energy. Cities around the country and the world are taking steps to achieve 100 percent clean energy targets. In many regions, this can be achieved with local, rooftop solar. In other areas, wind energy can help regions meet their clean energy goals.

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Transportation

Picture of passenger train along coastline

Transporation is one of the largest contributors of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions locally, nationally, and globally, and climate neutral alternatives must be prioritized as modes of transportation in order to combat the climate crisis. While more and more electric vehicles are entering into the market, and simultaneously, the technology is becoming more affordable, biking remains a mutually beneficial way to be mobile without polluting the planet. In order for biking to be safe, accessible, and a desired mode of transportation, protected bike lanes must be a priority for local jurisdictions. San Diego began building bike lanes decades ago, but only recently have protected bike lanes become a reality. Feeling unsafe is a major barrier that prevents interested people from taking up bicycling instead of relying on their car and with the fatalities that continue to occur on unprotected bike lanes, protections added to bike infrastructure are increasingly needed to shift the paradigm.

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Food & Agriculture

Picture of path in organic grove

Food accounts for 26 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. In the United States, nearly half of food is wasted, and it's estimated that much of the 125-160 billion pounds of the annually wasted food is safe to eat. Food waste ends up wasting nearly a quarter of our water supply in the form of uneaten food or over $172 billion in wasted water. Wasting food is bad for the environment and troubling since 12 percent of American households are food insecure. Food can be wasted for a various reasons: bad weather, processing problems, overproduction and unstable markets cause food loss long before it arrives in a grocery store, while overbuying, poor planning and confusion over labels and safety contribute to food waste at stores and in homes. Our largely monoculture-based food system came about in the early 1900s with the Farm Bill incentivizing this practice. With monoculture or monocropping, farmers grow one commodity crop repeatedly on the same plot of land in order to mass produce these highly utilized crops. And with the Green Revolution decades later, the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, high-yielding crop varieties, and farm equipment mechanization became widespread as well. The popularity of these practices together have contributed to desertification and the destruction of microbial diversity within the soil. When soil health is degraded, the health of our environment is degraded, as it creates a weakened, polluted soil system prone to infertile land, superbugs, weeds, and degradation of waterways and local ecosystems. Many of these crops--like corn and soy--are not even feeding humans for the most part, but instead feeding mass amounts of animals for meat production in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), contributing to climate change by producing 14.5% of total GHG emissions globally per year. To ensure the sustainability of earth, land management practices that center soil and climate health must be prioritized, specifically by encouraging local, regenerative food systems. Currently, communities across the U.S. are trying to course correct through regenerative farming, supporting local farmers and reducing consumption of fossil fuels by purchasing seasonal foods (like at farmers markets), and avoiding environmentally destructive animal products and fish farms. Along with transitioning our eating habits to support a local, regenerative food system, it's important to look at the ways in which we can dine more sustainably. More and more restaurants and quick service food establishments are integrating sustainability through their operations. Especially on the west coast and east coast, we're seeing more farm to table restaurants, plant-based menus, fully plant-based restaurants, and food establishments reducing waste through transitioning to-go ware to compostable options. Supporting these establishments that are trying to make an impact is essential in creating a more sustainable food economy and encouraging other restaurants to likewise integrating sustainability into their operations and business model.

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Tree Canopy

Photo of trees surrounding freeway

Trees play an important role in regulating climate and providing other essential ecosystem services that grow even more essential as we strive to curb greenhouse gas emissions. All of us benefit from tree canopies, yet some of us benefit more greatly than others; namely, those who live in areas with a greater percentage of tree cover, tend to be in more affluent neighborhoods. Equitably expanding the tree canopies through Climate Action Plans.

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