March 10 - 350 Sacramento had our retreat. Since the topic was global warming, the meeting was of course filled with hilarity and lightness. Well, not really. We worked damn hard to focus on the positives in face of the impending doom of "game over for the planet." I committed to postcard writing against Keystone XL pipeline, staffing a table at Earth Day, and coordinating people who want to do civil disobedience against KXL.
March 11 - I had to work in the Bay Area, so I drove to BART and took BART for about ½ the journey. I noticed this also saved my workplace (the State) about $25.
At lunch, someone threw away a handful of unused napkins. I surreptitiously dug them out of the trash and stashed them in my purse to use later.
March 12 - I commented on KXL to the State Department following the release of their Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement: email@example.com You don’t need to read the report to comment. There is a 45-day comment period going to around April 22. My comment was very simple, something like, “Keystone XL is bad for the planet and the economy.” I refrained from saying “you dumbasses, don’t sacrifice the future of the f-ing planet for a few more dollars now.” I posted my comment on Facebook, too.
That night I watched Earth, The Operator’s Manual, a documentary on climate change and sustainable energy solutions. This show made me very hopeful – we have the technology now to replace fossil fuels!
March 13 - I enjoyed the 80 degree weather and decided that we need to install better windows to help keep our house cool.
A more immediate way to save energy: I opened the dishwasher before the dry cycle to air-dry instead. Sometimes these tiny actions feel trivial- I feel like what we really need to do is quit all our jobs now, go out, and chain ourselves to oil refineries. But then that urgent feeling passes and I realize we all do what we can and whatever happens, the earth itself will survive.
March 14 - Got the lowdown from my neighbor on replacing windows. Everybody wants new windows, but the more cost-effective thing to do is to make your house more efficient. Get a contractor to do an energy audit for a couple hundred bucks, then get financing through SMUD, then get the work done and the couple hundred bucks goes toward the work. There is also a city-sponsored program that finances retrofitting for energy efficiency: https://ygrene.us/ca/sacramento But I have not been able to connect with a real person there yet after a few tries.
March 15 - I joined a conference call with two other 350 Sacramento members about divestment from the fossil fuel industries, specifically strategies to approach the large pension funds CalPERS and Cal STRS. The national group 350.org now has a staff member to work on divestment by institutions other than colleges. http://gofossilfree.org/
March 16 - Well, today was my son’s 16th birthday, so I didn’t do a lot of climate change organizing. At least I only have one child. An MIT study found that the average American produces twice as much carbon as the average citizen of all other countries.
I carpooled to yoga class.
March 17 - I cried about global warming, the possible bleak future, and the possibility of many deaths due to climate change. The labor leader Joe Hill said, “Don’t mourn, organize.” But I think we need to acknowledge our fears of the future and sadness about the destruction of the environment. We need to mourn AND organize.
March 18 - Every day I read many emails from 350, the Sierra Club, Credo and other organizations.
I talked to my husband about a show he heard on the radio about the politics of climate change. Congress won't do anything, but Obama said that if congress doesn’t do something, he will. That is big because he didn't have to say that. We’ll see what he actually does.
March 19 - I called senators Boxer and Feinstein to express opposition to KXL. I reported the calls to 350.org per their email requesting us to do so.
I connected with a student from my son’s high school who wants to volunteer with 350 Sacramento.
March 20 - I guess I’m not going to be a greener commuter. I live downtown and work in Elk Grove. Google maps says it will take 1 hour and 15 minutes to bike there (17 miles). Bus and light rail is 1 hour and ½. Driving is 14 minutes (11 miles). I drive past farmland, so the Laguna area where I work is “leapfrog development.” If Elk Grove had developed more contiguously with south Sacramento, there might be a better way to get there by bike. I hate sprawl.
March 21 - Oops, I might not have done anything this day.
March 22 - Even worse than not doing anything, my family drove to Oregon for vacation. Three people in a Prius is not too bad for travel Co2 emissions. I have given up international travel for pleasure because it is such a big Co2 burner. (Coincidentally, I can’t really afford it, so it’s not so hard to give up!) But I’m still going to travel to see my family who live all over the US. We climate change activists have to think about how to respond to accusations of hypocrisy when we travel by car or plane.
March 23 - I talked to my sister-in-law in Portland about what she’s doing against climate change. She organized a bike tour of the polluters in Portland – let’s do that in Sac. She also gave me some tips about how to research which companies are connected to KXL.
I wish I could do more; I will when I can. If everyone can do something, especially on the political front, we might be able to slow this global warming thing down and continue living on the planet as we know it now.