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350 Marin https://350marin.org Sun, 19 Mar 2023 20:12:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.5 https://350marin.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/cropped-1F-NO-WHITE-BORDER-32x32.png 350 Marin https://350marin.org 32 32 125017858 350 Bay Area’s Take on “Planet of the Humans” https://350marin.org/350-bay-areas-take-on-planet-of-the-humans/ https://350marin.org/350-bay-areas-take-on-planet-of-the-humans/#respond Sat, 09 May 2020 00:19:27 +0000 http://350marin.org/?p=25356 Who would have guessed a “documentary” would come out from Michael Moore who has been pushing Bernie and the Green New Deal, that tells everyone that clean energy in this country is really just fossil fuels in disguise?

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350 Bay Area’s Take on “Planet of the Humans”

We Are STILL Here Making It Better

                                             STILL . . .  This. What we have been given. What we must earn. This will never end.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   last line from The Overstory by Richard Powers     

Who would have guessed a “documentary” would come out from Michael Moore who has been pushing Bernie and the Green New Deal, that tells everyone that clean energy in this country is really just fossil fuels in disguise?  And for greatest effect, on Earth Day, while we are being reminded that fossil fuels are the problem when we are all so emotionally fragile and open from watching the death toll rise from the pandemic.  To top it all off, it seems that a primary message is that we need a lot fewer people on the planet. Is it possible that Gibbs and Zehner who put this documentary together, and Moore as executive producer, kind of feel it is okay that Trump is having more people getting out there and dying – sacrificing for the economy, and his reelection? In their minds, it is probably more the overconsumers they think should go, but they could have made that more clear for those on the Right unanimous in their praise of the film.

I was so appalled at what they were doing that I could only watch a part on my first attempt. I went back to it the next day at the point where they started attacking leaders in the climate movement, sowing still more division. It was striking how willing they were to manipulate their audience by going through all their old footage and choosing only the segments that supported a very one-sided message while not even giving any time for the people they attacked in the climate movement to respond.  

It is easy to hear Gibbs and Zehner’s frustration level. Many of us have a lot of our own with how the revolution is not happening fast enough – and some of us hurt that we won’t have Bernie leading, maybe like them. That miracle Jeff Gibbs, the narrator and director, thought was supposed to happen, hasn’t. Miracles are hard to come by as Trump has learned. The transition has been slower (they fail to mention, because of intense, well-funded, climate denying) than many have hoped. And then there is also the fact that the pace of the climate crisis and all of its effects are happening even much faster than we thought back when they did the filming. He wanted to make sure with the old footage chosen, though, that everyone saw that there was something not right happening behind the curtain of the “clean energy movement”. Perhaps that is worth considering but, really, these guys need to be told that solar and wind, generally, and especially in California, has grown and changed a lot. It is worth taking a look at how we are doing in California today.

On that Sunday I first watched it, I checked on the CAISO site you can go to, where you can see the demand for energy in CA at any moment during a day and where the supply is coming from.  At 3:00 pm 22,373 MW was being used out of which 15,131 MW was being supplied by renewables (68%). Yes, biomass was in there at about 2% and biogas at another 1.4% of that 68%.  An additional 5% beyond the 68% came from large hydro and another 10% from nuclear, that we are getting rid of soon. So that’s at least 83% “carbon-free” at that time. 12% was coming from natural gas, but only the smallest fraction of 1%, even at night, is ever from coal. Nights are still a problem but increasingly less expensive battery capacity is being added to the grid. There is not enough wind at night. We have moved farther than people thought we could on our renewable energy goals in CA 8-10 years. We know the transition is needing to go faster. Is what we are doing now, perfectly sustainable forever into the future? No, lots of changes have been made in these last years, though, and will continue in the future. 

There are the problems with rare minerals used to make solar panels and batteries, even with changes in those in the last few years that make them way more efficient than shown in the film. But if you look, today, at life-cycle emissions and all the effects on taxpayers’ costs for healthcare, the environment and climate mitigation, solar, wind, and batteries are way more efficient and less damaging than fossil fuels. So, why did they feel they had to use old, outdated footage so much in this film? They should be able to make their point with updated information rather than try to manipulate us with this easy to see through, cherry-picked, old stuff?  

Perhaps they are mostly just trying to say we use way too much and that’s not likely to change. At first I thought it was from their belief that the game is over and we are deluding ourselves that we can do anything about it.  So maybe they were kind of just proud they are relieving us of our illusions. “Just get over it, the planet is dying rapidly and nothing is working fast enough”. That belief is out there expressed a lot these days and at times it is hard not to let it in. The case is being made to just focus on adaptation measures and on helping people treat each other more kindly as planetary disasters increase. Most climate activists are not ready to go there, exclusively. And there are the youth, whose energy in fighting for their future encourages us all..  Climate strikes have happened since the footage used in the movie. So Greta and her statement “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth” which most all us climate activists agree with, is not mentioned. We know what Moore thinks about capitalism and how it has failed the 99% and the documentary is saying we have let capitalist tendencies into the way we do green energy. 

My first reaction was – not me, us – certainly not 350 Bay Area, or 350.org,  Maybe in some parts of the green movement at some times. Cap and trade is really not working well at all in CA – the whole carbon offsets and free allowances for polluters is riddled with problems; carbon pricing, in general, is market based. The price is always set way too low to start. Though the idea, if implemented well, might have helped many years ago. Still it has been very helpful in getting the message about climate breakdown out, even it was always suspiciously bound up in a system that promotes more being better. So what is 350 Bay Area doing that is not reinforcing the capitalist virus?  Quite a bit, actually. 

It was good to be reminded about biomass and that it is just not okay to cut down trees for fuel which is where some of the messaging about the for-profit interests getting mixed in with the push for “renewables” was.  And biomass is rising somewhat from where it is at 1.4% now as a source for fueling US electricity needs. Obviously, that needs to be stopped. 350 Bay Area here in CA where us environmentalists love our trees alive, well, it never was okay. Even dead trees in the forest, we have learned, play a huge role in helping forests grow back from fires more quickly. I will say more a little later about Bill McKibben who gets a really unfair take down on this.

It is possible that 350 Bay Area has been so focused on getting more solar and wind that we may not have emphasized energy efficiency as much as we could. It has been there all the time, though, as we push our local community choice energy (CCE) programs here in the Bay Area and CA to focus on incentivising using less energy. These CCE’s did not even exist when most of the footage was taken that is in the documentary, so maybe Moore, Gibbs, and Zehner are not aware of this trend in energy democracy that has sped up the renewable energy movement.  Driving fewer miles is better, even if you have an EV.  Public transportation incentives and more room for bikes are still better and more equitable. Fly much less, for sure.

Maybe we will learn something from this stay-at-home time from so many online meetings. Lockdown for the Climate Emergency! We ARE in an Emergency bigger than the pandemic now, or the ones coming. Yes, the cleanest energy is the energy we don’t use. This will be a takeaway from this documentary to focus on even more. But there is the way we think solar should be done, too. And we are very focused on that. It is important for energy efficiency even and I wonder if these guys even know about the ideas regarding community microgrids being put forth in CA and elsewhere across the country.

350 Bay Area is frequently pointing out that utility scale solar has problems with it. Wrong thinking or conflicted people are making profits. There is inherent in the Investor-Owned Utility (IOU) model that more and bigger, is better. Big transmission lines to bring energy from those projects is where the IOU’s can overestimate what they will need.  Lately, because of their potential or current bankruptcies, they have even been pleading for an extra few percent of profit beyond what they usually get, which is already in addition to what they need for their work . . .  because their hedge fund shareholders want that. We are constantly fighting that and arguing instead that many more smaller projects, designed and owned by the communities that more efficiently use the energy coming from them, work best. 

These projects come from a not for profit, local government model.  They can be set up in an advanced community energy way that allows more parts of the grid to be sectionalized off. Power, from renewables with battery back-up, can exist for at least the important services in an emergency or to fight fires that are coming from our climate change fueled droughts at first and then, increasingly, all of the time. With right sized batteries, these microgrids or other roof-top solar – that the IOU’s constantly resist or try to control – we end up having closer to the exact amount of energy we need. The excess energy capacity that IOU’s push for, that we might not need later as we learn to use less and less from working at home more or using our bikes or, with better public transportation, never gets approved then.  So many natural gas peaker plants thought to be needed, even some in their final stage of approval, have not been allowed to move forward in the last two years in California. Climate activism works.  And also, something we fight against at the state level, is that all of us are paying equally for costly transmission over long distance, insecure lines, even if our energy is almost never “transmitted” but comes from very local solar build out that can be more smartly managed on the distribution grid we most often see around us. The state, as our Governor recently said, needs to focus on decentralizing the grid which is what 350 Bay Area has been pushing for.

Many CCE programs in our communities are incentivizing battery powered EV’s by saying if we have them hooked up at night (charging in the day is better at certain hours when more solar is on the grid and less energy use is happening) so that while you are asleep and don’t need the energy in your battery, they can take a little to supplement the wind that is blowing so they can supply more renewable energy at night to the grid.  There are many creative things that can happen.  Will all of them put together get us back to a stable climate? It certainly is unlikely in the time most of us have left, as it is already getting bad. But what do you do in any crisis? Just say “this is bad” like the filmmakers did.  There are people like Bill McKibben who have inspired many groups to start up all over the world to try to change the course the developed world has been on. And he has focused on and supported environmental justice, how fossil fuel use affects frontline communities, as has 350.org and 350 Bay Area.

Let’s look at how Bill was treated. He has come out with his own longer response that is especially worth reading HERE. In the picture below he was here in the Bay Area in 2016 ( just after writing a strong article on how bad burning trees is for energy) at an event speaking with climate activist students who have plans for how to make the world more livable for them.


Mckibben was especially worried about coal back in 2012, and the oil burning fuel used at Middlebury College where he was, so thought maybe biomass would be better for a while since true renewable energy was not ready yet to provide enough.  But who wins when you focus on that time in the past only and don’t give indication that the climate leader changed his point of view long ago?  Or taking a segment from an interview where he struggles for a moment with remembering which foundations have contributed to 350.org after showing how fossil fuel and other related big corporations have sponsored environmental events, implying 350.org has taken from those big corporations (they haven’t and neither has 350 Bay Area or other 350 local groups) is kind of FoxNews style fake news. They do something of the same with Michael Brune who came on as Executive Director of Sierra Club in 2010 and soon after ended funding from any natural gas interests. He did this right around the time when methane leaks from fracking and the whole life cycle of getting natural gas to where it is burned for energy were being shown to make it as bad as coal for moving Climate Breakdown along. This kind of obvious “gotcha” journalism should make us all wonder if we are not being pushed messages that skip over a lot of important updated facts in all the other segments. 

There are problems with each segment in the solar and wind sections. There is so much more to analyze and debunk. It is important to learn more about where we are today with renewable energy. This review is helpful for that HERE and there is a long list of them HERE that includes this one from The Nation, written by Josh Fox, who beat Moore to showing how bad fracking is in a couple of excellent documentaries in Moore and Jeff Gibbs’ style.

If you haven’t watched POTH, it is not really worth your time. If you do watch it, or have, there is some slight benefit in taking the time to think about some of it. 

Biomass energy from trees is bad and we need to stop it. Some may learn a little from that part, though it is a bit more nuanced about some biofuels, and a whole documentary on that would have been good. 

We need to keep big corporations from getting too involved in the renewable energy sector. In some ways, yes, for sure. But Google, loving that they could put this documentary on their youtube, was not chosen like Tesla was to be attacked, even though Google says they have powered 100% of their huge operations with renewable . . .  and are still hooked into the grid as was pointed out about Tesla which actually might be so they could provide some of their unused solar energy back to the local community they are in. 

We should all feel the need to have and buy a lot less. Needs a whole documentary on this, rather than the sparse treatment it gets in this one.  

And maybe have only one or no children for a while. Again, sounds simple, but how you implement that needs a couple of documentaries rather than having a few white men speculating in this one. Would it have been worth at least one woman having a say here? 

So some worthwhile things to consider, or to feel guilty about personally as fossil fuel interests prefer you to do. But it is all wrapped in a package that is a mess. 

You really have to wonder why they chose Earth Day to push it out.  

Climate activists were busy fighting fossil fuels in our “Stop the Money Pipeline” campaign that day. Youth were speaking about how we need the Green New Deal on EarthDayLive. Were Moore, Gibbs, and Zehner feeling a desperate need right then to enable Breibart.com, and so many other conservative business groups who have since cheered it on, to have a chance to say that our side of the climate crisis has finally confirmed what Trump has been saying about the worthlessness of clean energy? 

And, as a Breitbart reviewer speculated, they maybe single handedly gave the election to Trump and Republicans . . .  just so they could tell all their environmentalist friends they have gone in the wrong direction and have duped their followers? The Trump, far right, campaign ads, using the messages in this film, referencing Moore and parts of this documentary, are being made now and social media will be filled with them in clever ways soon.


Ken Jones
Clean Energy Campaign
350 Bay Area/350Marin

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How Effective Was COP27? https://350marin.org/how-effective-was-cop27/ https://350marin.org/how-effective-was-cop27/#respond Tue, 22 Nov 2022 03:21:40 +0000 https://350marin.org/?p=26337 The post How Effective Was COP27? appeared first on 350 Marin.

UNFCCC_COP27_17Nov22_PeoplesPlenary_KiaraWorth-31 | UNclimatechange | Flickr

After 3 days of overtime, and negotiations that lasted late into the morning an otherwise lukewarm COP27 ended in a nice surprise in the form of an agreement on the loss and damage fund. This years conference, held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, didn’t have the greatest hopes attached to it. Greta Thunberg opted not to attend citing that the conference did little more than green washing, and the gathering was overshadowed by the recent imprisonments of Egyptian journalists such as Ahmed Fayez.

One of the main points of contention over the two week long conference was the concept of a loss and damage fund. The logic of such a fund is pretty simple. Developed countries who are responsible for the majority of climate change pay reparations to developing countries who suffer the majority of climate change. This is especially salient in as this year’s conference was held in Africa where countries like Somalia are suffering their 5th straight rainy season lacking in rain. Approaching the end of the conference the hopes of ever seeing such a fund come to fruition seemed to be waning until Sunday morning when negotiators were able to come to an agreement.

This fund, which will be hammered out in the following year, may take the form of simple compensation or it may take the form of a climate-crises insurance which some are taking to call ‘Gobal Shield.’ Though despite this many activists are wary of how much good the Loss and Damage Fund will actually do. This year in Pakistan massive floods led to 30 billion in property destruction, yet the money committed to the fund is only 300 million. Another difficulty is China which insists on its categorization as a developing country (thus making it eligible to get money from the fund) despite it being the 2nd largest economy, and the largest emitter of green house gasses. Other activists see the fund as little more than a green washing strategy designed to signal a false sense of progress.

The Loss and Damage Fund is encompassed by the larger issue of the disparity between those who are in need and those who have the wealth. As Bill McKibben writes about this in his article “How to Pay for Climate Justice When Polluters Have All the Money” which succinctly summarizes the heart of this years COP27 negotiations.

Other positives from the conference were the increased participation in the Global Methane Pledge with around 50 countries joining. The pact aims to reduce methane emissions by 30% by the end of this decade. As well as Brazil’s president-elect, Lula de Silva, vowing to aid climate efforts, especially in the Amazon Rainforest, after the disastrous deforestation legislation of Bolsonaro.

Despite these steps forward the talks at COP27 seem to be marred by an overall lack of urgency. Such a lack is highlighted in the difficulty in coming to a consensus around the issue of fossil fuel elimination with global leaders still only being able to agree on ‘phase down’ rather than ‘phase out’ terminology. India has also been a point of concern due to their continued investment into to coal, despite their claims of commitment to renewable energy.

Read more:





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The Threat of Methane Super emitters https://350marin.org/the-threat-of-methane-super-emitters/ https://350marin.org/the-threat-of-methane-super-emitters/#respond Tue, 14 Mar 2023 01:47:07 +0000 https://350marin.org/?p=26580 The post The Threat of Methane Super emitters appeared first on 350 Marin.


In this article the Guardian discusses the unique role methane has in climate change. On one hand methane traps 80 times more heat than carbon dioxide, raising temperatures at a much faster rate than CO2. On the other hand it only stays in the atmosphere for a decade, much shorter than CO2’s century long lifespan. This makes it one of the most detrimental ways we are heating our planet, and also a great opportunity we have of saving our planet. This is because after cutting back on methane, we could observe a difference within the decade. From the article “An emissions cut of 45% by 2030, which the UN says is possible, would prevent 0.3C of temperature rise
Read more about it here: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/mar/06/revealed-1000-super-emitting-methane-leaks-risk-triggering-climate-tipping-points 












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What Can People Do to Help the Environment? | 350Marin https://350marin.org/350marin-promotional-video/ https://350marin.org/350marin-promotional-video/#respond Wed, 08 Mar 2023 03:49:47 +0000 https://350marin.org/?p=26532 The post What Can People Do to Help the Environment? | 350Marin appeared first on 350 Marin.


We’d like to thank Archie Williams Students Cole LaRoche, Bella Faye, Harper Miller, and Jorge Castillo Garcia for creating this promotional video on 350Marin.

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What the Nov. 8th Midterms Mean for Climate Action https://350marin.org/what-the-nov-8th-midterms-mean-for-climate-action/ https://350marin.org/what-the-nov-8th-midterms-mean-for-climate-action/#respond Wed, 30 Nov 2022 17:49:37 +0000 https://350marin.org/?p=26307 Despite the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act, a landmark piece of pro-climate legislation, the make-up of the government as decided by the midterms will shape how its implemented. In these midterms Democrats kept the Senate, but narrowly lost the House of Representatives. An important aspect of the outcome from these midterms is that climate-friendly […]

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Despite the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act, a landmark piece of pro-climate legislation, the make-up of the government as decided by the midterms will shape how its implemented. In these midterms Democrats kept the Senate, but narrowly lost the House of Representatives.

An important aspect of the outcome from these midterms is that climate-friendly Democrats maintain the ability appointing to federal judges who will rule to protect the environment. This is especially wanting after the disastrous judges appointed by President Trump. A Democratic senate also ensures that the bulk of the IRA (Inflation Reduction Act), including major subsidies for green energy as well as a commitment to a reduction in GHG emissions of up to 40% by 2030, will be implemented more smoothly. However, that’s not likely to happen without major pushback from Republicans.

This pushback will most likely take the form of investigations, and hearings criticizing the investments made by the Biden administration. Recently the upcoming chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-Wash) referred to the IRA as “Solyndra on Steroids” referencing the failed solar startup that lost millions in tax dollars. On top of this a Republican House likely means that we won’t be seeing climate legislation as potent as the IRA anytime in the next two years.

Another positive outcome of these midterm elections was the number of pro-climate governors put into office. Two notable governors elected were Maura Healey in Massachusetts who sued ExxonMobil for deceptive business practices when she was attorney general, and Gretchen Whitmer who strongly opposed the Line 5 oil pipeline. Governors like these are good news for the implementation of the IRA which hinges on the attitudes of state officials. State governors are also important with a view toward supporting and achieving clean vehicle, and energy goals.

Read more about what the midterms mean for climate action:

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Interview With Anastasia Pryor From Conservation Corps North Bay https://350marin.org/interview-with-anastasia-pryor/ https://350marin.org/interview-with-anastasia-pryor/#respond Mon, 12 Dec 2022 21:59:08 +0000 https://350marin.org/?p=26370 The post Interview With Anastasia Pryor From Conservation Corps North Bay appeared first on 350 Marin.


Conservation Corps North Bay is a 40 year old organization focused equal parts on the environment, and community. Just last year the organization restored and maintained 148 miles of Bay Area Trails, and diverted 506,756 pounds of e-waste from the landfill. 350Marin sat down Anastasia for an interview about the essence of her organization, and how it’s developed into what it is today.

Conservation Corps. North Bay (CCNB) has been around for 40 years. How has it changed? 

In so many different ways. When we first started back in 1982, our founder was a Marin resident, Rich Hammond. He had already been very much involved in the natural resources world at the state level. And in 82’, there were significant storms that happened in Marin. The cycle that has been accelerated because of climate change, of drought and deluges of rain, was shorter back then. So in 82’ there were major floods after a couple of years of drought that just flooded all sorts of parts of Marin. I grew up just over the hill, in Marinwood, and I have memories of people in their kayaks on the flat streets because it was that flooded. That same storm also washed out a lot  of the trails on Mount Tam where Rich ran. He noticed how long it was taking for all those trails to be repaired and restored after those storms. And he thought, we need to do something about this. At the same time, he had some teenage sons that could make good use of their time on a new project. So out of that, the idea was born.

We started in 82’ with just a couple of projects working on Mount Tam, like Bootjack trail was one of them and a couple of other trails that the first 16 Corps members worked on. Back then, the goal of the program was basically service to the community through environmental projects. Then shortly thereafter an educational component came on. Where it’s evolved over time is the addition of the zero waste program. So the recycling services. That came on in 1989 when we started doing bottles and cans collection in Marin County parks, which we still do to this day. Services evolved from there into adding the school component a couple of years later.

Because we’re certified by the state as a local nonprofit conservation corps, we have some benefits that we can offer to young people. For example the ability to complete a high school diploma when you’ve aged out of the traditional high school system. We serve ages 18 to 30, and normally once you turn 18, you can’t complete your high school diploma at a public school. You have to get your GED or move on in another way. But because of our certification, we’re able to offer that full four year diploma to members in our program who haven’t completed high school. We do it through the John Muir Charter School, which is a charter school program that specializes in adult education, so for folks over 18 that haven’t completed high school. And then over time, we evolved even more to provide career coaching on top of everything else. So really evolving into a job training program where the hands on work experience and the education were two great components. But as it evolved into a job training program, we found that young people can also use guidance and career exploration workshops and soft skills training and help writing a resume. All those different things that we’ve now added to our program to complete the whole package. 

When we first started, we were actually Marin Conservation Corps. So you might still hear some of the really old school environmentalists in Marin refer to us as MCC. When we expanded to Sonoma County in 2008, that was when we became Conservation Corps North Bay. We had been here for a couple decades getting the program stable and growing on its own, and then we saw that there was a really similar need in Sonoma County, both from a youth development standpoint and an environmental work standpoint. And so we expanded services up there and then changed our name.

We continue to evolve. Now, in our 40th year, we are looking at different types of career paths for young people. So corpsmembers who join our program, as I just described it, by the time they finish, are ready to gain entry level employment at places like Marin County Parks or Marin Water or other government agencies or even landscaping companies where they can use the skills that they’ve learned here. But we have also been thinking, what about folks who want to have a more specialized career, like in the fire service or something more intensive, like ecological restoration work? We’re now working on formulating these accelerated career paths for folks that want to continue their training and eventually start a higher level career as well. So we continue to grow in our 40th year. 

How has CCNB stayed the same?

The youth is really the common thread. Making sure that local young people have skills to gain living wage employment in their own communities, which can be really hard to do, especially in Marin County, given the cost of living here. But also the community resources that we provide through the paid work experience that corpsmembers gain with us through fire fuel reduction, and flood prevention work. Crews work in creeks a lot, especially during the summer to clear out vegetation, and even doing a lot of work keeping recyclable material out of the landfill, it all ends up out of benefiting the community.

It seems like Conservation Corps is focused equal parts on environment and community. How do they complement each other?

In a couple of different ways. We’re not only protecting our neighbors from the effects of climate change, whether it’s from fire or flood. We’ve also done a lot of lawn conversion projects with Marin Water at the onset of this version of the drought. A couple of years ago, we partnered with Marin Water and converted 40 different lawns in Marin. They had a rebate for their customers to tear out their lawns and their sprinkler systems to save water and then put in water-wise landscaping. They trained our crews to do all that, taking all the grass out and even laying the foundation for drip irrigation that is recommended by Marin water. So lots of benefits just around trying to protect our communities from the effects of climate change. We’re struggling to be on the prevention side of it because it’s more of a global challenge and the big companies are really the ones who are going to need to step up to work on the prevention side.

Another spot where we do that is through our zero waste program. Keeping valuable material out of the landfill so they aren’t just sitting there for hundreds of years and not breaking down. So bottles and cans, e-waste, mattresses are pretty new for us over the last couple of years. You might not know this, but when you buy a mattress, you pay a fee that goes toward recycling it responsibly. There’s an organization called the Mattress Recycling Council that is in charge of collecting that fee and using that money to get all these used mattresses. So we’re a collector of those both here at our Novato location and in Cotati. And then theyget torn apart into all the different components and then are repurposed into a number of different items. So that is the shout out for bringing your mattress here when you’re ready to swap it out. 

Same for tires. Tires pose a lot of different problems. Not only do they not break down, but if they’re tossed in creeks or public or private land that is near our waterways, they can contaminate the creeks and the rivers and on into the ocean. So it’s a much bigger problem than just litter. And they also can be repurposed. So we collect those as well. Our roof here is actually made out of recycled tire material, as is the pathway in our front yard that you just walked through. So in all those ways, we help our communities protect their homes and their health as much as possible from the effects of climate change.

The latest thing that our zero waste team has started working on is food recovery. There was legislation that passed in the state that food generators, over a number of years, are slowly supposed to start working toward diverting edible food or any kind of organics from the landfill. So starting from manufacturers to farmers all the way down to local restaurants, over the course of a few years. Everyone will be required to either compost food waste or, if it’s edible, get it to folks who are experiencing hunger. And our team is getting involved in that, more frequently in Sonoma County. Now you’re seeing organizations like Extra Food, who we partner, starting to really step up communications around having folks be sure that they’re composting. That goes all the way down to the consumer. A lot of the hauling organizations like Marin Sanitary and Recology have started at the individual level, making sure that residents are composting first. That’s one way that we benefit the community. Another is training local young people for jobs that we know are already available and hard to fill. Jobs in government agencies or municipalities. A lot of that workforce is older and retiring. They’re calling it the “Silver Tsunami”, where a lot of public employees are retiring in large numbers because of when they first started. And there’s a serious need to fill skilled folks into those positions, and there are only going to be more positions like that going on into the future. Especially as climate change continues to affect everything that’s happening environmentally in our community. So we help residents, we help organizations hire, and we help young people who’ve been experiencing significant barriers to financial independence navigate those barriers like finishing high school, learning English, getting hands on training certifications so that they can be financially independent as well. So there are lots of different benefits to the program. 

Tell me about the Natural Resources Crew.

It’s manyfold. Most of our corpsmembers are on the natural resources side. We have partners both in Marin and Sonoma counties that hire corpsmembers to do projects that are already planned and for those agencies. The coolest things that we do are things like trail work in county parks or in the GGNRA (Golden Gate National Recreation Area) and working with the National Park Service on habitat restoration.  We’ve done some really cool projects like out of Fort Baker, planting lupine. Lupine is the flower that the Mission Blue Butterfly thrives on.

The Natural Resources Crew pulling Scotch Broom

And so we’ve been working on removing invasive species and planting the lupine so that the mission blue butterfly can thrive. Even out here in Hamilton, in the wetlands, we’ve been doing a lot of restoration as well. So those are some of the cooler projects that we work on. And then day to day it can be things like the standard fire fuel reduction and creek clearing which, over time, can get kind of mechanical if you don’t see the whole picture of how it’s helping prevent the effects of these natural disasters. But a big part of the work that we do is reducing fire fuels. And there are more resources from the government now to do that, especially after what happened in Sonoma County dating back to 2017. There’s a lot of money that’s gone in through property tax initiatives, especially in Marin. Measure C was passed by the voters to say, “yes, please, tax us through a property tax to fund this Marin Fire protection authority.” So there  are resources  out there both for government agencies, the fire departments, and all the different neighborhoods to create defensible space through vegetation management. There’s even money for individuals too in the form of grants either if they can’t afford to do the work themselves or they can’t physically do it themselves. Individuals can get grants to pay other folks to do that. And then there’s the super fun, corpsmembers might laugh  if we call it super fun, but just pulling invasives like Scotch Broom, and all the different kinds of invasive plants that both disrupt the ecosystem and contribute to fire risk. They are most effectively eliminated by pulling and so not using a weed whacker or anything like that because that just spreads seeds. So hand pulling broom is probably the least exciting thing that they do, but is very important. 

How about the zero waste crew? 

So they’re small but mighty. Funding sources have a lot to do with the type of work that we do. A lot of it depends on where the money comes from for government agencies to hire, because they essentially hire our crews to do this work. And that’s what provides the paid job training piece of the program for the young people. The Zero Waste team historically was funded by a significant grant that we still get every year from Cal Recycle, and that is to collect a pretty standard set of materials. So that’s bottles and cans, tires, and e-waste. There’s also some funding toward oil recycling education. We don’t actually collect used oil, but if you take a look next time you’re on a walk in your neighborhood, and you see those storm drains that have the medallions and say “drains to bay”, our crews place a lot of those throughout the community in both counties. So that’s a big educational component of what they do.

E-waste collection event in Santa Rosa

Cal Recycle, going back pretty far in CCNB’s history, has supported corpsmember and supervisor salaries and for vehicles to do collection work for those materials that we then send back out to companies that  process the recycling. We don’t actually compact or break materials down here. Other companies do that after we’ve collected it. But what’s happened in the past couple of years, just because people are a little bit more savvy about recycling in the Bay Area, is that we’ve asked what else can be recycled and what can we do? The mattresses have been fairly new for us, as I mentioned before. So we work to keep bottles and cans, e-waste, tires and oil out of the waterways and the landfill. But now we’re also collecting mattresses, carpet for recycling, which we’re only doing in Cotati right now, and we’ve moved into the food waste sphere, too. Our e-waste number especially, seems to grow every single year. Because people just buy stuff and replace it so frequently. And a lot of those components can be broken down into different things. And a lot of the fine metals in there are actually pretty valuable. After working with Cal Recycle to collect the e-waste, other companies pay us for those materials because they can turn them into something else. 

Why did you choose Conservation Corps?

Before being in the nonprofit sector, which I’ve been for nearly 12 years now, I worked for the local news agencies doing advertising, like the Marin IJ and the Press Democrat. So I switched careers midway. But my passion from the beginning has been helping young people get a good start. And having grown up here, really appreciating the environmental beauty of what’s here and wanting to protect it.

My career in the nonprofit sector has, for the most part, been involved in somehow helping young people. I used to work at Side By Side, which is a mental health organization for kids and youth in the Marin, Sonoma, and Alameda counties. I worked for a Yosemite Conservancy, raising money for the park, but it just felt like CCNB was a really good combination of helping young people accomplish their goals while really benefiting from the natural beauty of where we live. So it was just a perfect fit for me. 

Do you have any funny stories from your time at CCNB? 

There are plenty. There are lots of just small ones, but usually like wildlife. Our department sees almost every photo that’s taken for CCNB because we’re in charge of communications. And so we get, from all the crews that are out working, pictures of the work that they’re doing so that we can both share with folks like you and other organizations and with funders and the community about the work that we’re doing. And pretty frequently, we will get photos that involve animals. So whether someone has rescued a lizard or a salamander when they’re in the middle of something and they want to get it out of the way to this one, I think I’m not 100% sure, but I think this is in Santa Rosa at Taylor Mountain Regional Park, where we just did some trail work. It’s still recovering from the fires, but they had a roadblock of cows that they had to work around. Sometimes you have to do things on the cow’s time. So that was pretty funny.

But really just the funny stories are all the joyful moments of the work that happens with the corpsmembers. There’s one pretty early on in the pandemic with one of our crews here in Marin. It was a rainy day. They had been out working all day. Exhausted, dirty, tired. But when they got back, they somehow got in their heads to do a Tik-Tok dance video. Just having staff get involved with corpsmembers and doing silly, joyful things outside of the day to day work, that can be really hard. It’s just one of the reasons that we’re here just to have that joy as well. So I wanted to share that with you. Thank you.

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Earth 2050 Event Celebrates Earth Day & the Future https://350marin.org/earth-2050-event-celebrates-earth-day-the-future/ https://350marin.org/earth-2050-event-celebrates-earth-day-the-future/#respond Sun, 08 May 2022 15:30:34 +0000 http://350marin.org/?p=26177 Line-up of booths at the Earth 2050 festival on April 24, 2022

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Earth 2050 Event Celebrates Earth Day & the Future

 Line up of booths at Earth 2050 at Mill Valley Rec Center on April 24, 2022

Earth 2050, the free community event to celebrate Earth Day and focus on the possibilities for a thriving, climate and environmentally responsible future had a great turnout on April 24, 2022.  Art was seen, inspring talks were heard, games and music were played, much was learned, and fun had by kids and adults alike!

The event was sponsored by Green Change, 350Marin, 350 Bay Area, and many other local groups.  Groups, including 350Marin, reported that many people expressed interest in and signed up to become more active in their work to guard and guide the planet’s future.



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Green New Deal Pinball Game https://350marin.org/green-new-deal-pinball-game/ https://350marin.org/green-new-deal-pinball-game/#respond Wed, 09 Nov 2022 19:13:48 +0000 https://350marin.org/?p=26300 Click here to play: https://350marin.org/GNDgame.html Click to flip the  flippers and launch the ball. Score 100,000 points by answering questions without losing all your balls to save the planet. This game was created by 350Marin interns from Marin School of Environmental Leadership (MSEL) and Archie Williams (formerly Drake) high schools, along with 350Marin members with the […]

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Click here to play: https://350marin.org/GNDgame.html

Click to flip the  flippers and launch the ball. Score 100,000 points by answering questions without losing all your balls to save the planet.

This game was created by 350Marin interns from Marin School of Environmental Leadership (MSEL) and Archie Williams (formerly Drake) high schools, along with 350Marin members with the hope of bringing current climate change and related economic issues to the educational arena in a more playful way.

The design was done by Tucker Vorhees (MSEL), Brianna Flores and Nate Wolford (Archie Williams HS), Kelly Jones and Andrea Taylor (350Marin). The programming was done by Kelly Jones.

Works best on desktop computers.

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COP26 Whimpers to a Close as Activists Decry Inaction https://350marin.org/cop26-whimpers-to-a-close-as-activists-decry-lack-of-action/ https://350marin.org/cop26-whimpers-to-a-close-as-activists-decry-lack-of-action/#respond Wed, 10 Nov 2021 20:09:39 +0000 http://350marin.org/?p=26053 More than 100 fossil fuel companies sent 500 lobbyists to the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, more than any single country...

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COP26 Whimpers to a Close as Activists Decry Inaction

 “Artists take over the streets in San Francisco in the COP26 Stop Funding Climate Chaos protest against the big banks funding fossil fuel expansion  Photo: 350Marin

As the COP26 (the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties) ‘whimpers to a close’ this week, as one observer put it, the growing gap between this spectacle of largely empty words & greenwashing and real global action to tackle climate change should be an embarrassment to all concerned.  The reaction from climate activists has been scathing.

Some examples:

From Bill McKibben:  “…in a press release issued last week, the government of the United Kingdom, which is hosting the summit, initially claimed that a hundred and ninety nations and organizations represented there had joined in a breakthrough pledge to phase out coal and stop investing in new coal-power projects. But, as Agence France-Presse’s Patrick Galey pointed out, by the time the list of nations was published, only twenty-three had announced new plans to abstain from coal, and ten of them don’t even burn coal. Together, he found, the twenty-three nations account for just thirteen per cent of the world’s coal use. China, Russia, the United States, and Australia aren’t on the list.

Read Bill’s full article here.

Eighteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg called COP26 a “failure”.  She said, “The COP has turned into a PR event where leaders are giving beautiful speeches and announcing fancy commitments and targets, while behind the curtains the governments of the Global North countries are still refusing to take any drastic climate action.”

Climate Justice Activist Eve Chantelle from Uganda urges world leaders to put human rights and the rights of land and Environmental Defenders ahead of big polluters at COP26. See the report here.

The Glasgow U.N. climate summit is inundated with fossil fuel lobbyists, according to a recent report published by Global Witness that found “if the fossil fuel lobby were a country delegation at COP, it would be the largest with 503 delegates two dozen more than the largest country delegation.” Additionally, they estimated that there are over 100 coal, oil and gas company lobbyists and their associated groups at COP26.

See details here

Climate activists protested outside the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow Monday spotlighting the role of the U.S. military in fueling the climate crisis. The U.S. Department of Defense has a larger annual carbon footprint than most countries on Earth, and it also is the single largest polluter on Earth.

See Democracy Now’s report here

On Friday, 25,000 people, including many thousands of school students, joined a massive climate strike. The following day there were hundreds of actions all across the world and more than 100,000 people formed a protest marched through the streets of Glasgow. One of the speakers in Glasgow said: “We’re taking this action to encourage others, scientists and all people, to rise up in rebellion against the system that is killing everything.”

Over 100,000 cram the streets of Glasgow, Scotland to protest the inaction of governments and corporations on the climate crisis.  Photo credit:  The Left CC 2.0 License

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Years of Climate Activism Bring Three Huge Victories https://350marin.org/years-of-climate-activism-bring-three-huge-victories/ https://350marin.org/years-of-climate-activism-bring-three-huge-victories/#respond Thu, 01 Jul 2021 16:05:34 +0000 http://350marin.org/?p=25936 On May 26, 2021, climate activists scored three historic but separate victories against Exxon, Chevron and Dutch Shell on the same day...

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Years of Climate Activism Bring Three Huge Victories

 “Tears of Joy! We Won!”: Friends of the Earth Europe Celebrates the Shell Ruling

Climate activists just scored three historic victories against Big Oil that show the tide is slowly but surely turning in the fight to address the climate crisis.  On the same day, May 26th, 2021, three of the largest oil companies in the world, Dutch Shell, Chevron and Exxon were dealt three different, powerful blows likely to hasten the demise of their fossil fuel business in coming years and to accelerate the move to renewables.

Shareholder Rebellions:  For Chevron, it was an overwhelming vote by 61% of their shareholders that they should work to track and reduce not only Chevron’s own carbon emissions, but ‘Scope 3’ emissions, those of its products and its customers as well, (a majority of Conoco-Philips and Philips 66 shareholders had approved similar proposals earlier in the month). And at Exxon, a small activist group of shareholders succeeded in electing three ‘activist’ directors to Exxon’s 12 member Board of Directors who will now push the company to more quickly stop investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure and move to accelerate its transition into a renewable energy company.

A first-ever climate court order:  And finally, a Dutch court in the Hague ordered Dutch Shell to reduce its carbon emissions by 45% by 2030, in line with IPCC recommended goals.  This is a precedent-setting ruling that potentially puts a ‘carbon polluter’ label and liability on the back of every fossil fuel company in the world, adding meaningful risk for their investors. The court acknowledged that ordering Shell to cut its emissions virtually in half in just the next nine years could have a negative impact on Shell’s operations, growth and business.  But the court said that the interests of the public to stop disruptive, life-threatening climate change clearly outweigh Shell’s commercial interests.

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