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Regeneración July 2023 News

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

It's getting hotter! Take actions as large and bold as necessary!



As I write this column I’m immensely grateful for another cool, foggy morning, knowing that nearly 1/3 of USers and millions of others in Mexico, China, India, Spain and other countries are sweltering under spiking temperatures as the (almost certainly) hottest July in human history comes to a close. I’m also grateful to breathe smokeless air for the time being, aware that smoke from Oregon will be drifting down the coast and concerned that last winter’s torrential rains may not prevent local wildfires. Heavy rains in Vermont flooded my niece’s apartment….Kentucky, Hawaii and Connecticut are other states dealing with deluges.


Warmer air holds more water.


Rising temperatures are always in the back of my mind. I listened to an interview with Jeff Goodell about his new book : The Heat Will Kill You First - Life and Death on a Scorched Planet. I know that many groups are disproportionately affected by heat:

  • Farmworkers, wearing heavy clothing to protect themselves from sun and pesticides, who run between rows as they strive to fill as many boxes as possible on a shift;

  • Prisoners, sleeping bathed in sweat in unconditioned cells that may be as hot as 106 degrees according to one report;

  • Pregnant women;

  • Elders;

  • Young children, whose bodies cannot expel heat;

  • Unhoused people, who cannot escape outdoor temperatures;

  • People living in cities, urban “heat islands” where asphalt and concrete trap the sun’s rays, with little green space and few trees to provide shade or respite, and air conditioners move hot air out of buildings and dump it outside.


An important reminder - living beings cannot stay alive above a certain temperature. The body heat index is a combination of heat and humidity. We are watching temperatures soar way above past records. There is no one person, country, extra terrestrial being, or other life form that can guarantee temperatures won’t spike into completely new levels during one of these heat waves. I fear one day soon we will read that temperatures have soared up to 135 or 140 degrees, causing thus far unknown damage to species and habitats.


It is not only living beings that can’t function in very high temperatures. Roads, transportation systems, cell phones may melt or break - items invented in a certain climate may not work in an altered world.


The situation we face is dire, but what matters is how we respond. All of us together CAN take the actions needed to swiftly bring greenhouse gas emissions to zero. As Rebecca Solnit recently wrote, "we can't afford to be climate doomers."


Will you join us in deciding to take actions, as large and bold as necessary, to ensure we transition off fossil fuels without leaving anyone behind?




If we put our minds to this challenge I’m confident we can come up with creative solutions to address every aspect of the reality we are facing. Some suggest that just 3.5% of the population can drive major change. The key is not letting our despair keep us immobilized.


REDUCING emissions will help move us in the right direction, but just as a bath tub continues to fill when the tap flow is reduced to a trickle, emitting any additional carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases will continue to trap more heat in the atmosphere, meaning temperatures will continue to rise.


In other words, it’s imperative to STOP BURNING FOSSIL FUELS.


To reduce emissions collectively, we can:

  • Advocate for robust public transportation systems;

  • Ensure safety for people walking and bicycling with sidewalks, bike lanes, traffic calming features;

  • Implement Urban Greening Plans (locally learn what Watsonville Wetlands Watch and the City of Watsonville are doing);

  • Maintain and expand green spaces (Santa Cruz County Land Trust is preserving land and increasing community access to green spaces);

  • Outlaw pesticides and prioritize organic farming;

  • Ensure policymakers and governing bodies pass needed laws and ordinances;

  • Oppose projects and policies that are going in the wrong direction (for example, highway expansions drive through restaurants, or other things that allow or encourage unchecked emissions);

  • Utilize methods of removing carbon from the atmosphere through nature based solutions and possible new technologies.

To reduce emissions, individually, as you are able, you can -

  • Invest any extra resources you have (time and money) with groups working for healthy, sustainable communities.

  • Reduce all car travel, but especially gas-powered car;

  • Eat a plant based diet of local foods;

  • Reduce all consumption (of clothing, disposable items, …)

  • Bring your own plate, utensils, napkins, coffee cups, water bottles;

  • Replace gas appliances with electric appliances. Visit Resilient Santa Cruz for details, and learn about Federal tax credits and incentives here. (Link)

  • Never idle your car and ask people you see idling to stop.

  • Always do laundry in cold water and hang inside or outside to dry.

  • Vote for candidates that will support bold policies

  • Register others to vote


It appears that people keep trying to adjust and consider the current reality to be the “new normal.” It is difficult to grasp that we are living in a climate that is rapidly and continuously changing - it will not reach equilibrium for likely hundreds of years.


I expect we will live in air containing more than 400 parts per million of carbon for the rest of our lives.


But, as people traditionally have done, all over the world, we can think 7 generations ahead and take actions now to ensure the well being of future people. We can cut emissions and work to remove carbon from the atmosphere so that eventually carbon content will return to under 350 parts per million, as humans experienced throughout all of human history. We can be the kinds of ancestors we want to be for those unborn generations.


What will you do today? this month? this year? to ensure a Just Transition off of fossil fuels. Let's work together!


In community,

Nancy Faulstich, Director


 



Pajaro Valley News:

Santa Cruz Metro received Federal Transportation funding to support the Zero Emissions Master Plan and purchase 54 hydrogen fuel cell all-electric buses!

Pajaro will receive $20 million from the state budget thanks to advocacy from Monterey County staff and elected officials.

A long term recovery group of residents, government and non-profit staff will determine how to use the money.Poem by Nigerian Poet Ijeoma Umebinyuo


 



Regeneración Updates

We have joined the Anthropocene Alliance and are receiving technical assistance including support to use the Every Action communication platform.


Eloy Ortiz ( our Special Projects Manager) was selected to serve on the Northern Central Coast Steering Committee for the California Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) Uplift Coalition led by MBEP - Monterey Bay Economic Partnership.


Maria Perez (our Community Organizer) was appointed to the Santa Cruz County Commission for the Environment.Start now.


 



Grant Awarded

We're grateful to announce a $14,000 Impact Award from the Fund for the Environment and the McKay Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County, which will support our work in Monterey County to present to students in several settings and work with CSUMB Service Learners and College Corps volunteers.

 



We're getting close to our goal!

As the temperature rises we're stepping up our response! You can help us reach our fundraising goal of $25,000 by donating any amount today.

We appreciate everyone who has already contributed!





Electric Vehicle Discounts

Grants of $7,500 toward the cost of a new electric vehicle are still available! Sign up for personalized purchase guidance assistance to learn about all available EV incentives through the EVS for Everyone program that we are partnering on with Ecology Action, Community Environmental Council and Let’s Green CA.


 


Upcoming Events

  • 8/24 - 9-12:30 (tentative) 5th California Climate Assessment Workshop, organized by Strategic Growth Council

  • 9/6, 6-730 pm - Community driven climate solutions film screening - Watsonville Library (co-hosts: Regeneración and Watsonville Film Festival)


 

Our Updated Mission:

We will achieve climate justice through

community-driven solutions.

Look for our full new strategic plan in our August Newsletter!


 


Poem by Nigerian poet, Ijeoma Umebinyuo:


Start where you are.


Start with fear.


Start with pain.


Start with doubt.


Start with hands shaking.


Start with voice trembling but start.


Start and don’t stop. Start where you are,


with what you have.


Just... start.


 






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