Rally Success!

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Above: Katie davis speaking about “California’s Keystone XL” at Santa Barbara County’s first ever climate rally. Photo by Sophia Billikopf.

Santa Barbara County’s First Ever Climate Rally A Success!

As part of climate change advocacy group 350.org’s nationwide mass action campaign “Summer Heat,” more than 100 citizens rallied at Linden Field in Carpinteria on Saturday to call on local, state and federal representatives for more urgent action on climate change.

Cyclists rode to the rally from Bici Centro, a volunteer-run bike repair shop on 506 E. Haley St. in Santa Barbara, wearing homemade messages opposing the fossil fuel industry safety-pinned to their shirts. Some cyclists even rode in from Ojai.

“We want to show the need for a larger voice of opposition to the fossil fuel industry as well as an outcry to politicians to start doing the right thing,” said ride organizer and Bici Centro member Alex Favacho.

“We have the ingenuity, the technology, the know-how and the capability to make a rapid shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy,” said Katie Davis, a graduate of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project training. “All we need is the will.”

Referring to the Monterey Shale Formation stretching from the central coast to Los Angeles, Davis said “it’s just as dirty as the tar sands of Canada because shale oil can only be extracted by energy processes such as fracking, breaking up the rock with water and chemicals. About 15 billion barrels of oil. That’s as much as would flow through the Keystone XL Pipeline if constructed.

“If we go that route, rather than being part of the solution, our children will not be able to reverse the devastation we are setting in motion.”

Entrepreneur John Reed of ChannelWind.org delivered a speech reminding people of the abundant offshore wind energy in our region and about the forward progress in offshore wind development already happening along other coasts in the nation. He and others are looking for more local college research and wealthy investors to get behind an offshore floating wind farm. It could potentially provide 33 percent of the electricity that the 900,000 people in our California Senate District 19 demand using only 103 six mega-watt floating wind turbines.

Nathan Alley, attorney with the Environmental Defense Center, spoke about a number of new proposed oil projects in the area including Santa Maria Energy’s proposal to build 136 wells using an energy and water-intensive steam injection project that would make the project “the largest greenhouse gas polluter in the county.”

“We are staring down a potential boom unlike any other we have seen in this county for over half a century,” he said. “Onshore oil folks have a target on us. We are in the bulls-eye of this Monterey Shale formation. And you are the folks that are standing between it and the rest of the world. So are we going to let them take the impacts and export it from our county and hurt the rest of the world?” To which the crowed replied, “No!”

“Although personal lifestyle choices are very important, we need to build political will and put a price on carbon,” said Rebecca Claassen, one of the rally organizers. “A sizable and steadily increasing carbon tax, imposed upon extraction, will level the playing field for renewable energy and border tax adjustments will allow the power of the market to lower emissions internationally. Also, to protect our fundamental rights to clean air and fresh water, we must consider writing new laws that enable us to decide whether or not fracking happens in our county, instead of letting corporate interests and state pre-emption decide for us.”

There were four workshops after the speakers were finished. One was on fossil fuel divestment, another was on the community-rights based approach to banning certain fossil fuel industry practices on the municipal level, another on how to put a price on carbon on the federal level and one on bike repair.

350.org is building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis and push for policies that will put the world on track to get to 350 ppm of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

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