Santa Cruz County should be a role model county on all the issues that face us. This does not mean that we can solve them all immediately, but that we should be moving quickly toward carbon drawdown, community resiliency, all forms of shelter for those without shelter, as well as treatment options for those who are ready. We should be open to new solutions for the housing crisis for both middle and low income residents of our beautiful county.
The ongoing climate crisis will not get better soon and impacts our water supplies, local and national agriculture (our food), supply chain disruption, vulnerability to increasingly intense wildfires, farmworkers and their families. Climate change has disparate impacts on various communities. We need to engage our communities around these issues so that people, especially young people, do not feel despair, or hopelessness, but empowered. We need bold leadership toward engaging our community on climate and facing actual reality.
THIS CAMPAIGN IS NO ON THE GREENWAY MEASURE
Beyond the many recommendations that will be forthcoming
in the revised and updated County Climate Action Strategy Report (due in December of 2022), the most hopeful and powerful tool we have in our toolbox is Regenerative Agriculture (as featured in the Netflix documentary, “Kiss the Ground”) to create healthy soils that can capture carbon and support the return of wildlife to our farmlands.
We must follow the lead, and elevate the work of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, which considers it their responsibility to steward local lands, including cultural (and wildfire prevention) burns across the County, and restoration of native ecosystems. They have done this work for too long without proper acknowledgment nor compensation on the part of local government.
As a County which is host to a remarkable amount of farming and agriculture, we can move toward becoming a role model for the nation by providing incentives and educating our community about the power of Regenerative Agriculture to address the climate crisis.
I support the Campaign for Organic & Regenerative Agriculture and the vision to transition Santa Cruz County away from toxic pesticides–which harm farm workers and neighborhoods–and towards organic and Regenerative farming. Working with local organizations, the County can promote large scale Permaculture, “rewilding” where possible, and mass tree planting–all of which also provide beauty, biodiversity and help cool us down.
Mass tree planting may also encourage rainfall. We need all of this, plus investments in public transit to reduce congestion on Highway 1 and ensure transit equity.
Power outages, water shortages and possible coming food shortages must all be considered soberly. We cannot bury our heads in the sand. A series of community micro-grids can ensure power so that we are not in thrall to the the PG&E power grid.
The County Board of Supervisors must pass a resolution, as the Watsonville City Council did, to demand that CAL PERS divest from fossil fuels.
Finally, we need a Youth Climate Corps that can work with local groups—and possibly indigenous groups, with their leadership—on restoration, fire prevention and other crucial projects and that will bring a needed sense of efficacy, joy and empowerment to our young people. Climate anxiety and grief are real. Doing our very best toward both mitigation and adaptation as a community will help us all.
I support the Sunrise Movement, the UCSC Green New Deal Coalition and the UCSC Student Climate Coalition.