The terrible effects of global climate change are clear and present dangers to those of us who live in Humboldt County, California. From years-long extreme drought and record high temperatures, to a longer and harsher wildfire season and impending sea level rise, we are already living with our lives, homes, and land at risk.
The election of Donald Trump reaffirmed that our best shot at lasting change in this political landscape will come from the local level. That’s why we started 350 Humboldt: to pressure our local elected officials to cut ties with fossil fuels, and commit to a world free from fossil fuels with 100% renewables for all. In our community, we are blessed with abundant sources of renewable energy, in the form of solar, and offshore and onshore wind.
On May 14th, in coordination with communities across America, we celebrated the passing a 100% renewable energy resolution in Eureka, California — the largest city in Humboldt and the county seat. You can do this too! Join or start a Fossil Free campaign today, and organizers from the national 350 team will get in touch with you within a week to help you get started.
With examples and learnings from resolutions in municipalities elsewhere, we submitted the 100% Clean and Renewable Energy resolution to several city councils across the county, the first being the City Council of Eureka. With the help of Austin Allison on the City Council, we got it placed on the agenda for the May 1 meeting. We mobilized several volunteers to attend the meeting and share our stories. After waiting through an interminably long meeting, our resolution passed — unanimously!
Weaning off of fossil fuels and building a world powered by sustainable energy is doable when we band together and become a political force in our community. It wouldn’t have been possible without building relationships with one another, with our elected officials, and across different groups in our area.
We aren’t stopping now. This week, we celebrated. Now, we get back to work. We’ve already submitted our resolution to two more towns, Arcata and McKinleyville, and we’re even working with allies on the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors to get it on their agenda. Each governing body has its own hurdles to overcome, all learning opportunities for us. Will you join me in the Fossil Free fight by passing a resolution in your hometown? An organizer from our team will be in touch to help get you started.
We wouldn’t have achieved this victory without all the work that’s come before us. In that spirit, we want to share some of our lessons-learned so far:
- Find and cultivate strong allies within each organization. Building a world that works for all of us requires we prioritize our relationships.
- Anticipate potential objections and be prepared to counter them. This starts with getting on the same page across our volunteer community to address them.
- Develop a strong core group of volunteers who can be relied on to speak effectively at these meetings.
- Be respectful, be persistent.
It’s going to take all of us working for the long-haul to build necessary changes. This victory in Eureka proved: yes, it can be done! The road ahead won’t be easy. If we go together, we can go far. Sign up to organize a Fossil Free campaign in the lead-up to September’s Summit now.
Mary for 350Humboldt