A TALE OF TWO QUOTES: the contest between hope and despair at the 2019 San Diego Climate Summit

By John Atcheson, STAY COOL for Grandkids Advisory Council Member

While attending the 2019 San Diego Climate Summit at UCSD with fellow members of Stay Cool for Grandkids, I was reminded of two quotes. The first was by sixteen-year old Greta Thurnberg, from a speech given at the Davos Economic Forum. In her conclusion, she said:

Adults keep saying: “We owe it to the young people to give them hope.” But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.

This came to mind because in the opening remarks and throughout the conference, folks were pushing the need for and the importance of hope and optimism, all the while reporting on the increasingly grim reality of the consequences of climate change in San Diego.

You know the litany. Floods, droughts, seal-level rise, climate refugees, wildfires, water shortages, species extinctions, massive die-offs, encroaching tropical diseases, ocean acidification, and epic heat waves (although coastal San Diego may be spared the worst of these. Not so the interior of the county).

And for the most part, the presentations were saying the timetable for these catastrophes was shorter than previously thought. How could one muster hope or optimism in the face of these grim forecasts, I wondered?

Yet by the end, another quote came to mind, this one by Paul Hawkins. Here’s what he said:

When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand the data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse. What I see everywhere in the world are ordinary people willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in order to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world.

Just so with the panels and panelists at the San Diego Climate Summit. They would present their findings – all too often grim projections implying crises that had become more imminent than previously thought – and then the moderators would ask each panelist to try to come up with one word that encapsulated their feelings about what they were saying and hearing.

What I heard astounded me. The words the presenters came up with were things like action, excitement, engagement, energy, and yes, hope.

What I saw before me were men and women who knew the grim future we were fashioning with our outdated technologies, who knew that some measure of ecological destruction was baked into the system, who knew – in fact – that we were boxing ourselves and our children and their children into some very scary stuff, but who nevertheless had hope. They were too busy trying to understand the problem and fashion solutions to be pessimistic.

San Diego Climate Summit on March 25, 2019

And as I listened, I realized that the future viability of humankind will not be secured by investments in renewable energy; it will require harnessing a much older form of energy – the energy of the human spirit; the energy that has carried us across continents and through the ages in what amounts to a blink in geologic time.

But in the future, we will have to leaven that energy with wisdom. We will have to realize that the Earth is not simply a rock circling the sun – it is a precisely engineered habitat, unique in our solar system – if not the galaxy –and fashioned by the twin forces of time and chance to yield a world that is perfectly balanced, yet exquisitely sensitive to the increasingly heavy hand of humanity. It is not merely the only home we will ever have, it is a miracle; it is not simply worthy of protection, it is worthy of reverence.

Perhaps the energy and optimism I saw at the Conference is the bough wave of a greater awareness about our place in the cosmos. Perhaps the annoying noise of our day-to-day political follies, our deep divides, our presumed privileges, our ignorant biases, and our petty hatreds can be swept aside by the growing awareness that we are all on the same celestial ship, we’re in danger of foundering, and only we – acting together – can salvage it.

We will have to build a new cultural, economic, and political framework if we are to harness this older primal energy. We will have to banish ignorance, superstition, and blind convictions. But the future has always been about creating new capacities and shedding old ones. In every challenge there is an opportunity, and our progeny will inherit that opportunity as well as the burden of a changing climate.

We too have an opportunity. We can’t eliminate the burden we’re passing on, but we can minimize it, and we can help lay the groundwork for the wisdom and strength they will need to cope with what we are leaving them.

A look back at 2018 as we move into 2019

Last year was both challenging and exciting for STAY COOL. In early 2018 we partnered with San Diego Audubon Society (SDAS), which now serves as our fiscal sponsor. We thank SDAS for their ongoing support and partnership as we head into 2019. You may also recall that STAY COOL transitioned into a volunteer-managed organization at the end of 2017. As a result, our Advisory Council members have stepped up to take on more leadership and responsibility to carry out the STAY COOL mission.

In 2018, we said goodbye to Marty Eberhardt, one of our founding members, but at the same time we welcomed Linda Pratt to our Advisory Council team.  Linda brings a wealth of knowledge about climate policies. For more than 30 years she built a successful career focused on community-based environmental protection, serving as the director of regional environmental programs for the City and County of San Diego, and most recently as the managing director of a statewide nonprofit organization, Green Cities California.

Our newest Advisory Council member is Tracy Delaney, PhD, RD, who is the founding director of the Public Health Alliance of Southern California – a regional coalition of nine local health departments whose members have statutory responsibility for the health of 60% of California’s population. Her work advances population health and equity through multi-sector initiatives addressing policy, systems and environmental change.

STAY COOL membership remains around 250, with many members playing important roles in other climate change action groups in our community.  

We also have a growing audience of Facebook followers. In addition, Advisor Dennis Griffin started his “DIY Climate Action” group on Facebook with practical advice on how you can be climate-smart at home and in your daily life.

Under the leadership of Sue Randerson, Laura Schumacher (both pictured) and David Engel, we brought our Ocean Climate Science education program to more than 170 new students at Standley Middle School in University City. During two days of lessons to five classes, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) grad students partnered with STAY COOL elders to explain how adding CO2 to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels is making oceans warmer and more acidic.  This year, STAY COOL continues to offer our youth Ocean Climate Science program, targeting middle schools and 6th grade class levels.

We have continued to hold membership events throughout the year.  For example, in June, we heard from Dr. Mark Merrifield who is the first director of the Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation (CCCIA) at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  Another popular membership event was a guided walk through the Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary, a 785-acre open space preserve near Lakeside owned and maintained by San Diego Audubon.   

In November we honored our newest Grandkids’ Climate Defender and had the pleasure of hearing from Dr. “Ram” Ramanathan. Also, in attendance was Dr Ram’s wife Giri and grandson Ayan. Ram’s message was clear and direct – we all must do everything we can to prevent the worst from happening to our children and grandkids, and indeed to all lifeforms.  We agree that more effort must now be spent on adaptation strategies, and in planning how to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Grassroots, bottom-up efforts may be our last, best opportunity. STAY COOL is deeply appreciative to have heard Ram’s inspirational thoughts, along with his grandson Ayan who encouraged more recycling, bicycling and walking.


Dr. “Ram” Ramanathan honored as STAY COOL’s Climate Defender 2018, pictured here with Sarah Benson, Bob Leiter, David Engel and grandson Ayan.

We co-sponsored the Climate Summit that was organized by Climate Science Alliance and SIO in March.  Advisor Bob Leiter was later invited to serve on two peer review panels for California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, including the San Diego Region Report, a first-of-its kind detailed assessment of the climate change risks that threaten our own region.  Relying on key findings from the San Diego Region Report, we’re now working with other NGOs and academic institutions to help design an effective planning framework for coping with increased wildfire risks and other natural hazards in the context of integrated regional water resource planning. 

We have also been very active in climate policy and advocacy during 2018. We continued our efforts to encourage the County of San Diego to adopt an aggressive Climate Action Plan, including letters and testimony at the County Planning Commission and County Board of Supervisors.

In March, we joined with several other regional and statewide advocacy groups to testify before the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in support of ambitious 2035 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction targets for the San Diego region.  Since that time, we have been meeting with SANDAG staff to promote specific climate-smart strategies for inclusion in the 2019 Regional Plan Update, as summarized in a letter we submitted to them in October:

In 2019, STAY COOL will be continuing its efforts on these fronts and continuing to advocate for Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) to reduce the carbon footprint of our electricity. We will also be pursuing some new ideas and collaborations with other like-mined groups in the areas of climate education and advocacy.  We want your active involvement to advance our mission of lessening the impact of climate change so that our children and grandchildren—and generations to come—can thrive.

Thank you for your continued support.

Setting a High Bar for Climate Protection in SANDAG’s Regional Plan Update

In March, STAY COOL for Grandkids, along with several other regional and statewide advocacy groups, testified before the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in support of ambitious 2035 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction targets for the San Diego region (click here to read our letter).

While the Board ultimately approved lower targets, we were encouraged by the strong support from our regional stakeholders for higher targets, as well as by the commitment from SANDAG staff and CARB staff to consider various ways for achieving greater reductions. Now that SANDAG has begun the 2019 update to its long-range Regional Transportation Plan / Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP / SCS), we plan to meet with senior staff from SANDAG and other public agencies in the coming weeks to discuss our ideas with them. We also plan to work with other stakeholder groups and organizations to exchange ideas on how the 2019 Plan update can achieve ambitious GHG reduction targets while meeting other important environmental, social and economic goals.

STAY COOL believes that SANDAG’s 2019 Plan can achieve greater GHG reductions by 2035 if the following ideas are incorporated into the Plan and are properly credited toward meeting the region’s 2035 GHG reduction targets:

  1. Multiple-benefit plans, projects and programs.  There are a variety of possible projects and programs that could provide multiple benefits from an environmental, economic and social equity perspective, and would potentially be creditable toward meeting GHG reduction targets for SANDAG and other MPOs.  In addition, multiple-benefit projects and programs can often qualify for funding from sources other than the traditional transportation-related sources.
  2. Multi-jurisdictional plans, projects and programs. This would include not only major multi-modal transportation infrastructure such as “managed lanes” (which can often be financially supported by several different public agencies), but also transportation projects and programs that directly serve major public facilities, such as universities, airports, and port facilities.
  3. A commitment to expedite the implementation of SB 743 within the San Diego region. Under this law, which was enacted in 2013, local governments and other public agencies will evaluate vehicle travel associated with new development as part of the project’s environmental review, and, if the impact is significant, mitigate those impacts through vehicle travel-reducing measures, which will support achievement of SB 375 goals. The 2019 RTP / SCS should include a firm commitment by SANDAG to ensure proper implementation of this law in the San Diego region.

We encourage all our members to become informed on these issues and ideas, and to speak out during this important regional planning effort.  Also, if you have suggestions for how STAY COOL can be an effective voice for strong regional leadership in the fight against global warming, or if you wish to help, please let us know.  Our kids and grandkids will thank you!

STAY COOL on “Save Our Countryside” Initiative

The Safeguard Our San Diego (SOS) Countryside Initiative prevents large-scale developments from going forward in rural, back-country locations without first getting voter approval. The STAY COOL for Grandkids (SC4G) Advisory Committee unanimously endorses this and encourages our members to learn more about it, consider signing the petition to ensure it gets on the ballot, and perhaps contribute financially or with your time to gather more signatures.

This initiative protects the existing approved General Plan for rural San Diego County, a plan which meets all projected housing needs of the unincorporated county and has broad community support. It only affects land in the unincorporated areas of the County; it has no effect in our local cities, some of which already have similar ordinances to empower their citizens.

For more information about “Save our Countryside” check https://saveoursdcountryside.org/ or to find locations to sign a petition or help to gather signatures, please check here.

Summary of our August 5 Climate Walk at Cabrillo

Thank you to the 30 attendees who joined us on Saturday August 5, 2017 at the Cabrillo National Monument for our special Ranger-led Climate Walk hosted by ecologist Alexandria “Alex” Warneke. Alex is also the Science Outreach Coordinator for the Cabrillo National Monument and is an active leader with the Climate Science Alliance – South Coast, where she guides the innovative community outreach programs.

Alex shared her first-hand insights about climate change impacts on the biodiverse 160 acres that make up Cabrillo National Monument. She explained about the important native plant species, and the animals that depend on these natural habitats. She challenged our group to think about: what happens when these plants experience drought? How about the mammals and reptiles that live in this habitat: considering the area is isolated (surrounded by water on three sides and a Navy base on the other) where can they go if they can’t find enough food or water? How about slow moving and vulnerable marine life: will they be able to adapt quickly enough to the changing ocean temperatures, sea level rise or acidification?

Among the many important animals here, there are foxes, bats, lizards, birds and diverse marine life. There are two pairs of nesting peregrine falcons and recently four chicks were born. A success story: after being gone from the park for a hundred years, the local California Gnat Catcher made a comeback just three years ago. Did you know, there are five biologists on staff at Cabrillo National Monument?

Alex and her team at Cabrillo also monitor and protect the rocky intertidal zone commonly known as the tide pools. Cabrillo is a great place to spot migrating grey whales or view California sea lions. There is a NPS monitoring station, tracking ocean pH levels and water temperatures. Alex shared with the group the impacts that our oceans will experience from climate change, discussing sea level rise and ocean acidification. Tip: if you want to visit the tide pools, plan your trip in the winter when the daytime tides can be low enough (-.7’) for viewing.

Thank you to Alex for her dedication to climate change science and for her unique ability to explain complex concepts in a simple, non-scary way all while making it fun for the kids. Click here to learn more about the Cabrillo Education Climate Kids program that teaches school children about ocean acidification. Questions for Alex? She can be reached at Alexandria_warneke@nps.gov.

STAY COOL Shows Support for Assembly Joint Resolution 9, The March for Science

STAY COOL is sending this letter in support of California’s State Assembly and the March for Science Assembly Joint Resolution today:

April 13, 2017

To: The Honorable Cristina Garcia
Chair, Natural Resources Committee
California State Assembly

Re: Support for Assembly Joint Resolution 9, The March for Science 

Dear Assembly Member Cristina Garcia,

On behalf of STAY COOL for Grandkids, we are pleased to provide our strong support for Assembly Joint Resolution 9 (AJR 9), which affirms California’s commitment to scientific research, science education, and science-based policymaking.

STAY COOL for Grandkids is a membership organization of grandparents, elders and other citizens in the San Diego region dedicated to preserving a livable climate in the name of those too young to have voice: our future generations. Along with other partner organizations in our region, we advocate for meaningful action on climate change and support policies that will have a lasting effect by reducing emissions and securing our quality of life. We are writing today on behalf of the 245 San Diego County members of our organization.

We are alarmed by recent efforts of a non-scientific organization to send classroom materials disputing the scientific consensus of climate change to every public school science teacher in California and around the nation. One of STAY COOL’s premier programs is to bring graduate students from Scripps Institution of Oceanography into middle school classrooms to educate them on the science of climate change and its impacts here in San Diego.

We now must stand up for independent, rigorous scientific research and stand against those who would seek to discredit the scientific community. In doing so, we stand for the shared truths that enable our grandchildren’s future to be protected.

Sincerely,

Advisory Board Members of STAY COOL for Grandkids:

Robert A. Leiter, STAY COOL Chair and grandfather
Marty Eberhardt, Vice Chair and grandmother
David Engel, Founder and grandfather
Peg Engel, Founder and grandmother
Dennis Griffin, retired engineer and grandfather
Nicola Hedge, Director of Environmental Initiatives, The San Diego Foundation
Sue Randerson, retired teacher and grandmother
Laura Schumacher, Executive Board Member, San Diego Unified Council of PTAs
Dr. Emily Young, Executive Director for the Nonprofit and Philanthropic Institute (NPI),
University of San Diego

Voting for our Grandkids

Thanks to the antiquated Electoral College the popular vote did not match the voting result in the recent presidential election (Nor did the 2000 election for that matter).  This results in the US going in the wrong direction on fighting climate change at a time when aggressive action is needed.

But we have a more effective way to vote, that is more straight forward.  Voting with our dollars is a way to show our values and make a real difference.  Voting with our dollars can effectively give our Grandkids a vote and a voice in determining their future.

“We can personally take action that will benefit our grandkids. Voting with our dollars can start today with no delays.”

Consumer Dollars

We still have a choice when we spend our consumer dollars.  We can boycott companies and products that do not meet our values.

When purchasing a major item we need to consider the environment impact over the life of the product.

Also consider durable products that will last rather than throw-away products that are designed to be replaced in a relatively short period of time.

A vehicle purchase has an associated carbon footprint that is locked in for a decade or more.  Admittedly all vehicles have a carbon footprint associated with their production, however the variable is the carbon footprint associated with its operation.  An EV can have a useful life of several hundred thousand miles with a greatly reduced operational carbon footprint.  The total cost of ownership of an EV is significantly less than the cost of ownership of an equivalent internal combustion vehicle as well.

CCE (Community Choice Energy) although a great idea, is now hamstrung by the utilities’ ability to actively market against CCEs thanks to a recent decision by the CPUC. This action also lead to San Diego County’s recent decision to defer considering CCE to some future time.  Deferring action to the future is a threat to our Grandkid’s wellbeing.  But we already have an interim option to choose 100% clean energy. It is called Arcadia Power and you can choose clean power today using renewable energy credits.

The dollars we spend on groceries also have an influence on the environment that our grandkids will inherit.  Studies conclude that animal agriculture has a bigger negative impact on the environment than the transportation sector.

Investment Dollars

The theme of many environmental groups has been to divest from investments in fossil fuels.  If we are successful in reducing our use of fossil fuels those investment would prove to be financially bad investments.

Installing Residential Solar Panels can provide local clean renewable energy while yielding an effective return of 10% or more.  And it is good for the economy.

Impact Investment is a popular term for socially responsible investment.  It means investing in companies and products that are good for a sustainable environment.

Some examples are:

  • Solar Mosaic – Direct investment into small renewable energy projects
  • Wunder Capital – Invests in solar projects
  • Green Backer – Green bond fund
  • Open Energy – Innovative debt financing solutions and unique marketplace lending model opens the door to attractive investment opportunities.
  • Clean Capital – Solar project investing can be a safe and effective investment that provides predictable yield each year.
  • ETHO and SPYX  – Are index funds with No Oil Exposure.

We are starting to realize that waiting for government policy to become favorable for clean renewable energy takes so long that it is effectively inaction. Favorable energy policy may never happen considering the current political environment.

We can personally take action that will benefit our grandkids. Voting with our dollars can start today with no delays.

Article by STAY COOL member Dennis Griffin.  

County Supervisors’ Vote Wednesday Could Encourage More Renewable Energy

By Tyson Siegele, SanDiego350
Note: this article was first published on February 11, 2017 in East County Magazine

This coming Wednesday, February 15th, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors will vote on implementation for some or all of the San Diego County Comprehensive Renewable Energy Plan (CREP). Many of the steps outlined in the plan save the county money and promote a healthier environment, but one particular piece of the plan could do more to promote clean energy and lower costs than all the rest combined: Community Choice Energy (CCE).

CCE, also referred to as Community Choice Aggregation, is a program that gives consumers an additional choice in electricity provider. In the past, all power has been sourced by the local utility, in monopolistic fashion. This approach, of course, does not tend to produce the lowest costs. Under a CCE program, the local utility will have to compete with alternative energy electricity generation, and the consumer will be able to choose who supplies his power, thus breaking up the monopoly.

The cities/regions in California that have adopted CCE programs have seen reductions in the cost of electricity offered. Not only that, but consumers can choose between electricity packages that can range from 30% to as much as 100% renewable energy. In some cases, even the 100% greenhouse gas free option is cheaper than the standard utility offering. This is because, for the last few years, wind and solar have been the two cheapest forms of new electricity generation, even without subsidies. Better yet, wind and solar costs are still dropping.

The first step toward setting up a CCE for San Diego County is a feasibility study. This is what the county supervisors are voting on this coming Wednesday. To contact them regarding your opinion on whether CCE should move forward, call or write:

District 1 — Greg Cox — 619-531-5511, greg.cox@sdcounty.ca.gov

District 2 — Dianne Jacob, Chair — 619-531-5522, dianne.jacob@sdcounty.ca.gov

District 3 — Kristin Gaspar — 619-531-5533, kristin.gaspar@sdcounty.ca.gov

District 4 — Ron Roberts — 619-531-5544, ron-roberts@sdcounty.ca.gov

District 5 — Bill Horn — 619-531-5555, bill.horn@sdcounty.ca.gov

Thank you to Tyson Siegele from SanDiego350 for allowing STAY COOL to repost this article.

Tyson Siegele, a SanDiego350 member, is an architect who works to promote sustainable design and clean energy. Recently he created ButItJustMightWork.com, a residential clean energy handbook, to chronicle things to do as well as things to avoid on one’s path to zero emissions.

2016 in Review – a Message from STAY COOL’s Administrative Director

The year was a productive and inspiring one for me and for STAY COOL. In 2016 we exceeded 200 active elder members, with more than 120 of those attending one of the 6 events we hosted, or joining us on our educational hike, or participating in a march or tree-planting press event, or raising their voice on local climate change policies through letter writing or in-person testimony. I’m especially proud of the new programs we implemented that allow STAY COOL to connect with children – those members of the future generations we are working to protect.

Because of our partnership with the Water Conservation Garden, we developed “Ms. Smarty Plants™ Cools the Climate” – a presentation that more than a thousand schoolchildren saw this year after it launched at Balboa Park on Earth Day. The Garden expects to reach more than 50,000 children next year.

We worked with young students to create art with ocean climate messages and provided SIO graduate students with the art to bring to the Marrakesh climate change conference in November. Last year, we did the same and the U.S. State Department used the art in one of its negotiating sessions.

We strengthened our partnership with the Climate Science Alliance, and developed a science-based education program to teach 6th graders and older about climate change impacts on our ocean. Through this partnership, our outreach to public schools exposed more than 250 students to hands-on science experiments, personal stories from early career scientists and inspiring art projects.

Our youth programs are unlike any other program currently offered to students in our region…and we’ve seen those students gain the knowledge they need to become well-versed in climate change, while also providing motivation for them to become environmental stewards.

In 2016 we engaged more than 30 individual donors – a first for STAY COOL. We also were successful in attracting a Community Enhancement Grant from the County of San Diego. And in just a month, we have raised $4,000 to help continue our Youth Engagement programs in 2017.

In the coming year, we have a committed donor, whose funds will cover half our operating budget. These funds will support our elder climate education events, along with our important outreach and advocacy work. But we need to raise more than $21,000 to continue our innovative youth engagement programs.

Many of STAY COOL donors shared their reasons for contributing. They said they were donating because they “believe in this organization” and one said “doing my small part in helping to raise awareness of the climate crisis, and corrective action to counter where possible.” Many donors said they were donating to honor their children and grandchildren. And one said, “now more than ever this is the most important issue of our time.”

Thank you for your continued involvement with STAY COOL in 2016 and your personal commitment to help preserve a livable planet for our children and grandchildren. While 2017 will bring with it new challenges, there are many reasons to be optimistic about local action on climate change. As Dr. Somerville said at our December 8 event, “We are at a critical crossroads. We still have a chance of limiting climate change to a tolerable level, a level that offers some hope of successful adaptation. Our window of opportunity is still open.”

Thank you for all you do,

Sarah Benson
STAY COOL Administrative Director

In response to the Nov. 1 “Another reason to say no way to SANDAG’s Measure A” by the U-T Editorial Board

By David Engel, STAY COOL for Grandkids and Michael Beck, Endangered Habitats League

It’s high stakes election time and your mailbox is stuffed with conflicting ballot arguments. How should you vote on Measure A? The Union-Tribune has taken a “no way on A” position, largely based on a theory that self-driving cars are the future, reducing the need for public transit. That seems unlikely to us – public transit will remain critical to efficiently moving large numbers of people in the coming decades, regardless of such futuristic fantasies. Here’s why two of San Diego’s leading climate and conservation groups ask you to vote “yes.”

Climate change: Measure A would fund the most effective transportation plan in California to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG), significantly exceeding state reduction targets for 2020 and 2035. Yes, that’s right! It would place us in the number one spot among the 15 regional transportation planning agencies in California in reducing polluting and global warming GHGs. How does it do that?

First, it commits $7.5 billion, nearly 42% of the funds raised, for public transit. You may have heard that Measure A is a “more freeways, one-person car centric” plan. Not true. While substantial funds will keep local streets and roads repaired, only 3.4% of the measure will be spent on freeways. By any measure this is a big shift towards getting people out of their cars and into public transit. The central project of Measure A is a new $4.4 billion trolley line from San Ysidro to Kearny Mesa. This will be a huge help getting South County residents to job centers, and relieve the nightmare I-805 commute.

Bus, trolley and train service will be expanded with nearly $798 million committed. This will mean more frequent buses and trolleys on high-demand routes as well as new rapid bus routes, making bus and trolley travel more accessible and convenient. Measure A also adds new train stops at Camp Pendleton and Del Mar Fairgrounds, and new bus rapid transit lanes connecting county-wide workers to jobs. And having local money available for transit means San Diego will be eligible (and competitive) for Federal matching funds.

Active Transportation: $540 million will be invested in bike and pedestrian improvements including bike lanes, sidewalks, crosswalks, and underpasses that separate trains and trolleys from bike and pedestrian crossings. These improvements not only provide options to get around your neighborhood but invest in the essential neighborhood system connectors within the overall transportation system. And they reduce GHG pollution.

Wildlife Conservation: Measure A would provide $2 billion in funding for science-based open space and wildlife conservation for the region. This funding is desperately needed right now to protect over 100 threatened plants and animals and their habitats in the San Diego region. Among the species in dire need of this funding are golden eagle, quino checkerspot butterfly, coastal cactus wren, and western pond turtle.

Simply put, a “no” vote on Measure A guarantees more traffic congestion and growing global warming pollution for you, your children and your grandkids. It also means less open space, less wildlife habitat and fewer wildlife species for you and all future generations to enjoy. Quality of life in San Diego County will take a devastating hit.

A “yes” vote on Measure A quantifiably ensures a ‘best in the state’ reduction in climate change impacts, creates urgently needed new and improved public transit, and literally, unprecedented wildlife conservation funding. These are the progressive, environmental, verifiable facts – not just our opinion or futuristic speculation.

We urge you to make the right choice on Measure A and support a cooler, cleaner and happier future for your children and grandkids. Climate change and wildlife species extinction is happening now. We do not have time to waste, and may never get another chance to take this giant step forward.