STAY COOL Update / Elders Can Help Bring Climate Change Education to Our Schools

STAY COOL has been reaching out to elders on climate change action for more than three years now, so we thought it would be a good time to summarize our mission and also share an update about our exciting new program focus on youth engagement.

STAY COOL’s mission is to speak for those too young to have a voice regarding climate policies: our children and grandchildren.  We create action on climate change issues in the San Diego region through four areas of focus:

  • Empower grandparents and grandchildren to be passionate and informed voices on global warming;
  • Engage members in educational events about a climate action topic, then convert interested elders into “take action” participants;
  • Activate our base to provide policymakers and elected officials with credible support on climate issues and practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Connect the collective wisdom of elders with San Diego’s youth through environmental education programs.

This final approach – that is, connecting the wisdom of our members with youth on climate change education – is a new endeavor for us.  Science Magazine recently reported a study showing that, although most U.S. science teachers include climate science in their courses, they do not have a deep understanding of the issues, and most students only receive about 1 to 2 hours a year on climate science education.

As we have reported in the past, STAY COOL has partnered with the Water Conservation Smarty-PlantsGarden and their “Ms. Smarty-Plants” character to create an entertaining and educational climate action presentation targeting elementary age children. This program will launch with an event at EarthFair in Balboa Park on April 17. We have a goal to find funding to take the program to schools in 2016-2017.

Last fall, we worked with graduate students at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) to take children’s artwork to COP 21 (the UN’s Climate Change Conference in Paris). We were inspired not only by the masterpieces from the kids, but also by the leadership talents of SIO graduate students. We believe their passion and knowledge about our oceans could provide SIO Students with Artworktremendous inspiration and guidance to younger students.  As a result, we are working to develop a pilot project with SIO graduate students to present ocean climate science to public middle school science classes.

Finally, we have recently partnered with Climate Science Alliance’s Climate Kids to support climate education outreach in Del Mar & Carlsbad elementary schools.

Are you passionate about bringing more climate science to schools? Do you know of a school (elementary or middle) that may be a good candidate for a pilot program? Our outreach efforts will need the support of our members to be successful.  Please get involved! Email: sarah@staycool4grandkids.org.

Help Move San Diego Forward – Now is Your Chance to Weigh in on SANDAG’s Regional Plan

Beginning tonight, SANDAG is holding seven evening workshops to present a draft of San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan. The purpose is to share the plan with the public and receive public comments. View the schedule here.

San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan outlines the strategy for transportation planning workshopsand funding, so it plays an important role in how our regional will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

It is important at this stage in the Regional Plan draft that SANDAG receives and records comments from the public as to the shortfalls of the plan. Please plan to attend the workshop in your neighborhood. It would help if you arrive early, talk to others about your concerns and be a bit vocal. Please pass this email on to others who may be able to attend.

Below are suggested key messages:

  • As a grandparent, I am concerned about future plans for transportation in our region. Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emission and with smart planning, we can significantly reduce emissions caused by transportation in the coming years.
  • SANDAG has the ability to save our region money, protect our environment and improve quality of life for future generations if we reallocate our TransNet Transportation Tax funds from freeway expansion to early-stage transit development. Please consider incorporating a “transit first” alternative that doesn’t include any future freeway expansion and instead focuses investments on transit, bike and walk infrastructure.
  • The plan points out that we need to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) from current levels by significant percentages if we are to meet our greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2020, 2035 and 2050. Instead of increasing the number of freeway lanes (that will cost billions of dollars), please first consider using our existing lanes for the Bus Rapid Transit lines and managed lanes.
  • Emissions from transportation affects the health of our most vulnerable populations, especially children and the elderly. Recently an appellate court ruled that the last Regional Transportation Plan needed to include health impact assessments for expanding our freeway system and the State Supreme Court said it would not review this issue, essentially letting the ruling stand. Please ensure the next regional plan includes assessments and data on how many more asthma and cancer cases will result from the expansion of freeways.

If you can’t attend a workshop, submit a comment here.

And thank you, to our STAY COOL members, for all you do to help create a cooler future for our grandkids!

Help Save the Earth at the STAY COOL 2015 Earth Day Booth

We need STAY COOL members to volunteer at the Balboa Park Earth Day Festival on Sunday April 19. We have a STAY COOL booth (number 262) located in a great spot right next to the League of Women Voters. This event attracts thousands of earth-friendly attendees, but we need your help to actively engage attendees at our booth.

Your time in the booth will be fun! We are offering a milkweed (butterfly weed) earth-day-Balboa-parkplanting activity for the kids, so come prepared to get your hands dirty. We will take the opportunity to talk to their parents and grandparents about Climate Action Plan progress in our region. We also hope to recruit some new STAY COOL members.

Morning volunteers (8-11AM) will help set up and manage early booth activities. Mid-day volunteers (11AM-3PM) will help at the booth when the larger crowds arrive. Late afternoon volunteers (3-6PM) will help with final activities and clean-up). No experience is needed, just a willingness to help. Plus, you will get a free STAY COOL T-shirt for volunteering.

Sign up to volunteer here.

Sea Level Rise in San Diego – What Should We Expect and What Can We Do About It?

Among the expected global warming impacts, perhaps none poses a greater risk than sea SLR_SeacoastDr_SergeDedinalevel rise (SLR) to San Diego’s unique coastlines, our biological diversity and our economic vitality. This century, elevation of average sea level could change by as much as five feet, putting our community infrastructures, ecosystems and economies at risk.

At two events in the coming weeks, we will give STAY COOL members a chance to learn more about SLR, what it means for our community, our economy and our environment. Our first event on Feb. 19 will occur on the morning of a “King Tide” in La Jolla and attendees will be granted access to the SIO pier. Our second educational event will be in Del Mar on March 4 (see below for details about these events).

The San Diego region faces many threats from a rising ocean.  While we believe that it is Marine Room King Tidecritical that we reducing greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, we also recognized that the seas are already rising and this trend is expected to intensify.   STAY COOL supports actions that will take into account our region’s vulnerabilities and will help advance strategies that build our resilience to rising seas. So, what can we do as individuals? How can we help our leaders consider sea level rise and climate change resiliency in their long range plans? What is already being done in our community to plan for these challenges?

To learn more about this issue and to answer these questions, please save the date for these upcoming Sea Level Rise STAY COOL events:

Thursday, February 19, 2015, 8:30-10 a.m. at La Jolla Shores – King Tides beach walk and SIO pier tour. We will park and meet at La Jolla Shores (at 8:30 am) to observe the high “king tide” as we walk to the Scripps Pier. (Bring your beach walking shoes!) Extreme high tides, or “king tides”, occur at a few specific times during the year when the moon is closest to the Earth (at 8:57 am on Feb. 19). During these high water events, we can see what the average water levels might look like in the future. During our walk we will also take photos for The King Tides Project. At 9 am we will meet SIO researchers for a private guided tour and discussion about Sea Level Rise. Space is limited, so email sarah@staycool4grandkids.org to reserve your space.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015, 5:30-7:30 p.m. in Del Mar – STAY COOL Member Meeting on Sea Level Rise featuring Dr. Reinhard (Ron) Flick from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Hear about Dr. Flick’s research on sea level rise in Southern California and his work on the Ross Ice Shelf Vibrations project. We’ll also feature a guest speaker on how rising seas will impact operations and infrastructure in the San Diego region. Plus, attendees will learn how they can get more involved in tracking sea level rise and influencing our policy makers.

Our events are always free. Contact Sarah Benson, Administrative Director, at sarah@staycool4grandkids.org to RSVP and for more details about upcoming events.