The STAY COOL Advisory Council has identified the following climate change policy issues as strategic priorities for our educational and outreach activities
Regional Transportation Plan
Transportation issues are a primary concern for our region since more than 45 percent of CO2 emissions in San Diego are from cars and trucks. STAY COOL members are engaged with other climate policy advocacy groups, such as Climate Action Campaign, to identify and support ways we can effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. We are also encouraging local governments and other public agencies to include strong transportation policies and actions in their Climate Action Plans. These policies and actions aim to reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled and encourage use of transportation modes that do not rely on fossil fuels.
STAY COOL is addressing the future climate-related risks to our region that are highlighted in the San Diego Region Report which was published in 2018 in conjunction with “California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment.” The major risks identified for our region include increased frequency and severity of wildfires, along with associated floods and mudslides. We are also addressing the impacts of sea level rise on coastal resources. We support plans and actions that will make our region more resilient to these future risks, while at the same time reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
Climate Action Plans
STAY COOL believes the key to regional climate change mitigation and adaptation is action at the local level. Many local governments and public agencies in the San Diego region have developed and adopted Climate Action Plans (CAPs) – comprehensive roadmaps that outline specific, measurable and attainable activities that a jurisdiction will undertake to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
2019 Update: All cities, with the exception of Poway, have an approved Climate Action Plan, but the quality of those plans and the degree of success in implementing those plans vary significantly. In concert with other local nonprofits, STAY COOL often provides public testimony at the County Board of Supervisor meetings and various city council meetings,as well as drafting letters to the editor. The current focus is on the County of San Diego and on the City of Poway.
Health Impacts from Climate Change
A majority of Americans think global warming is bad for health, but they don’t know why. STAY COOL is focusing on reaching San Diego health care professionals and universities with nursing and medical schools. The question we are asking is whether health impacts from climate change are specifically addressed. Our premise is that climate-science informed physicians and nurses (“trusted voices”) will in turn inform their patients and be able to accurately answer questions their patients pose to them about climate change. We are also reaching out to the San Diego/ Imperial County Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Community Choice Energy (CCE)
CCE studies are underway in a number of our local cities and within the unincorporated area of the county. Much is still needed to complete and approve plans in order to meet a State deadline of December 31, 2019. Stay Cool is advocates for CCE and the opportunity it brings for cleaner energy from renewable sources, and is recommending a regional approach, rather than a piecemeal “city-by-city” plan. Members continue to advocate support to elected officials, in Letters to the Editor, and by offering educational forums to facilitate a better understanding about the pros and cons of CCE.
Open Space and Environmental Preservation
STAY COOL believes that connecting, protecting and increasing access to open space is an effective strategy for climate change adaptation. Not only can access to the outdoors help improve quality of life and personal well-being, preservation of open space brings economic and environmental benefits. Natural spaces offer important environmental benefits – such as helping with storm water runoff, filtering air and water pollution, and providing habitat for our region’s rich biodiversity – and will play an important role in adapting to our warming planet.
NOTE: STAY COOL has developed a community presentation to highlight the importance of open space and green infrastructure. Contact us to request a presentation at your community group or meeting.
Sea Level Rise
Among the expected global warming impacts, perhaps none poses a greater risk than sea level 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. STAY COOL supports actions that take into account our region’s vulnerabilities and advance strategies that build our resilience to rising seas.
Youth Education and Intergenerational Forums
Ocean Climate Science Youth Education Program – in 2017 STAY COOL created climate lessons and hands-on science experiments to teach the science of ocean warming and ocean acidification. They are taught by UCSD-SIO grad students with assistance from STAY COOL volunteers, and the lessons are most appropriate for 6th grade classes. To date, we have taught the lessons to more than 2,500 students in elementary, middle and high schools throughout San Diego County.
Intergenerational Outreach – STAY COOL is establishing a dialogue between “Boomers”, “Millennials” and others to provide an opportunity to more fully understand the concerns many feel about the future in a changing climate. As we share our various perspectives, we may also be able to galvanize a partnership that reaches a broader audience. Outcomes of this effort include forums on climate-related issues and stronger advocacy.
STAY COOL for Grandkids is fiscally sponsored by the San Diego Audubon Society. We are grateful for their partnership and support.
Additional Collaborators and Relevant Organizations:
SD350.org – San Diego Chapter
Center for Sustainable Energy
Citizens’ Climate Lobby
Climate Science Alliance – South Coast
Elders Climate Action
Environmental Health Coalition
Equinox Project at USD
League of Women Voters – San Diego Chapter
The San Diego Foundation – Focus 2050 Report “San Diego, 2050 Is Calling. HOW WILL WE ANSWER?”
San Diego Habitat Conservancy
Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego
Sierra Club, San Diego Chapter
The Water Conservation Garden