We’re getting warmer
Climate crisis has locals organizing for 10/10/10
It’s pretty overwhelming to think about reducing humanity’s carbon footprint when all most of us really want is to get to work on time and make it home with a few groceries for dinner. No matter how much we care about the environment, there’s a sneaking suspicion that one more car trip and one more industrially produced but quick meal won’t make that big a difference.
And it’s precisely that kind of thinking that local organizers of 10/10/10 work events are hoping to change. Dubbed a “day to celebrate climate solutions,” organizers plan to host what amounts to a global demonstration of how practical actions can cut carbon use and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions that lead to global warming.
In Sacramento, 10/10/10 organizer Laurie Litman agrees. “It’s about putting your money where your mouth is,” she told SN&R.
“We’re modeling what we believe,” said Lynne Nittler, the co-chairwoman of the 10/10/10 event committee in Davis. “We’re having a zero-waste event.”
So far, a handful of Sacramento events have registered with 350.org and been in touch with Litman, but it’s more than enough to get excited about. There’s bicycle valet parking by the Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates at the grand opening of the Crocker Art Museum’s new wing, which will make it possible for people to ride their bikes to one of the biggest—and most awaited—cultural events of the year. And there are plans for at least one (possibly more) “100-mile potluck” in town, which will showcase and share food grown within a sustainable radius.
A self-described “river lover,” Litman is very excited about the event planned by Friends of the River Banks, a local group which organizes walks and activities along Sacramento’s waterways to encourage people to become comfortable with nature. “One of the effects of climate change is the change in the ecosystems,” she said, “so what they’re planning is some sort of work project to remove invasive species and plant native plants, to make the riverbanks healthier and more able to withstand the stresses of climate change.”
She’s also heard about plans—not finalized yet—for a group to work on repairing and rebuilding sidewalks to make the city more walkable, and another group is hoping to get unemployed construction workers lined up with people who need to have their homes insulated and weatherized.
And of course, she’s open to suggestions. In fact, it’s easy to post one’s own project on 350.org, and Sacramento has a Facebook page, 10-10-10 Work Party Sacramento, to keep track of projects and to network with other workers. “There’s just so much that can be done, from conservation to advocacy,” Litman said. “The whole point is to get out in front of our leaders and start doing all kinds of things on the ground to make the world better.”
In Davis, Nittler is getting ready for a big blowout, with the work day scheduled for Saturday (10/9/10), and 10/10/10 set aside to party. There’s a reason for that; the 10/10/10 event in Davis is a kind of debut for Cool Davis, the collaborative effort between city government and community organizers to meet the carbon emissions goals of Assembly Bill 32.
“It’s a little bit confusing, but very exciting,” Nittler said. The city of Davis “took A.B. 32 to heart, formed a citizen’s committee, and came up with a climate action and adaptability plan.” It’s the Cool Davis Initiative, and it’s being implemented by the Cool Davis Foundation, a collaboration of city and community groups. According to Nittler, some city staff devote time to Cool Davis, as well as supportive community groups and interested citizen members.
“The whole point is to reduce our greenhouse-gas emissions in Davis,” Nittler said. “Our goal is carbon neutral by 2050.”
But even though the foundation and its partners are up and running, the news hasn’t really gotten out yet. “They haven’t heard of Cool Davis,” Nittler says of most Davis residents. “So we deliberately chose to launch our introduction to Davis as part of our 10/10/10 event. We wanted that global energy—and it’s the same goal, of reducing carbon emissions.”
Although the day of action in Davis is on Saturday, October 9, there won’t be any shortage of projects for people to work on, all with the goal of reducing carbon emissions. And Sunday, October 10, is devoted to education and celebration, with theater, live music, food, displays and demonstrations.
“The play is called Mother Earth vs. World’s People,” said Nittler, who described it as a melodrama in which the audience serves as a jury to determine whether humans have caused enough damage to make the Earth uncomfortable.
“Among the witnesses called will be Melting Glacier, Rising Ocean and Mr. BP deGulf, a very current character, who was written in recently. He looks very frayed; it’s been a difficult summer for him.”
Performances by local songwriters, the band Tree-O, and the Davis High School Madrigals are scheduled throughout the day, as well as a children’s play. Nittler said that a number of other events and performances are still being scheduled.
Of course, new ideas for projects are welcome. The key is to look for things that need doing in order to make the community—or your own life—more carbon sustainable. As Litman pointed out, “We can’t wait—the world can’t wait—for our leaders to do things. We need to get to work ourselves.”
That can be, well, almost anything. “There are jobs on all different levels that would make the world a little bit safer for the climate,” Litman said. “There’s restoration of habitat, there’s retrofitting homes, there’s infrastructure jobs that need to be done. These things, whether it’s putting in double-paned windows or restoring a wetland, are necessary and useful.”
As one of the local 10/10/10 coordinators, Litman hopes that people will feel free to “come up with their own plans and actions and post them.”
“We hope there will be lots of things for people to choose from, or to adapt for their own,” she said.
And remember that problem about getting to work on time and getting home with groceries? In Davis, local bike shops will be demonstrating how to outfit bicycles to make that possible.
“We think a hurdle for people who want to do things on a bike instead of driving is that they’re not quite prepared,” Nittler said. “They need to see what to do if it rains, or if they need to bring home packages, and the bike needs to be ready for those things.” To that end, the bike shops will display bicycles outfitted for everyday use, “so that people can see how it is done.”