The Dirty Weather Report is a twenty-four-hour online Climate Reality Project, and highlights how the extreme weather experienced the last few years is connected to global climate change. This first in a series of San Diego “Climate Chats”, organized by SanDiego350.org, mixed local activists, several short videos from Climate Reality, snacks and drinks in a highly charged brew of lively discussion and calls for action on “dirty weather.”
Nearly thirty activists gathered in a side room at Twiggs Café on Park Avenue at 7 pm Friday night, November 16. Following introductions and some brief team-building exercises, the first video depicted the San Francisco suburban town of Foster City. This upscale community (average home sales price in 2009 was just over $1 million) was constructed in the 1960s on an island just south of San Mateo, and across the Bay from Hayward. This city is home to over 30,000 residents, including many of the T. Jack Foster clan, the original land owner and builder. Many of his descendants appeared in the video, created to illustrate the large number of people living at sea-level on San Francisco Bay and raising questions about what the rising sea levels cause by global climate change might do to their homes. (No mention was made in the video of the existing engineering system built to handle flooding there.)
Masada Disenhouse of La Mesa, a leader of SanDiego350.org who formerly lived on Staten Island, offered, “This is the first hurricane to hit the city of New York – some have grazed Long Island, yes, but not the city… most of the people living on Staten Island are working class people. To save up, your whole life, to buy a home and then to hear that you live in a flood zone and it may not be rebuilt… “. She continued that she thought that something like this would happen before enough attention would be paid, but regardless, “all these people are suffering.”
John Adams, who along with Mark Pulis organized this climate chat, continued to solicit comments and then moved the group in a virtual way to Australia via the next video featuring former Vice-President Al Gore, Chairman of the Climate Reality Project, Don Henry, CEO of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Dr. David Karoly, Professor of Meteorology at the University of Melbourne and Fiona Armstrong, Founder of Climate and Health Alliance. They spoke of “people power” and how the fears of Australia’s groundbreaking legislation – a national Carbon Tax – ruining that nation’s economy have proved to be totally unfounded. Discussion topics after the film included California’s AB 32, its implementation of a carbon tax and an alternative, Carbon Fee and Dividend. Another attendee, a member of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby pointed others to that organization’s web site for additional information on Fee and Dividend.
SanDiego350.org holds an organizational and planning meeting once a month, usually on the third Tuesday, alternating at a variety of locations around San Diego County.