By Andra Belknap, Let's Green CA! Communications Director
As communications director, I spend a lot of time reviewing the news. And I’ll be honest: it can be tough.
I was born in California, and it’s painful to realize that the California I grew up in will not be the environment I grow old in. And still, there is reason for hope. As we wrap up an exciting (and difficult) year, I asked each of my Let’s Green CA! teammates to share what gave them hope for the future in 2021.
Personally, I take hope and inspiration from our organization’s history. Our co-founders, Danny Sheehan and Sara Nelson, met in the late ‘70s, when they worked together to win justice for the family of Karen Silkwood, a nuclear safety whistleblower who was run off the road and killed while she was on her way to share information with a New York Times reporter. That landmark suit effectively ended the construction of all new nuclear power plants in the United States. Danny, a Harvard-educated constitutional lawyer, was also key in defending the right of news organizations to publish the Pentagon Papers ,which accelerated an end to the war in Vietnam, and he prosecuted the U.S. Government officials who were involved in the Iran-Contra scandal.
Here’s the bottom line: this team has made history before, and we’re prepared to do it again. That’s hope in action.
What Gave Us Hope in 2021…
Leslie Austin, Climate Action Organizer, Let’s Green CA!
“Recently, our Let’s Green CA! team, in partnership with Ecology Action, held an Electric Vehicle (EV) Display Car Show. Seeing people in rural San Benito County stop by to check out the new EVs, and then hang around to learn more about the benefits gave me so much hope. It’s encouraging to see people get excited about EVs when they find out they are cleaner, quieter, accelerate faster, and cost less to maintain. Plus, it's less expensive to charge at home than to fill up their gas tank. And the best part of all? They reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and improve air quality and our health. There are a lot of things to like about an all-electric future, and electric vehicles (EVs) are definitely one of them!"
Benjamin Eichert, Let’s Green CA! Director
“In 2021, local communities continued to lead the way on climate change, especially here on the Central Coast. Early in the year, Let’s Green CA! hosted a virtual summit to equip city and county leaders with tools to enact bold climate action plans. Scores of government staff and elected officials joined us at that summit. More importantly, Central Coast communities pressed ahead with bold action: Watsonville committed to carbon neutrality by 2030, Monterey County engaged hundreds of stakeholders in its climate planning, and the City of Santa Cruz is poised to build on its leadership with a new commitment to carbon neutrality. Change grows from the grassroots up, and that inspires me everyday.”
Heidi Harmon, Let’s Green CA! Director of Public Affairs
“It was uplifting and deeply inspiring to join with Dolores Huerta, Danny Sheehan, and Sara Nelson to launch our Electrify CA! legislation. It’s an honor to be part of the solutions to the climate crisis, and to work alongside such distinguished colleagues. For me, our legislative campaign provides active hope for climate action in the coming year.”
Eric Veium, Chair, SLO Climate Coalition and Let’s Green CA! Partner
“What gave me hope this year are the relationships we are building with new friends in the labor and environmental justice movements. Together, we are fighting to make sure that clean energy projects are beneficial and equitable for workers and communities. I see the possibility in the year ahead to grow those relationships and work together in common cause to help California lead the world on climate action.”