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From Mitzvah Moments to Mitzvah Mountaineers, by way of The Climate Center and Sonoma Clean Power

 In June 2008, I wrote my first Mitzvah Moments column for the Gazette. I wanted a way to make a difference about the environment, for which I had always had a love and a deep concern. Soon I am going to walk my talk. More about that later.

Recently, my good friend Barbara Oldershaw introduced me to local organizations that are making a huge difference, especially The Climate Center, and Sonoma Clean Power. Going to their events, learning more about them, and starting to speak; up for them, both in my writing for the Gazette and publicly were new ways for me make a difference.

The Climate Center, founded in 2001, creates model programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for communities everywhere and has set a number of national precedents in developing local governmental response to the climate crisis. Most recently they helped launch Sonoma Clean Power, which “went live” on May 1st, offering customers in Sonoma County the option to have cleaner, more renewable electricity.

Sonoma Clean Power is California’s second Community Choice energy program. Marin Clean Energy, launched in 2010, is California’s first Community Choice program; others are forming all over California.

Sonoma Clean Power offers a significantly cleaner power mix at lower rates – what’s to complain about? SCP also offers customers the choice of 100% renewable power for a small extra charge. Those who did not yet get an enrollment notice can sign up anytime for EverGreen.

Assembly Bill 2145 threatens the success of future Community Choice programs. AB 2145 changes the rules to in such a way that it makes it impossible to launch a program that will have any impact on greenhouse gas emissions. If AB 2145 becomes law, it will pretty much end this wonderful opportunity for us all to have more renewable energy, while reducing climate change. Sign a petition against AB 2145 at http://www.climatecurious.us/petitionoppose-ab-2145/.

The National Climate Assessment, “Climate Change Impacts in the United States,” the work of more than 200 climate scientists, published May 5th, documents stark climate changes in the last decade. Here in the West, we’ve seen dwindling snowpacks, tree die-offs, ocean acidification, lower crop yields, and more frequent and intense floods, droughts, and wildfires. All are the result of rising temperatures due to increasing carbon emissions. The threat isn’t distant—it’s here now! And it’s time to act! It’s great to change a light bulb—please keep doing so–but we may also need to change a law or a legislator—especially a climate denier.

So, how does this all lead to Mitzvah Mountaineers? Last fall, in a The Climate Center email, I read about Climate Hike 2014 this August in Glacier National Park to raise awareness about climate change. I asked my friend Barbara to join me; with her 21-year old daughter, Laurel, we became the Mitzvah Mountaineers, hiking across Glacier with 27 other people. So, now I am not just writing about this, “I am walking my talk,” quite literally! Learn more about us at www.Facebook/MitzvahMountaineers and click on the link to support us—we’re hiking to benefit The Climate Center.

by Tish Levee