For most of Earth’s history, our atmosphere has had an average of 275 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2 acts like a blanket to trap heat from the sun. The more CO2, the thicker the blanket. According to our nation’s leading climate scientists, including NASA’s Dr. James Hansen, 350 ppm is the maximum amount of CO2 in our atmosphere “to continue civilization as we have known it.”
About 300 years ago, humans started burning fossil fuels like coal and whale oil and the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere started to rise on an increasingly more rapid basis. Unfortunately, our planet’s atmosphere has already leaped past the 350 ppm mark and, today, CO2 levels exceed 400 ppm, increasing by 2 ppm every year.
Our increased concentrations of CO2 have also increased our global temperatures and with those record temperatures have come a whole host of serious problems – from California’s current record drought, to extreme weather around the globe, to melting glaciers from the top to the bottom of the planet driving increased sea levels. That sea level rise now endangers the very existence of ports and coastal communities – and in the case of the Pacific Island nations of Kirabati, Tuvalu, and the Maldives, entire countries.
Responding to this man-made global climate crisis was Bill McKibben and seven Middlebury college students, who in 2008 launched a grassroots movement to raise public awareness of the scientific facts and end the use of fossil fuels. From these simple beginnings, the group – naming itself after the C02 science “350.org” — has now grown into an internationally influential environmental action group with hundreds of thousands of supporters in local groups across the world.
Locally, the South Bay/Los Angeles 350 Climate Action Group became the first California 350 chapter in 2009. Today South Bay Los Angeles 350 proudly stands with the frontline Los Angeles Harbor and industrial communities. The residents of our neighborhoods breathe some of the worst air quality in the USA and suffer corresponding health impacts, including dramatically increased rates of asthma in our children.
The recent major explosion at the Exxon Mobil refinery that showered parts of Torrance and Redondo Beach with catalyst dust was ruled a “near miss” catastrophe by the Chemical Safety Board. The currently unfolding environmental disaster in Porter Ranch is spewing millions of gallons of climate killing methane into our atmosphere while sickening the residents and driving them from their homes and schools. These are just the latest ugly reminders of the dangers posed to us and our families by the 6 local refineries in our communities as well as the Rancho LPG storage facility which houses up to 25 million gallons of highly explosive butane.
South Bay Los Angeles 350 is united with 350.org to create a rapid and Just Transition from fossil fuels to 100% clean, green, renewable energy with job retraining and employment for current workers in the oil, gas and coal industries.
If you are interested in helping us create the new green economy with good-paying local jobs, then please join us on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 at the Peck Park Auditorium, located at 560 N. Western Avenue, in San Pedro from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Join us in the struggle!
The UN Climate Summit will take place this year in Paris, starting on November 30, 2015 and ending on December 11th. On December 12, 2015, South Bay 350 Climate Action Group will be hosting three events, as part of a worldwide effort to send a unified message: there are some things that we as environmental activists can not and will not compromise. These are our climate RED LINES. We demand that it is time to keep 80% of fossil fuels in the ground and ensure a just transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050. In other words, it is time to “Turn Off” our dependence on dirty, dangerous energy like coal, oil and gas and “Turn On” to renewable energy, like rooftop solar, wind farms and energy conservation.
The South Bay and Harbor are front line communities. We are home to 6 oil refineries, the 3rd largest oil field in the U.S. (Wilmington) and the largest port in the world. We have some of the worst air quality in the world. Some of our schools near the Ports and the refineries have asthma rates as high as 25%. Therefore, South Bay 350 Climate Action Group has decided to have several smaller actions which will target local fossil fuel polluters.
Our first event of the day will take place in Palos Verdes from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. We will gather at the ARCO Station located at 27301 Hawthorne Blvd., Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274. This is a busy intersection (Hawthorne and Silver Spur.) Participants will use red ribbons and signs at the gas station on the corner to create a “Red Line” event. This event will be supported by Occupy PV and Environmental Priorities Network.
Facebook link to event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1052432248141118/
We will then move to Torrance for our next event which will take place at Sur La Brea Park (Sur La Brea Tank Farm), 23610 Cabrillo Avenue, Torrance, CA. We will gather from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Sur La Brea is a large family park visited by local families and in a residential neighborhood. There is an oil tank farm and active oil wells in the corner of the park, literally steps from the playground and soccer field. We will be rallying at the park and using red ribbons and red chalk to “draw a red line” as a symbol that we must keep these kinds of facilities out of our neighborhoods. This event will include some special “visits” as part of street theater.
Facebook Link to Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/487550564752363/
Our final event will take place from 2:30 p.m to 4:00 p.m. at the Rancho LPG Facility, located at 2110 N Gaffey St., Wilmington, CA 90744. This facility houses 2 tanks with up to 25 million gallons of butane plus over 100,000 gallons plus of propane. The facility is located on Gaffey Street, next to the AYSO soccer field (Field of Dreams) and across from commercial shopping centers with Target, Home Depot. It is also near many residences as well as several schools. The residents of San Pedro and Rancho Palos Verdes have fought these tanks for years; first from being installed, and later, to have them moved away from such highly populated areas. The “best case” scenario is that the butane tanks have a blast radius of 1/4 mile. The more realistic assessment is that the blast radius is several miles. These are considered “soft targets” by Homeland Security and remain within steps of homes where tens of thousands of people live, work and shop. We will stand together and “draw a line” that such types of facilities have no business being placed in residential communities. Our event will include some brief speakers, chants and street art and theater.
Facebook event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/178612692486220/
Hope to see you on December 12th at one, two or three of these special events!!
On Thursday morning of last week, with just four days left of their summer vacation, West High School Seniors, Maddy Gilmartin and Jesse Padilla, joined South Bay 350 Climate Action Group Organizer, Joe Galliani, to sit down with their 66th Assembly District representative, David Hadley’s staff members, and talk about the most significant climate legislation ever offered by a state. Jesse, Joe and Maddy have a sense of urgency about responding to climate change.
Maddy and Jesse were attending their very first meeting at an elected representative’s office and this was their first time volunteering to help get bills they believed in passed. They knew that Assemblymember Hadley is a Republican, is considered unlikely to vote for the bills and generally supports the Western States Petroleum Association pro-fossil fuel positions. But they had done their research and were prepared to hold their own. And that they did in a one-hour long, cordial discussion with Hadley staffers, Sarah and Brandon.
There is only one national holiday in the United States that celebrates the accomplishments of the American worker: Labor Day. For the last 35 years, the community of Wilmington, CA (a neighborhood in the City of Los Angeles which is located adjacent to the Port of Los Angeles) has held an annual Labor Day Parade in which thousands of working men and women and their families have marched together, in unity to celebrate those who physically built this country and who keep it running. South Bay 350 Climate Action Group is proud to join that Parade on Monday, September 7, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. at Avenue E and Broad Street in Wilmington.
The Parade route starts on “E” Street and Broad Street and then heads north on Avalon Blvd., then west on “M” Street and ends at the grounds of the iconic Banning Park, once the home to Phineas Banning, known as the “Father of the Port of Los Angeles.” The parade route takes about an hour to march and is followed by a picnic with tons of free food, a program with speakers, and lots of community booths with information. This is truly a family event and attended by thousands. It is organized every year by the Los Angeles Long Beach Harbor Labor Coalition.
Big thanks to the Bernie Sanders for President campaign for sharing their video team’s footage of our Organizer, Joe Galliani’s powerful remarks on climate at Sander’s August 10 rally at the Los Angeles Sports arena which drew 27,500.
(photo by Joy Cernac)
On Monday night, at the Los Angeles Sport Arena, South Bay 350 Climate Action Group Organizer, Joe Galliani, kicked off the event with these remarks captured by Port of Los Angeles High School superstar teacher, Rachel Bruhnke:
But there’s no need for you to brave a crowd of 27,500 in downtown Los Angeles this Wednesday night, when you can hear Joe and the other leaders of the South Bay/Harbor Area 350 Climate Action Group at our first public meeting of 2015! If you’re ready to take climate action and change the course of history, join us!
Hear from San Pedro labor legend, Diane Middleton, about her work on the Just Transition of workers from dirty energy jobs to clean energy jobs as we build a new clean energy economy. South Bay 350’s Sherry Lear will be talking about Labor Day action and the latest on 350’s climate action campaigns and opportunities for you to join us.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
7:00 pm – Port of Los Angeles High School – 250 W. 5th Street, San Pedro, CA 90731. (Click on the logo below for the Google map).