Surely you’ve heard the saying “Think globally, act locally.”
For months many of us wrote letters, sent texts and called prospective voters in Georgia and across the country. We thought and acted on a big scale, if not a global one, and we’re beginning to see progress from those efforts (which we’ll certainly have to keep working on if progress is to continue).
But we can’t neglect acting locally. Even when gas pipelines and fossil fuel lease sales are stopped, something has to replace them. When automakers switch to electric cars, we’ll need renewable electricity to power them. With the U.S.returning to the Paris treaty, we have to show the world we can support a civilization without pumping Greenhouse Gases into the atmosphere.
All that presents challenges that are distinctly local in Humboldt. We talk of the interconnected electrical grid, but Humboldt is still largely isolated from it. Power lines linking us to points east and south can bring us only a part of what we need. That’s presented a big challenge to Humboldt’s Community Choice electric utility, Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA), which has pledged to supply only clean, renewable electricity by 2025.
Now RCEA is hoping for approval of a solar photovoltaic facility proposed on a pasture near Blue Lake. At four MW, the plant would produce enough energy to power 1,200 houses. It won’t come near covering RCEA’s need, especially as our electricity use ramps up for the coming fleet of EVs and all the electric heat pumps we’ll need in the future for hot water and space heating — but it will be a step forward.
The solar plant’s negative Impacts appear minimal. The project would cover 26 acres, but so lightly that grazing could continue alongside the panels, as it does at other solar projects (see this). Adding solar panels sometimes helps farmers cover expenses during rough times, as this short video shows. (As well as the image above, from the Center for Environmental Farming Systems.) A boost in local beekeeping is also planned as the developer proposes to support pollinators, including native bees.
No threatened or sensitive species are reported on the site, and noise would be nearly nonexistent except during construction. You can review the environmental document on the project and comments are due by February 25 (Download it here).
The project’s approval sits in the hands of Humboldt County’s Planning Commission. If you would like to pass your thoughts about the project on to the Commission you can email them at [email protected].
The other “Act Locally” arena we want to highlight is 350 Humboldt itself. Local climate activism is only going to get more active in the coming months. We expect to see more action for our Legislative Committee as California environmentalists try to beat back oil and gas interests in the state legislature. Our Local Committee is keeping an eye on city council members as they vote on climate issues like getting natural gas out of new buildings in Arcata.
350 Humboldt’s Art Committee is partnering with 350.org during the #BuildBackFossilFree Week of Action (click here to sign up) and with Cooperation Humboldt on the “Just Imagine” virtual art gallery for the Arts Dismantling Capitalism symposium coming up February 26-28. Register for the symposium here. Want to submit a piece? Click here
Meanwhile on Monday, February 22 at 7 PM 350 Humboldt’s Book Club meets (here’s the Zoom link to that), and 350 Humboldt’s weekly Letter Writing Party Zoom is every Sunday at 7 PM. Keep your eye out for emails about what those meetings will focus on, or reply to this message if you’d like more info.
We have a lot going on. We hope you can join us if you haven’t already. If any of these actions interest you, it might be something you’ll want to do to “act locally.
For 350 Humboldt,