If you read the News Flash often, you know we like to report it when we have good news on local climate campaigns.

Maybe I’m getting carried away calling the news “good.” It’s not like there’s an improvement in CO2 levels or it’s any cooler outside. It’s just a small victory with a key local decision maker. So let’s call it “hopeful.”

The hopeful news was how Humboldt County planners handled the discussion on VMT (Vehicle Miles Traveled, the state mandate to set a threshold for when proposed developments will generate too much driving).

As you can imagine, county planners don’t often get lots of attention on topics like VMT. So when 25 members of the public wrote to complain that the Planning Commission was about to approve a plan that would screen out much of the county from analysis, it struck a nerve. At the Commission’s September 3 meeting VMT was dropped from the agenda. Instead, critics of the VMT proposal were invited to meet with county planners to help develop what we hope will be a more accurate and honest way to look at driving impacts.
Thanks to all who wrote the Planning Commission or attended the Zoom meetings. Perhaps we’ll see you at that (yet to be scheduled) meeting!

Another hopeful bit of news, this one at the state level, came out of the blue: The CalTrans director unilaterally decided to divert $100 million away from road projects and toward safety improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists. Send a “thanks!” email to CalTrans Director Toks Omishakin (at [email protected]).

We all want to see more hopeful news, and even downright good news, on the climate. But that’s not likely unless we’re organized to work for change. To that end, 350.org is providing “Get Ready for the Revolution,” a series of two-hour trainings from experienced organizers beginning September 15 on topics like remote organizing, volunteer engagement, fundraising, even “Keeping Healthy and Safe at Protests.” Here is a short flyer on it, a promotional toolkit, and the link to register.

Having knowledge of the issues is vital, too. On that score we’re indebted to the Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities (CRTP), which produced a report on the future of Humboldt transportation in the midst of climate change and the rise of autonomous vehicles (here’s CRTP’s website , where you can get the report). As in the rest of the nation, driving is our biggest local contributor to climate change, as well as a major cause of death for two groups of people who aren’t contributing to climate change: pedestrians and bicyclists. The report suggests a different route we can take.

Not much CO2 generated here!

Not much CO2 generated on opening day of the Bay Trail’s first link between Arcata and Bracut.

Humboldt State University’s Schatz Energy Lab presents a series of webinars on offshore wind energy beginning at 2 PM on September 14 and continuing the next four Mondays. For registration and more info, click here. And save Monday, October 5 at 7 PM for 350 Humboldt’s Zoom presentation from Ciara Emery on stakeholder views of local offshore wind energy. (More info to follow.)

Finally, it’s not too late to join activists in the campaign to retire our president. To host a Sierra Club letter writing party targeting voters in swing states, click here. Another option is Reclaim Our Vote. They’ll keep your cost down by using postcards. And every Sunday at 7 PM through October 25, 350 Humboldt’s Dan Chandler will host a letter writing party (if you got this email, you’ll get the Zoom link).

Thanks for what you do for the climate, and stay well!

Pat Carr for 350 Humboldt