By Mia Taylor
Plastic bottles and containers have become ubiquitous in our society. The plastics industry and our consumerist economy assure us that everything is okay – after all, you just drop it into the recycling bin, right?
But what's really happening with what we put into our recycling bins? Many of us are aware that the global recycling business has been turned upside down in recent years, as China, which took in about half of the world's discarded recyclable materials for decades, instituted a ban on the import of most plastics in 2018.
Since then, plastic waste has been piling up like never before, and exporters of plastic recyclables are having a harder time finding countries willing to take our waste. U.S. municipalities that used to see some net profit from recycling are now paying to get rid of all their single-use plastic waste. To get more insight and answers we'll hear from Nicole Kurian at our August 18th meeting. A policy analyst with Californians Against Waste, Nicole will discuss the California Recycling and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act that is expected to appear on ballots in November 2022, and we'll hear about other pending legislative items in Sacramento to attack single-use plastic waste.
We'll also get updates on the pollution in the Tijuana River Valley at our August meeting, our board's opposition to a problematic large solar farm proposed for the area near Jacumba Hot Springs, and how you can get involved with local efforts to defeat the gubernatorial recall and stop an extreme anti-environmentalist Republican takeover of the governor's office.
Photo courtesy of Daniel Müller and Greenpeace
By Richard Ram
At our executive board's most recent meeting we reviewed the proposal for the JVR Energy Park, a massive 650-acre solar farm that would nearly surround the community of Jacumba Hot Springs, located just south of Interstate 8 along the border of the U.S. and Mexico in southeast San Diego County.
While we recognize the critical importance of building new clean power infrastructure, we cannot in good conscience recommend the approval of the project as proposed. In consideration of the immediate harm this project would do to surrounding sensitive habitats and a vital wildlife corridor already impacted by the newly-installed and enlarged Border Wall, as well as the negative impacts on the local community other than perfunctory cash payouts to specific local groups, and the fact that none of the power generated on-site at the JVR facility will supply the local community, our board voted unanimously to oppose this project.
To that end, we have submitted a letter opposing the JVR Energy project to each of the five San Diego County Board of Supervisors in advance of the board's scheduled vote this Wednesday, Aug. 18th. The project has already received the recommendation of the San Diego County Planning Commission on a 5 to 2 vote, though our club's co-founder and first president Tommy Hough, who now serves as a San Diego County Planning Commissioner, made a compelling conservation argument in voicing his opposition the project.
We urge you to take part in this public hearing and express your concerns as well. It begins at 9 a.m. at the County Administration Center. Click here for the meeting agenda. Item 1 is the noticed public hearing for the JVR Energy Park major use permit. Click here to submit an e-comment on Item 1.
As San Diego County commits to meeting its climate action goals, we must focus on how we achieve those goals. We cannot set the dangerous precedent of ignoring both environmental and community concerns when expanding our clean power infrastructure.
Photo by Tommy Hough
By Richard Ram
It was great seeing many of our members at Balboa Park this past Saturday for the San Diego Green New Deal Alliance "Celebration for Climate, Jobs and Justice" event. So many groups were present, including San Diego 350, Climate Mobilization San Diego, Extinction Rebellion San Diego and San Diego Coastkeeper, as well as local education and labor representatives, city services, and housing and community activist groups.
We'd like to thank our own past and present board members Maleeka Marsden and Galena Robertson of Climate Action Campaign for taking the lead on putting this event together, and to all those who volunteered their time and effort. Much appreciation as well for the United Women's East African Support Team (UWEAST) who provided the vegan and vegetarian Ethiopian food, and Mar and Mur for providing a bounty of incredible cookies.
In this bleak setting of the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report delivering a "Code Red for Humanity" warning, mass extinction of species, and growing economic inequality our local alliance delivers a sense of hope – when we come together with those of common dreams and concerns, we find ourselves ready to meet the challenges ahead. A more sustainable and equitable San Diego for the next generation is possible, but only if when we work together to overcome the obstacles and demand what is right.
Photo by Richard Ram
The blog component of San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action welcomes content from SDCDEA members, guests and leadership.