by Laura Neish
At 350 Sonoma’s annual planning retreat, ten members met on September 11 to set priorities and actions for the upcoming year. In no particular order, Darcy S, Joan B, Anna J, Terry H, Willard M, Eileen B, Hoai-An T, Christine H, Karen P and Laura N considered our local role vis a vis 350.org and 350 Bay Area, county-level issues, and our group’s capacity to set the focus and agenda for the year. It’s an ongoing effort, but we made good progress.
We revised our mission statement: “Our mission it to organize actions to make the urgent changes necessary to avoid climate catastrophe. Our focus is on organizing locally and building coalition within our community. We also participate in 350 calls to action internationally, nationally and regionally.”
We agreed to join 350 Bay Area to focus on a specific audience: According to The Yale Climate Project, a majority of the US population is concerned about climate change, but that group divides into two camps: those who are taking action or are ready to, and those who don’t know how to get started. 350 Bay Area will be targeting these two groups, and we will adopt that strategy.
We agreed to the following overall objectives for the year:
- Target those concerned about climate change and give them a way to take action, …
- Using education and outreach, collaboration with other climate groups, and political action (direct communication to legislators and agency representatives, letters to the editor, etc.)
We agreed to the following priorities:
- Support our subgroups to focus on soil/agricultural issues, carbon tax, and divest CalSTRS.
- Support 350 Bay Area and 350.org actions when it makes sense for our members.
- Hold Community Conversations meetings every-other month for small group education, outreach and community building.
o Oct 13: Standing Rock update and discussion.
o Dec 8: Regenerative Agriculture overview and discussion
o Feb 9: Food and Water Watch presentation and discussion
o Other ideas: Divest CalSTRS, Slow Food, East Bay Refinery issues guest speaker, BAAQMD Issues, Roundup of local environmental groups, Fracking, Don’t Even Talk About It, …
- Alternating meetings will be business meetings to handle planning and administration.
- Target 3 larger events for the year: Sonoma County Climate organization evening to introduce other groups working on climate issues (target January); Soil Not Oil; and Carbon Tax Info, Discussion and Training.
- Other: Participate in May Day Parade, Earth Day.
Lots of work yet to do at the business meetings:
- Identify and prioritize local events to participate in and/or publicize.
- Organizational structure that suits the needs of the priorities and actions.
- Communications strategy.
- Specific leadership commitments.