Climate Change Solutions II
ADVODATE FOR OUR FUTURE
The government cannot act alone to reverse climate change. We as citizens need to collaborate with our community to help achieve success. The most effective action we can take right now is to email our legislators and let them know where we stand on important environmental issues, as individuals and in alliance with the Garden Club of America.
Since its founding over 100 years ago, the Garden Club of America has focused on conservation and advocacy for the promotion of environmental awareness and the preservation of natural resources. These guiding tenets aim to keep the members well informed on current conservation issues, promote respect for natural resources and responsibility for environmental stewardship. Over the decades the passionate and committed members of the GCA have spearheaded awareness and conservation campaigns that have touched on every major environmental advancement in the U.S., from the battle to “Save the Redwoods” Campaign in the 1930’s to the most recent comprehensive legislation to be signed into law, The Great American Outdoors Act.
The steady perseverance exhibited by GCA Conservation Committee members over the years has earned immense respect with Senators and Representatives in Washington D.C. The advocacy arm of the GCA falls under the umbrella of the National Affairs and Legislation Committee, which was created in 1968 to keep local clubs’ conservation committees and membership informed on National and State legislation. The assistance of legislative consultants in Washington D.C. keep the GCA board and conservation committees apprised of bills moving through Congress that align with the GCA’s purpose to “restore, improve and protect the quality of the environment”.
The GCA’s position on public policy issues is articulated in the Position Papers, which can be found on the National Affairs and Legislation landing page on the GCA website. Members will find detailed explanations about the 10 current public policy issues which include Clean Air, National Public Lands, and Climate Change Action. Annually, NAL hosts the National Affairs and Legislation Conference in Washington D.C. At this conference the Zone NAL representatives get to see, first hand, as the designated bills which reflect the current priorities for GCA are promoted in the current Congress. It should be noted that legislation can be carried over from the proceeding Congress. Hancock Park Garden Club members can view the website CONGRESS.GOV to see if bill numbers or names have changed, as well as track the movement of bills of interest through Congress. Members can reference the What We Are Watching subheading of the NAL landing page for up to the minute information on what legislation the GCA is watching.
All of the priorities presented at the NAL Conference are of utmost importance. It may be helpful to review Conservation Committee’s Climate Change Solutions article from the HPGC March Leaflet for an overview of the recent legislative agenda of the GCA. Let us focus our attention to advocate for two priorities that are crucial for the prosperity of California.
Climate change has profoundly affected our oceans for decades. We have witnessed devastation to our coastlines, rising sea levels and dramatic shifts in our ocean chemistry threatening sea life. We now know there are numerous ocean-related approaches to reversing climate change. Priority number one is to ask our Senators Diane Feinstein and Alex Padilla to consider introducing legislation modeled after the ocean-based Climate Solutions Act in the House, H.R. 8632. Also, our Congressman Jimmy Gomez should be asked to support legislation modeled after the ocean-based Climate Solutions Act in the House, H.R. 8632 from the previous Congress. This bill is sponsored by the House Natural Resources Committee Chair Grijalva, Representatives Castor, Huffman and 35 others. These bills should seek to leverage the ocean’s potential in the fight against climate change by promoting offshore renewable energy, protecting blue carbon, supporting climate-ready fisheries, expanding marine protected areas and improving ocean health.
The agriculture industry plays a major role in California’s economy. In addition, working ranches occupy nearly 40 million acres and there are 33 million acres of forested land. Therefore, the potential to capture and store the atmospheric greenhouse gas carbon dioxide through bio-sequestration is extremely significant in California to reverse global warming. This can be achieved through legislation that encourages farmers, ranchers, and forest managers to limit the use of pesticides, practice soil regeneration, avoid tilling, diversifying crops, and utilizing well-managed grazing of livestock. Priority number two: ask our Senators Diane Feinstein and Alex Padilla to support the bill, Growing Climate Solutions Act, S. 3894. Also, our Congressman Jimmy Gomez should be asked to support bipartisan legislation modeled after H.R. 7393 from the previous Congress. These bills should include provisions to encourage and incentivize sustainable, climate-friendly farming and forestry practices and direct the USDA to create a carbon market and a certification program providing farmers access to private-sector capital and relief from the economic impacts of climate change.
Be sure to check out the sample cover letter below from the GCA to help formulate your advocacy emails. We hope this article inspires you to take action to keep our planet beautiful and livable for us and future generations.