What do you think of when you hear the phrase "New Year's Resolution"?
Lose weight. Start running. Eat more kale.
In our culture, the goals are all about you, the individual. How can you can better yourself, change yourself, improve yourself?
I stopped making these types of resolutions about a decade ago. Not only were they doomed to failure, but they made me lose focus on the primary thing that actually keeps me healthy, happy, and always improving -
My ability and intent to change my community for the better.
In the decade that I've focused on goals in community, I've accomplished some pretty wild things. Some of my goals seemed totally out of reach. From starting an 11-acre farm, to shepherding in groundbreaking open space legislation, to starting the Bay Area's first CSA to take food stamps, to creating an all-outdoor school - these goals have defined my career working in community as an environmental activist.
Without them, I could not have achieved change on such a massive scale.
This is feeling like one of those years. A big, hairy, audacious year. A year for setting a high bar, despite the hardships we've endured.
A year for hope and repair and vision.
A year for transformation.
I've got a good idea of how CFROG fits in. But for a New Year's Resolution to really stick, it helps to tell others, to stay accountable.
That's what I'm doing today, with you all.
Here are the 3 goals going up on my wall today -
1. Protect community health.
Goal: Advocate for communities in Ventura County that get more than their fair share of environmental pollution from oil and gas activity, past and present. Acknowledge and remedy environmental racism, including the disproportionate health impacts on communities of color.
Action(s): Publish a first-of-its-kind report on the status of all abandoned and idle oil & gas wells in Ventura County; obtain and analyze data on VOC/NOC air emissions in Oxnard and Ventura; challenge new Tar Sands project applications that threaten Oxnard's drinking water; participate in climate justice coalition work to dismantle racism in the environmental movement.
2. Empower new voices.
Goal: Create an online, interactive, engaging program for high school juniors and seniors that gives them the tools and leadership skills they need to advance their own climate action and/or environmental justice campaigns, and also helps create a life-long network of local activists that bridges generations.
Action(s): Develop and implement a pilot sixteen-week online Environmental Justice Academy for 8-10 high school juniors and seniors, led by CFROG's expert advisors and CSUCI environmental science faculty. Expand the program in the fall to 12-15 students.
3. Demand industry accountability.
Goal: Challenge oil industry attempts to overturn environmental reforms by drowning our county in lawsuits and ballot measures. Don't just challenge industry actions, challenge the systems that allow them to manipulate the law.
Action(s): Form a coalition to assist in defending against the seven oil industry lawsuits against the VC General Plan; oppose the referendum that overturned new permit regulations for drilling; seek guidance on state-wide nuisance lawsuit legislation for industry lawsuits against climate-friendly legislation; gain additional knowledge about Aquifer Exemptions and groundwater flow analysis as they relate to permitting of oil drilling operations.
Will you help me stay accountable?
And in setting your own New Year's Resolutions, will you consider shifting your focus from individual to community resolutions? If you have one, I'd love to hear it.
And you never know, I *might* go for a jog or eat some kale this year. :)
Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy final week of 2020.
Happy New Year!
Liz Beall, CFROG
Climate First: Replacing Oil & Gas
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