Recently, we were scouting for outstanding climate-protection solutions that we could import here. We contacted communities nationwide that excel in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We spoke with a person in the Washington, D.C., area who said, "You're from Sonoma County? Why are you asking us about solutions? Everyone knows that Sonoma County is the leader."
This reaction reinforces what we've heard for years. Sonoma County is known as the California of California, meaning that as California is the nation's climate-protection leader, Sonoma County is California's climate-protection leader. We can take pride that we inspire other communities.
Why is this happening here? I believe it's because business people, policymakers and citizens care about more than themselves and what's immediately in front of them. The evidence is everywhere from the extraordinary level of volunteerism to our climate leadership.
The most recent example is Sonoma Clean Power. The creation of this new public agency is the result of collaboration among government, business and the community over many years. Because California now has two successful "community choice" programs—Marin's and Sonoma's—the model is gaining momentum.
Some 12 other California communities are now starting up community choice programs. (But AB 2145 will limit consumer choice. Please check out www.no2145.org. )
Although we can take pride in Sonoma County's accomplishments, we have a lot more to do to leave our children a life-sustaining planet. The concentration of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere continues to rise, increasing the blanket of heat-trapping gas that causes global weirding, such as the drought, Superstorm Sandy and other extreme weather events. We must keep pushing solutions commensurate with the scale of the crisis.
Please join us.
Ann Hancock is the co-founder and executive director of the Climate Protection Campaign. www.climateprotection.org.
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