UC Davis

Davis, CA

Chapter Name: Campus Center for the Environment (CCE)
Chapter Email: ucdcce@gmail.com
Chapter Website: cce.ucdavis.edu
Representatives: Maisie Borg and Danielle Doedens

Mission Statement

CCE strives to promote inter-group collaboration among campus organizations, while providing various environmental opportunities and resources for all students.

Current Projects

  • Education for Sustainable Living Program (ESLP) – Spring quarter 2 or 4 unit student-run guest lecture class that incorporates Action Research Teams (ARTs) which initiate and support sustainable projects led by students and community members throughout campus

  • ARTs: Building an effective and educational aquaponics system on campus, Developing a well-researched timeline for coal divestment for UC Davis, Expanding both the seed library and native bee sanctuary at the Domes, Implement e-waste recycling receptacles across campus, Expanding Project Compost, Creating institutional memory for the Salad Bowl Garden

  • Field Guide to Sustainable Living in Davis – Fall/Winter quarter 2 unit student-led class aimed towards freshmen to introduce them into the sustainable networks that exist in Davis sponsored by Steve Wheeler of the Landscape Design and Architecture Department

  • Red Cup Clean Up – A project taking one-use red cups and placing them in TerraCycle recycling program to re-purpose them

  • Resident Garden – Running a completely organic garden for the freshmen living in the dorms.

  • Continue to provide support for CSSC connectivity and campaigns.

  • Plans and promotes documentary screenings on campus to advocate for sustainable living engagement.

  • Provides internship opportunities for students who would like to head an environmental project on campus or shadow one of our staff members.

  • Hosts sustainable craft events with the purpose of fostering collaboration between our campus sustainability organizations.

  • Sells compostable cups, plates and utensils to various organizations and people for campus events at no profit.

  • Staff currently shares a strong relationship with dining services through the Go Green Grant committee.

  • We maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with the John Muir Institute for the Environment, and the office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability.

 

UC Santa Barbara

Goleta, CA

Chapter Name: Environmental Affairs Board
Chapter Email: ucsbeab@gmail.com
Chapter Website: http://eab.as.ucsb.edu/
Representatives: Kori Lay and Emily Williams

Mission Statement

The Environmental Affairs Board (EAB) is a branch of UCSB’s Associated Students Government and is the largest and most active environmental group on campus. The charge of EAB is to protect, preserve and enhance the environment, principally at UCSB and its surrounding communities. We focus on ecology, energy, food, climate change, water policy and conservation, the economy, environmental justice and other issues. We coordinate and coalition-build with other groups to promote environmental perspectives and sustainability throughout the University and its surrounding communities, as well as at the state, national, and global level.

Current Projects

  • Divestment: The UCSB branch of the campaign to get the University of California to divest from fossil fuels

  • Associated Students Green Bill: developing and enforcing a bill that makes all A.S. Groups practice sustainable purchasing policy

  • UCCE: University of California for Clean Energy; campaign whose goal is to get UCSB to run on 100% clean energy by 2020
    Earth Week: An environmental week leading up to UCSB’s Earth Day Celebration; each day will focus on a certain issue

  • Earth Week: An environmental week leading up to UCSB’s Earth Day Celebration; each day will focus on a certain issue

CSSC Council Representatives

Kori Lay

Major: Chemistry and Environmental Studies
Hometown: Port Washington, NY
Graduation/Transfer: June, 2014

About Me

I love being outside and eating delicious, fresh, and healthy food in the company of good people! I tend to quote movies…a lot…If I had to eat one thing for the rest of my life it would definitely be mangos.

How I got involved in CSSC

I attend the Fall 2012 Convergence at Butte and I basically fell in love with the CSSC mission! I decided to attend the leader retreat to get more involved and now represent my school on the council!

The role of student action in sustainability

Students have the ability to make changes across the country and even the world! When we connect and come together, students are unstoppable. Students are leading the way in the sustainability movement, and we will not fail!

The Areas of Sustainability That Interest Me Most

I am most interested in the environmental and social justice aspect of sustainability. Everyone has a right to clean air and clean water!

Projects I have worked on

I am currently on the fossil fuel divestment team at my school.

Emily Williams

Major: Environmental Studies
Hometown: Cupertino, CA
Graduation/Transfer: August, 2014

About Me

I am a 4th year environmental studies major. I am the State-Wide Affairs Coordinator for our environmental org, the Environmental Affairs Board (EAB). I am also the campaign coordinator for the divestment campaign. I live in a student housing co-op, and one of my favorite pass-times is cooking with my 17 housemates. Last year, I studied abroad in Bordeaux, France for 10 months, which was an incredible experience. Though I miss speaking French, I love being in Santa Barbara with such wonderful people and the ocean.

How I got involved in CSSC

I was elected to the State-Wide Affairs Coordinator position in EAB. The CSSC representative is an institutionalized position within EAB that goes with my position. My first leadership retreat was Summer 2012, and since then, I’ve been hooked.

The Role of Student Action in Sustainability

Students are in a unique position where they can speak the truth, while everyone else plays to their roles. Students are not hindered by politics, or influenced by their jobs–rather they are often the ones who are the first to speak out about an issue. They can bring issues back onto the political agenda and back in the public view, and have often been the source of great social change.

The Areas of Sustainability That Interest Me Most

I am most interested in energy, and finding a sustainable balance for it at the intersection of economic, social, and environmental sustainability.

Projects I have worked on

I am currently the campaign coordinator at UCSB for the divestment campaign. So far, this has entailed working with EAB and reaching out to other groups on campus to spread awareness of the campaign as well as passing a resolution through our A.S. Senate in support of the Regents divesting.
I was also involved in Project We Own It, where we raised $200,000 to preserve our local food cooperative.

 

UC Los Angles

Los Angeles, CA

Chapter Name: E3: Ecology, Economy, Equity
Chapter Email: N/A
Chapter Website: www.e3ucla.org
Representatives: Mahsa Ostowari and Sargam Saraf

Mission Statement
To unite and empower the UCLA community to take transformative action towards a more sustainable future.

Current Projects
E3 works on campus and local campaigns relating to issues such as climate change, waste management, Fair Trade certification, urban gardening, and food responsibility.

Additionally, E3 participates in community service and social events like potlucks, camping trips, hikes, bike rides, beach clean-ups, habitat restoration, and more!

Preparing our Earth Month activities which include a speaking panel and fair.

We are also working with our student government for our Fair Trade Campaign!

We also put on two Farmer’s Markets a quarter!

CSSC Council Representatives

Mahsa Ostowari

Major: Environmental Science
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Graduation/Transfer: June, 2014

About Me
I’m a third year environmental science major at UCLA, and I just love the outdoors. I love walking, hiking, swimming and doing anything that is outside! I’m excited to get involved with CSSC and be a representative for my school, and help bring more sustainability to UCLA!

How I got involved in CSSC
I got involved with CSSC through a friend who was a past representative! She told me about what she did and I decided that I wanted to be a part of CSSC and what it stands for!

The Role of Student Action in Sustainability
I think student action has one of the biggest roles in the sustainability movement! We, the students, are the future of this country and the world and so we can make a difference! We are the ones that will experience all the environmental crises that are going to come, and so it is our duty to make a change now so this does not happen.

The main role, I believe, is the simple fact that the students will be using their education (the education they receive from their schools, clubs, and conferences/convergences), to improve conditions for sustainability in the world. They will be the future of the movenement, and how it sustains itself.

The Areas of Sustainability That Interest Me Most
The ecological aspect of sustainability interests me most! I am really passionate about protecting, restoring, and maintaining healthy ecosystems and natural systems and using the natural resources from them in a sustainable way.

Projects I have worked on
I was previously at Team Green member for my dorm, and we worked to bring awareness of different environmental issues such as sustainability and fair trade to the residents of our dorm hall.

UC Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, CA

Chapter Name: Education for Sustainable Living Program
Chapter Email: eslp@ucsc.edu
Chapter Website: http://eslp.enviroslug.org
Representatives: David Shugar and Rebecca Wood

Mission Statement

The Education for Sustainable Living Program (ESLP) is a collaborative and interdisciplinary effort to reshape the way we learn, effectively mentor students, and engage in projects that support the sustainable development of the University of California and Santa Cruz community. Using models of experiential learning, ESLP supports student-led sections, guest speakers and inspires participants to internalize the concept of sustainability within academia and greater society.

History/Achievements

The Education for Sustainable Living Program (ESLP) formed as a Statewide Coalition in 2003 within the California Student Sustainability Coalition, a UC-wide collaborative student effort to realize sustainability throughout the UC, CSU and CCC systems. Currently there are accredited ESLP programs in UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara and UC Los Angeles.

At UCSC, ESLP student organizers worked throughout the year to plan our lecture series, train facilitators, and promote student learning projects and collaborative education models. Since 2004, ESLP has enrolled over 2000 students, hosted over 100 guest speakers and created over 50 student led sections. Every winter quarter, ESLP organizers facilitate the accredited 5-unit Winter Training Seminar which trains facilitators to develop a section syllabus and practice facilitation skills. In spring, ESLP offers the 5-unit and 2-unit sections through in conjunction with a weekly guest lecture series. In 2011-2012, ESLP had 11 organizers which received 2-units, 5-units or paid positions. The 5 unit CLEI 160 Winter Training Seminar class prepared 17 facilitators from 12 cross disciplinary majors to create 8 5-unit and 3 2-unit sections. Section topics ranged from sustainable agriculture, permaculture, water conservation, waste reduction, green building, aquaponics, environmental art and social movements towards sustainability.

In spring of 2012, 32 students enrolled in 2-unit sections and 100 students enrolled in 5-unit sections. Many of the sections learning projects engaged students throughout campus such as the The Drop you Own Drip section which sent mock water bills to students on campus and created a competition between the colleges to see who could reduce the most water. The Sustainable Living Spaces section performed an audit of the Stevenson dorm to engage students to reduce energy and resource consumption. The Zero Waste class worked on a zero waste campus move out during the end of the year. These are just some examples of how the 132 students engaged with the campus community through sustainable learning projects.
Throughout 2011-2012 ESLP, hosted 14 guest speakers which covered topics such as; mayan agroecology, food justice, ecological design, rain and grey water design, alternative transportation, renewable energy, global warming and local movements towards creating a sustainable world. ESLP also collaborated with the African American Resources Center and Brain Mind Consciousness Society to host Van Jones during winter quarter to speak about rebuilding our vision of society and learning to be culturally inclusive to form creative solutions. We also contributed to the Wiser Together event in collaboration with the World Café, which had a attendance of approximately 200 people. This event featured locally sourced food and gave a space for students to connect with community members and local resources.

Current Projects

During this year of 2012-2013, ESLP is currently training facilitators to teach their sections for Spring Quarter. There are 11 sections being proposed which covers topics such as Santa Cruz ecology, waste management, global resources, food systems, learning gardens, eco-psychology, indigeneity synthesis into sustainability and dynamic education models of socio-environmental justice. We are also planning on hosting guest speakers in Spring Quarter related to the topics of the Great Turning from the work of Joanna Macy, Activism and the Sierra Club, Environmental Justice through Art, Buckminster Fuller Ecological Design principles, Permaculture and Sustainability Consciousness, Food Systems, Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Social Activism.

Goals

A major goal of the organization is to create innovative multidisciplinary and collaborative sustainability curriculum at and become more integrated with UCSC academics. This includes further institutionalizing the ability for the spring course to count for student curricular requirements and for section facilitators to receive upper-division elective credit within their individual majors, which as of now only applied to Environmental Studies major in certain instances. Another objective in this goals is to become a qualified GE course covering the GE topic GE PE-E of Perspectives: Environmental Awareness. We currently do not fulfill this status have applied to fulfill this GE without success. We want to continue conversation with the Academic Senate and collaborate on ways student led sustainability education model can be integrated in the academic structure of UCSC. There is also the possibility of a Sustainability Technology minor being created at UCSC, and ESLP is in conversation of becoming an elective to the minor.

In addition ESLP has the goal of more thoroughly organizing online resources and supporting the creation of ESLP across the state of California.

Opportunities

At UC Santa Cruz, ESLP offers many opportunities. We have year-long organizer positions that can be filled through internship and eventually paid position. If you want to facilitate a section, you can apply to become a facilitator near the during fall quarter to enroll in the Winter Training Seminar. In spring, ESLP offers both a 5-unit and 2-unit course, which incorporates student facilitated sections and a weekly guest lecture series that any student in UCSC can enroll in.

ESLP at UC Santa Cruz also wants to support the creation of student led sustainability education program across California. If you would like any support in developing a student led course, please contact ESLP and join the statewide coalition. ESLP is organized in different models throughout different school, with the common goal of reshaping the way we learn, effectively mentor students and integrating student led sustainability academics into California higher education system. Please contact eslp@ucsc.edu for any resources and further questions.

CSSC Council Representatives

David Shugar

Major: Applied Physics
Hometown: San Bruno, CA
Graduation/Transfer: Spring 2014

About Me

I am currently a 4th year Applied Physics Major at UCSC. Throughout the past 6 years I have also worked and had various internship in the renewable energy field, with companies such as SunPower and PV Evolution Labs. Currently, I am working the UCSC Optoelectronics Lab focusing on researching the integration of solar technology onto greenhouses and the impact of plant growth under tinted luminescent solar concentrators. I am very involved with student led education and am currently the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Intern with the Education for Sustainable Living Program (ESLP), which is a student led course offered for 2 and 5 units. I am also leading the Brain, Mind, Consciousness student led seminar, which is a 5-unit course addressing interdisciplinary physical sciences, cognitive science and includes topics such as ecopsychology, transpersonal psychology and meditation. In addition I am writing a book called “Healing Through Sacred Geometry”, that will be published and available within the year, focusing on bridging the study of science, spirituality and sustainability from ancient to modern perspectives.

How I got involved in CSSC

I got involved with CSSC through being an organizer with ESLP. My staff mentor, Joyce Rice recommended that I research CSSC and student created sustainability initiatives. After attending and presenting at the Fall 2012 Convergence, I wanted to become further active with the CSSC as a Council Representative. I have since been advocating the statewide implementation of ESLP courses and supporting the UC divestment of fossil fuels from the UC endowment.

The Role of Student Action in Sustainability

Student activism is very connected with sustainability efforts. This can be seen in the UC Regents creating the UC wide sustainability initiatives in 2003, due to student advocacy. Personally, I believe student can greatly add to the sustainability movement through creating student led seminars, such as ESLP. This inspires the students in college to work with peers and collaborate on interdisciplinary sustainability projects. Education programs teach the future generation of leaders tools for building a healthier world as well as gives academic credit for student participation.

The Areas of Sustainability That Interest Me Most

As stated before, I am very interested in interdisciplinary and collaborative student initiated education models. In addition, my interest in sustainability is focusing on engineering, such as renewable energy, green building and incorporating ecological design principles into modern urban cities. As an Applied Physics major, I feel that physical sciences and engineering are often overlook within the sustainability movement and that scientist and engineers should be more incorporated in environmental studies and spreading sustainability awareness.

Projects I have worked on

Such projects I have worked on is organizing the weekly guest lectures series of 12 speakers for the 130 student ESLP class in Spring 2012. This year as the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Intern with ESLP, I hosted the University Forum for Sustainability Education which brought together students, staff, faculty and connected various organizations focusing on furthering interdisciplinary, collaborative and experiential sustainability education models. I also applied for ESLP to fulfill a the Environmental Awareness – General Education (GE) code at UCSC, in coordination with the various organizers and faculty sponsor; which was rejected by the Committee of Education Policy due to their statement “no GE can be offered as a student led seminar”. My general goal is to future integrated sustainability education models into the current and developing academic programs. In addition, last year I help build and research a solar luminescent concentrator photovoltaic greenhouse with the UCSC Optoelectronics lab at the UCSC Arboretum.

Rebecca Wood

Major: Environmental Studies
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Graduation/Transfer: June 2014

About Me

Rebecca Wood is currently a third year student working towards her degree in environmental studies. Rebecca feels extremely passionate about social and environmental justice-specifically combating the corporate water grab. She acts as the campus coordinator for Take Back the Tap, which is a campaign to end the sale of single use water bottles at UCSC. In her free time, Rebecca enjoys meeting new people, hiking, backpacking, sailing, scuba diving, dancing, reading, birding, gardening and above all else, spending time with loved ones. Rebecca hopes to inspire others to connect with the land and other people, as well as find their passion and to dedicate themselves to whatever endeavors allow them to reach their long-term goals.

How I got involved in CSSC

Rebecca attended her first convergence during Fall 2011 for her involvement with Take Back the Tap. Recently, she started working with a new resource center on her campus, Common Ground Center, and she is now sitting on council to strengthen the connection between Common Ground Center and the CSSC network.

The Role of student Action in Sustainability

Student action is essential to the success of the sustainability movement because we are the ones inheriting the injustices of the world. Students have the power to make a difference if we collaborate and pull our collective intelligence together. We are young with nothing to lose, but everything to gain and an inspiration to the generations before and after us through our actions.

The Areas of Sustainability That Interest Me Most

Rebecca is interested in all aspects of the sustainability movement because everything is connected, however she is particularly called to sustainable water management and accessibility.

Projects I have worked on

Rebecca acts as campus coordinator for Take Back the Tap (TBtT), which is working to eliminate the sale and distribution of single use water bottles on the UCSC campus. In addition to the environmental benefits of the ban, TBtT focuses heavily on the human rights issue behind bottled water. She also sits on the administration board for a resource center in one of the colleges on her campus, Common Ground Center; Education for a Just and Sustainable World. Rebecca is also involved with the Program in Community Agroecology (PICA), which focuses on sustainable food systems education.

 

Wildest EARTH DAY Dance Video: Nature SuperHero

 

Earth Day Viral Dance VideoAn Earth Day Viral Dance Video

In an Earlier Post, we mentioned that the creators of Pacha’s Pajamas, BALANCE Edutainment is creating an Earth Day Viral Video that combines great dance and a powerful message into an incredibly made video of impact.

Below is the Video. Enjoy:

Since we have been sharing about this topic lately, this is also a great example of Marketing Gamification: turning a campaign into something interesting and engaging.

Of course, outside of Earth Day and the Viral Videos, the CSSC Spring Convergence in Berekeley is coming up soon. Don’t forget to Register as soon as possible!

UC Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, CA

Chapter Name: Education for Sustainable Living Program
Chapter Email: eslp@ucsc.edu
Chapter Website: http://eslp.enviroslug.org
Representatives: David Shugar and Rebecca Wood

Mission Statement

The Education for Sustainable Living Program (ESLP) is a collaborative and interdisciplinary effort to reshape the way we learn, effectively mentor students, and engage in projects that support the sustainable development of the University of California and Santa Cruz community. Using models of experiential learning, ESLP supports student-led sections, guest speakers and inspires participants to internalize the concept of sustainability within academia and greater society.

History/Achievements

The Education for Sustainable Living Program (ESLP) formed as a Statewide Coalition in 2003 within the California Student Sustainability Coalition, a UC-wide collaborative student effort to realize sustainability throughout the UC, CSU and CCC systems. Currently there are accredited ESLP programs in UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara and UC Los Angeles.

At UCSC, ESLP student organizers worked throughout the year to plan our lecture series, train facilitators, and promote student learning projects and collaborative education models. Since 2004, ESLP has enrolled over 2000 students, hosted over 100 guest speakers and created over 50 student led sections. Every winter quarter, ESLP organizers facilitate the accredited 5-unit Winter Training Seminar which trains facilitators to develop a section syllabus and practice facilitation skills. In spring, ESLP offers the 5-unit and 2-unit sections through in conjunction with a weekly guest lecture series. In 2011-2012, ESLP had 11 organizers which received 2-units, 5-units or paid positions. The 5 unit CLEI 160 Winter Training Seminar class prepared 17 facilitators from 12 cross disciplinary majors to create 8 5-unit and 3 2-unit sections. Section topics ranged from sustainable agriculture, permaculture, water conservation, waste reduction, green building, aquaponics, environmental art and social movements towards sustainability.

In spring of 2012, 32 students enrolled in 2-unit sections and 100 students enrolled in 5-unit sections. Many of the sections learning projects engaged students throughout campus such as the The Drop you Own Drip section which sent mock water bills to students on campus and created a competition between the colleges to see who could reduce the most water. The Sustainable Living Spaces section performed an audit of the Stevenson dorm to engage students to reduce energy and resource consumption. The Zero Waste class worked on a zero waste campus move out during the end of the year. These are just some examples of how the 132 students engaged with the campus community through sustainable learning projects.
Throughout 2011-2012 ESLP, hosted 14 guest speakers which covered topics such as; mayan agroecology, food justice, ecological design, rain and grey water design, alternative transportation, renewable energy, global warming and local movements towards creating a sustainable world. ESLP also collaborated with the African American Resources Center and Brain Mind Consciousness Society to host Van Jones during winter quarter to speak about rebuilding our vision of society and learning to be culturally inclusive to form creative solutions. We also contributed to the Wiser Together event in collaboration with the World Café, which had a attendance of approximately 200 people. This event featured locally sourced food and gave a space for students to connect with community members and local resources.

Current Projects

During this year of 2012-2013, ESLP is currently training facilitators to teach their sections for Spring Quarter. There are 11 sections being proposed which covers topics such as Santa Cruz ecology, waste management, global resources, food systems, learning gardens, eco-psychology, indigeneity synthesis into sustainability and dynamic education models of socio-environmental justice. We are also planning on hosting guest speakers in Spring Quarter related to the topics of the Great Turning from the work of Joanna Macy, Activism and the Sierra Club, Environmental Justice through Art, Buckminster Fuller Ecological Design principles, Permaculture and Sustainability Consciousness, Food Systems, Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Social Activism.

Goals

A major goal of the organization is to create innovative multidisciplinary and collaborative sustainability curriculum at and become more integrated with UCSC academics. This includes further institutionalizing the ability for the spring course to count for student curricular requirements and for section facilitators to receive upper-division elective credit within their individual majors, which as of now only applied to Environmental Studies major in certain instances. Another objective in this goals is to become a qualified GE course covering the GE topic GE PE-E of Perspectives: Environmental Awareness. We currently do not fulfill this status have applied to fulfill this GE without success. We want to continue conversation with the Academic Senate and collaborate on ways student led sustainability education model can be integrated in the academic structure of UCSC. There is also the possibility of a Sustainability Technology minor being created at UCSC, and ESLP is in conversation of becoming an elective to the minor.

In addition ESLP has the goal of more thoroughly organizing online resources and supporting the creation of ESLP across the state of California.

Opportunities

At UC Santa Cruz, ESLP offers many opportunities. We have year-long organizer positions that can be filled through internship and eventually paid position. If you want to facilitate a section, you can apply to become a facilitator near the during fall quarter to enroll in the Winter Training Seminar. In spring, ESLP offers both a 5-unit and 2-unit course, which incorporates student facilitated sections and a weekly guest lecture series that any student in UCSC can enroll in.

ESLP at UC Santa Cruz also wants to support the creation of student led sustainability education program across California. If you would like any support in developing a student led course, please contact ESLP and join the statewide coalition. ESLP is organized in different models throughout different school, with the common goal of reshaping the way we learn, effectively mentor students and integrating student led sustainability academics into California higher education system. Please contact eslp@ucsc.edu for any resources and further questions.

CSSC Council Representatives

David Shugar

Major: Applied Physics
Hometown: San Bruno, CA
Graduation/Transfer: Spring 2014

About Me

I am currently a 4th year Applied Physics Major at UCSC. Throughout the past 6 years I have also worked and had various internship in the renewable energy field, with companies such as SunPower and PV Evolution Labs. Currently, I am working the UCSC Optoelectronics Lab focusing on researching the integration of solar technology onto greenhouses and the impact of plant growth under tinted luminescent solar concentrators. I am very involved with student led education and am currently the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Intern with the Education for Sustainable Living Program (ESLP), which is a student led course offered for 2 and 5 units. I am also leading the Brain, Mind, Consciousness student led seminar, which is a 5-unit course addressing interdisciplinary physical sciences, cognitive science and includes topics such as ecopsychology, transpersonal psychology and meditation. In addition I am writing a book called “Healing Through Sacred Geometry”, that will be published and available within the year, focusing on bridging the study of science, spirituality and sustainability from ancient to modern perspectives.

How I got involved in CSSC

I got involved with CSSC through being an organizer with ESLP. My staff mentor, Joyce Rice recommended that I research CSSC and student created sustainability initiatives. After attending and presenting at the Fall 2012 Convergence, I wanted to become further active with the CSSC as a Council Representative. I have since been advocating the statewide implementation of ESLP courses and supporting the UC divestment of fossil fuels from the UC endowment.

The role of student action in sustainability

Student activism is very connected with sustainability efforts. This can be seen in the UC Regents creating the UC wide sustainability initiatives in 2003, due to student advocacy. Personally, I believe student can greatly add to the sustainability movement through creating student led seminars, such as ESLP. This inspires the students in college to work with peers and collaborate on interdisciplinary sustainability projects. Education programs teach the future generation of leaders tools for building a healthier world as well as gives academic credit for student participation.

The Areas of Sustainability That Interest Me Most

As stated before, I am very interested in interdisciplinary and collaborative student initiated education models. In addition, my interest in sustainability is focusing on engineering, such as renewable energy, green building and incorporating ecological design principles into modern urban cities. As an Applied Physics major, I feel that physical sciences and engineering are often overlook within the sustainability movement and that scientist and engineers should be more incorporated in environmental studies and spreading sustainability awareness.

Projects I have worked on

Such projects I have worked on is organizing the weekly guest lectures series of 12 speakers for the 130 student ESLP class in Spring 2012. This year as the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Intern with ESLP, I hosted the University Forum for Sustainability Education which brought together students, staff, faculty and connected various organizations focusing on furthering interdisciplinary, collaborative and experiential sustainability education models. I also applied for ESLP to fulfill a the Environmental Awareness – General Education (GE) code at UCSC, in coordination with the various organizers and faculty sponsor; which was rejected by the Committee of Education Policy due to their statement “no GE can be offered as a student led seminar”. My general goal is to future integrated sustainability education models into the current and developing academic programs. In addition, last year I help build and research a solar luminescent concentrator photovoltaic greenhouse with the UCSC Optoelectronics lab at the UCSC Arboretum.

Rebecca Wood

Major: Environmental Studies
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Graduation/Transfer: June 2014

About Me

Rebecca Wood is currently a third year student working towards her degree in environmental studies. Rebecca feels extremely passionate about social and environmental justice-specifically combating the corporate water grab. She acts as the campus coordinator for Take Back the Tap, which is a campaign to end the sale of single use water bottles at UCSC. In her free time, Rebecca enjoys meeting new people, hiking, backpacking, sailing, scuba diving, dancing, reading, birding, gardening and above all else, spending time with loved ones. Rebecca hopes to inspire others to connect with the land and other people, as well as find their passion and to dedicate themselves to whatever endeavors allow them to reach their long-term goals.

How I got involved in CSSC

Rebecca attended her first convergence during Fall 2011 for her involvement with Take Back the Tap. Recently, she started working with a new resource center on her campus, Common Ground Center, and she is now sitting on council to strengthen the connection between Common Ground Center and the CSSC network.

The role of student action in sustainability

Student action is essential to the success of the sustainability movement because we are the ones inheriting the injustices of the world. Students have the power to make a difference if we collaborate and pull our collective intelligence together. We are young with nothing to lose, but everything to gain and an inspiration to the generations before and after us through our actions.

The Areas of Sustainability That Interest Me Most

Rebecca is interested in all aspects of the sustainability movement because everything is connected, however she is particularly called to sustainable water management and accessibility.

Projects I have worked on

Rebecca acts as campus coordinator for Take Back the Tap (TBtT), which is working to eliminate the sale and distribution of single use water bottles on the UCSC campus. In addition to the environmental benefits of the ban, TBtT focuses heavily on the human rights issue behind bottled water. She also sits on the administration board for a resource center in one of the colleges on her campus, Common Ground Center; Education for a Just and Sustainable World. Rebecca is also involved with the Program in Community Agroecology (PICA), which focuses on sustainable food systems education.

 

Cabrillo College

Aptos, CA

Chapter Name: Cabrillo Sustainability Council
Chapter Email: N/A
Chapter Website:  http://sustainablecabrillo.org/
Representatives: Mark Regala

Mission Statement

Cabrillo

The Cabrillo Sustainability Council is a student club at Cabrillo College, organized to raise awareness and facilitate action to address the key issues related to the sustainability of our college as well as the community, state, nation, and world.

History/Achievements

  • Established a carpooling program so that students have access to information about peers living around or commuting past their homes.

  • Compiled a list of ways one can live a more sustainable lifestyle.

 

Mark Regala

Mark Regala

Major: Agro-ecology/Architecture
Hometown: Redwood City, CA
Graduation/Transfer: 2015

About Me

My hobbies are school, gardening, biking, surfing, basketball, movies, TV, hanging out with friends, reading , leadership and cooking professionally or at school. Love food I love to cook using sustainably raised ingredients. I love people! I love and enjoy being a contribution to others by being of service. I’m committed to things working in a world where everyone gets it and everyone wins!

How I got involved in CSSC

While attending Cabrillo College I got involved with the Sustainability Council. Michelle Merrill Faculty/Advisor for the club has also been a huge inspiration.  was asked by our media team if I wanted to rep for CSSC.

The role of student action in sustainability

Student action is vital since they are the generation that will be the future of the world and the planet.

The Areas of Sustainability That Interest Me Most

Food such as gardening, awareness, education, community, and social justice.

Projects I have worked on

I’ve worked on earth week at my school. I contacted local business soliciting donations to raffle. Tabling to raise awareness about Earthweek and Sustainability at our Aptos and Watsonville campuses. Sold Chico Bags and other stuff year round at all our events. Supplied water and replaced plastic bottled water with refillable water canteens during graduation ceremony. Worked on remodeling water fountains into hydration stations. Preparing food for our events including working collaboratively with the food co-op/ bike co-op. Started a project called Live and Grow to bring 20 gardens to 20 schools on the Peninsula SF Bay.  I’m working as an ambassador for igreenconnect and igreenwomen.

 

College of the Sequioas

Visalia, CA

Chapter Name: College of the Sequoias Sustainability Club
Chapter Email: cos.sustainability@gmail.com
Chapter Website: https://www.facebook.com/COSSC1
Representatives: Matthew Deuser and Megan Hupp

COS

Mission Satement:

The Purpose of the COS Sustainabability Club is to bring green campaigns, actions, and movements to COS and the local community as well as connect with the CSSC

Current Projects

  • Mobile Aquaponics System for education in alternative methods of food production. 
  • Working to support the campus organic garden.
  • Hosting  screening of Do the Math

 

CSSC Council Representatives:

Matthew Deuser

Major: Nutrition/Psychology/Sociology
Hometown: Porterville, CA
Graduation/Transfer: TBD

About Me
I have journeyed to become an open-minded thinker and independent voter. Transitioning into the former, I have grown to understand our national, dysfunctional, embedded myth that postulates as the independent American. Such ongoing knowledge has resolved my
citizenship against our Demolicans and Repubocrats duopoly political system. Since 1993, I have been a member of the CA Green Party.
How I got involved in CSSC
I was introduced to CSSC through Philip Tidwell at the College of the Sequoias. My purpose in joining CSSC is to add the CA Green Party perspective to the foundation principles, motives, actions, and consequences as CSSC nurtures the sustainability of the three E(s): environment, economy, and equity.
The role of student action in sustainability
Student action invigorates every sustainability movement by transforming centers of education into opportunity hubs whereby local, regional, national, and global student consciousness-raising for an endless number of issues that nurture and nature the embodiment of up and coming environmental, economic, and equity interconnecting points. Here every sustainability movement pollinates with their community to flourish aspirations, commitments and outcomes.
The Areas of Sustainability That Interest Me Most:
Particularly, my interests intertwine around the practicality of nutritional, psychological, and sociological nature of sustainability lifestyle for myself, our immediate community around me, our regional community including our immediate community, our statewide community including our regional community, our country including our statewide community, and our global community including our country.
Projects I have worked on
Volunteered for CA Proposition 37
Raising College of the Sequoias consumer base consciousness about their right to demand and obtain a healthier campus food system.
Volunteering to maintain and expand the College of the Sequoias organic farm

Megan Hupp

Major: Nutrition Science
Hometown:
Visalia, CA
Graduation/Transfer: June 2014

About Me:


I am a child at heart and I tend to see the world through curious eyes. You’ll most likely find me doing homework, watching documentaries, dancing on a stage, riding a longboard, playing with my Beagle puppy, spending time with family, frolicking in meadows, and doing my best to eat nutritious foods.
How I got involved in CSSC
I got involved with the CSSC after my first convergence. It was in Spring of 2012 and the location was Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. It was one of the most eye-opening experiences I’ve ever been to and from then on I was devoted.
The role of student action in sustainability
I believe college students are some of the biggest activists left in this world. We are at a point where we are starting to figure out who we are, what we believe in, and what we see to be wrong with this planet. This specific generation of students is especially important to the sustainability movement because we are the ones at a crossroads with society: We can either decide to continue the route that involves destroying our natural resources and our bodies until the world will crumble before our children’s feet, or we can stand apart from the rest and take the route that is devoted to healing our planet and preserving it for many generations to come. Every student has the knowledge and capability to take the second route.

The Areas of Sustainability That Interest Me Most:

I am most interested in the area of sustainable eating. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve been concerned about what exactly I am consuming. My major as of now is Nutrition Science, but I’d like to also minor in either Food Systems or Conservation. Many people these days have no idea what they are putting into their bodies, and I’d really like to make my own unique contribution to changing that fact.

Projects I have worked on
College of the Sequoias has a lot of work to be done on its campus and more importantly, in its community. This college is located smack-dab on one of the biggest agriculture areas in the nation, and yet wholesome food is extremely hard to find. Our Sustainability Club on campus is somewhat small, but we have a lot of heart and dedication. We’ve been working on organizing an event for Earth Day 2013. This event will include some literature on the history of Earth Day, a live aquaponics systems, an off-campus food vendor, a few booths full of sustainable programs, and a movie showing of Gasland later that evening. Apart from that, I have been helping out at the COS Organic Farm, writing a paper on the history/importance of Earth Day, and doing my best to get my family members and peers on-board with the Sustainability movement.

UC San Diego

La Jolla, CA

Chapter Name: Student Sustainability Collective
Chapter Email: sscucsd@gmail.com UCSD
Chapter Website: http://studentsustainability.ucsd.edu/
Representatives: Sacha Manier and Andrew Uribe

Mission Statement

Our mission is to promote a comprehensive understanding of sustainability within the UCSD community while organizing and developing a network of collaborative efforts, in order to drive the implementation of sustainable practices and policies.

History/Achievements

The Student Sustainability Collective was formed in 2009 by a student referendum and the Sustainability Resource Center was formed one year later. Since then we have instituted the strongest Fair Trade policy at any University in the Nation. We have phased out water bottles in dining halls and our Housing and Dining and Hospitality will be plastic water bottle free by 2014. We have installed hydration stations throughout campus to promote reusable water bottle use. This year we have removed styrofoam from the campus, have passed a divestment resolution from fossil fuels through our Associated Students, and created a new position within A.S. called the AVP of Environmental and Social Justice Education. In 2013, we updated our mission statement and restructured our paid staff positions. We are currently in the works of rewriting our Charter.

Opportunities

We are currently hiring for next year’s collective and have internship opportunities available during the next school cycle. We have opportunities for education at our Sustainable Job Fair. Students can host a booth with information concerning different sustainability topics.

Current Projects

  • Water bottle Ban Divest from Fossil Fuels UC San Diego’s First Annual Sustainable Job Fair
  • Hosting Winona La Duke and Van Jones Panel
  • Advocacy for retrofits and alternative transportation
  • Anti Militarization Education
  • Anti Drone Panel with Amnesty International and Code Pink
  • Compost Program
  • Fair Trade audits, awareness, education, and expansion of policy
  • Reusable Dishware Rental Program
  • Education on borders and the social and environmental impacts
  • Food Justice
  • Restructuring our Charter

 

CSSC Council Representatives

Sacha Maniar

Major: International Studies
Hometown:
Saratoga, CA
Graduation/Transfer: June 2013

About Me

This is Sacha’s 4th year at UC San Diego. She has been involved in numerous on campus organizations (including the Student Sustainability Collective). Last year she went to Washington DC for UCDC and interned at the National Geographic. She also taught a middle school science class (creating the syllabus!) which included the simulation of dinosaur bone excavation. She spends her free time talking to her sister on the phone, performing songs in front of the mirror and playing games like taboo, cranium and apples to apples.

How I got Involved in CSSC

She started as at the Student Sustainability Collective as an intern in her 3rd year. She worked in civil and human rights. Today, she works as one of the Intersectionality Coordinators, a position a part of the CSSC. She attended her first Convergence in the fall.

The Role of Student Action in Sustainability

Students have the ability to push for sustainability today and in the future. When we strive for sustainability, companies, organizations, etc. will step up as well. Our passion now will translate to answers for the future. Not only this, but our people power and ability to organize can make actual change now (eg divesting from apartheid South Africa).

The Areas of Sustainability that Interest Me Most

I am focused on sustainability in terms of civil and human rights. I am most passionate about the environmental justice movement through dealing with environmental racism.

Projects I have worked on

I am working on presenting an environmental racism workshop to all of our college councils. I have also worked with the other Intersectionality Coordinators to promote our affiliates program, which helps to build our progressive community. I am also working on a Sustainable Job fair in May. The Student Sustainability Collective at UCSD is working to ban styrofoam on campus (it is almost all gone at this point), as well as installing hydration stations, banning selling plastic water bottles on the whole campus and strengthening our fair trade policy.

Andrew Uribe

Major: Psychology
Hometown: Pico Rivera, CA
Graduation/Transfer: June 2015

About Me:

I am a student at UCSD who became very politically active my first year and hope to continue as well as spread that energy. I play the trombone whenever I can and like drumming on anything I can get my hands on. I care about social sustainability and how it relates to many environmental issues as well.

How I got Involved in CSSC:

I joined the Student Sustainability Collective at UCSD which is affiliated with the CSSC. Since I joined as the position of Intersectionality Coordinator I was our groups representative. After jumping from group to group my first year I found out about the SSC and joined right up.

The Role of Student Action in Sustainability:

Students should be actively pushing for change at their campuses and communities. The fact the universities are tied into so many aspects of society empowers students to put pressure on administrations and get big changes.

The Areas of Sustainability that Interest Me Most:

I am interested in social sustainability, specifically the treatment of workers, unions, and other fair trade issues.

Projects I have worked on:

I help run the affiliate program at UCSD which connects us with a growing number of groups that all have to do with sustainability. I also help put on workshops to these groups and help plan our winter affiliate retreat. I also sit on a board that gives out TGIF grants.

Divestment is the Tactic, Climate Justice is the Goal

Divestment is the Tactic, Climate Justice is the Goal

April 9th through 11th, students at UC Berkeley will be asked to vote on a referendum in support of fossil fuel divestment at Cal and across the UC System. Student support for the referendum will send a clear message to UC administrators that students at one of the leading public institutions in the world stand in solidarity with people across the country, demanding comprehensive sustainable investment policies that eliminate the environmental and social injustices perpetuated by the fossil fuel industry.

 

Introduced by a coalition of environmental organizations at Cal, including the Student Environmental Resource Center (SERC), the ASUC Sustainability team (STeam) and Cal Students for Sustainable Investment, the referendum is the latest action in the Fossil Free divestment campaign at UC Berkeley to raise awareness about the importance of sustainable investment as a means to change the national and international dialogue and policy surrounding climate change. Katie Hoffman, SERC Chief of Staff, argues, “the tactic of divesting from fossil fuels is part of a larger international movement to advance climate justice and sustainable development—We want to send a clear message to the fossil fuel companies that our institutions will not invest money in an industry whose existence threatens our future.”

 

But why divest from the fossil fuel industry as a means to advance climate justice? Since the industrial revolution human activities, primarily the extraction and use of fossil fuels, has accelerated carbon dioxide emissions, leading to the irreversible warming of our planet. According to a recent report by the World Bank entitled “Turn Down the Heat,” at the continued rate of growth and fossil fuel consumption, human beings will likely cause 2-4 °C of warming by 2100. The effects of a warming planet have already manifested across the globe in the form of famine, rising sea levels, more frequent and intense weather patterns and species extinction. One only needs to think back to October 2012 when Hurricane Sandy ravaged the U.S. eastern seaboard.

At the local level, whether it’s idling trucks in West Oakland or toxic explosions at the Chevron refinery in Richmond, frontline communities and fossil fuel industry workers are continuously exposed to noxious chemicals that contribute to public health issues ranging from asthma to terminal cancer. At the international level, climate negotiations have consistently stalled with little discussion about the disproportionate burdens climate change has and will continue to have on marginalized peoples from California to the Maldives. In the U.S., denial of anthropogenic climate change is on the rise as the government has failed to pass comprehensive climate policies that address mitigation, adaptation, and our nation’s historical responsibility for producing roughly 30% of the world’s carbon emissions since the 19th century despite having roughly 5% of the world’s population.

Higher education institutions across the nation hold more than $400 billion in endowment assets. To date, more than 256 universities including schools with the largest endowments like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, are actively leading fossil fuel divestment campaigns to remove their tacit support for an industry whose public health, environmental and social impacts are felt by communities across the world.

Why divestment? History reminds us that student organizing around divestment has had a critical impact in advancing justice. In the 1980s, the UC system joined more than 150 institutions across the nation in divesting from companies profiting from South Africa’s oppressive apartheid regime. Because of students like those organizing around fossil fuel divestment today, UC Berkeley also screens investments from companies benefitting from business in Sudan and from the tobacco industry.

 

 

That’s why come April 9th-11th, I’m voting for the referendum to divest the UC from fossil fuels—because when one does the math, it makes little sense to support divestment from our future by investing in the fossil fuel industry.

 

 

Chris Peeden is a fourth year student in the College of Natural Resources and Operations Analyst at Skydeck | Berkeley.  

 

New Life

I have excuses. So many excuses. Here’s how they go: I really intended to be a good blogger, but then there is life. In between a new home, a new puppy, a new job, blogging fell by the wayside. But, there is more newness: a new garden!

Therefore, we can talk about new things! Is that a good enough excuse for the hiatus?

Here’s what I’m harvesting:
Carrots: Tendersweet and Nantes
Kale: Dino
Cilantro
Lettuce: Brune d’hiver
Broccoli: mystery!
Peas: super mystery! (I got the seeds at the National Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa, which I highly recommend you attend too).

Here’s what I have planted, either in beds already or in pots:
Beans: French fillet
Garlic: boring white, Purple Glazer, Bogatyr
Onions: torpedo, Walla Walla, and some other mysteries
Cabbage: Golden acre
Leek: Extra large Carentan
Parsnip: All American
Melons: Collective Farm Woman (big hopes for this one), Hale’s Best 45, Melon Ananas Amerique
Winter Squash: Kikuza, Jarrahdale, New England Sugar Pie, Burgess Buttercup
Summer Squash: Striata D’Italia, Table Dainty
Cukes: Suyo Long, De Bourbonne, Mexican Sour Gherkin
Tomatoes: San Marzano, Reisetomate (crazy looking!), Gezahnte, Ox heart, Cherokee Purple, Candy Sweet, Ananas Noire
Spicy Peppers: Thai Burpa, Yellow Cayenne, Shishito, Sante Fe Grande, Pasilla Bajio
Sweet Pepper: Italian Pepperchini, Red Mini, Jimmy Nardello

Perennials:
Artichoke: Purple Globe
Rhubarb
Black Currant: Ben Sarek
White Currant: Pink Champagne
Late season Raspberry: Taylor
Summer bearing Black berry: triple crown
Fruit Salad Tree with grafts of plum, yellow peach, white peach, and nectarine
Santa Rosa Plum
Hardy Kiwi (different than regular kiwi, “fur-less” and small)
Meyer Lemon
Two types of Grapes

And don’t even get me started on the flower garden. See, I have been busy!
Here’s how I’ve been dealing with the loads of peas I’ve been picking lately:
For this recipe, you will need:
2 large handfuls of fresh peas, picked over, rinsed, and stringed if necessary
2 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons soy sauce, tamari, or Bragg’s

Tools:
Steaming Basket (aka, space ship!)
Pot with a lid the steamer fits in
Timer
Knife
Cutting board
Salad bowl
Garlic press
Lemon reamer or other juicing device
Measuring spoons or the willingness to guess

Process:
1. Put the salad bowl (preferably not plastic) in the fridge.
2. Rinse the peas and string them if need be. If you never strung peas before, here’s a quick primer: find the stem end and pull towards the opposite end so a fiber pulls away from the pod. Repeat, ad nasuem. Obviously, this is better with another mental stimulation going on. Might I suggest The Young Turks?
3. Start heating 1 inch of water in the pot and cover about five minutes before you think you will be finished stringing peas
4. Pile the peas into the steamer and place in the now boiling steam bath. Set the timer for 2 minutes.
5. Remove the peas immediately and place in the cold salad bowl.
6. Add the garlic (remember, no peeling necessary if you use a garlic press!), lime juice, and soy sauce.
7. Enjoy with your lovers and friends!

Earth Day

Our New Community Survey

We want to hear from YOU.

snowflake

The CSSC is a community and this community has needs. So to better serve those needs, we are asking current students to fill out this survey. This information collected will help the CSSC meet the needs of student organizers across our state and shape our upcoming steps for the year.

 

So if you want to help-out click here and spend a few minutes to fill out the survey!

2013 Winter Leadership Retreat

 

Family Photo

 

The CSSC leadership retreats are a space for leaders working on sustainability initiatives on their campuses to come together with other leaders working on similar projects throughout the state

During breakout sessions and workshops retreat attendees have the ability to shape the CSSC by setting goals for the organization and policies to help achieve those goals.  Those who attend are also able to and encouraged to become part of the leadership of the CSSC whether that’s in the Operating Team or council.

Our Winter Leadership retreat took from the 17th of January to the 21st at Dancing Deer Farm in Templeton. True to the name of our host’s farm every morning while cooking breakfast in the amazing kitchen provided for us we had an amazing view through the windows that allowed us to see deer frolicking at the bottom of the valley.

Starting Friday morning those who arrived early help build a vermiculture or worm composting bin for our hosts. After a day of hard work a wonderful dinner was prepared that lead into a wonderful square dance, line dance lesson hosted by our own Steve Varhoven and Meredith Jacobsen. Saturday morning began with a great breakfast created by fabulous cooks that moved into a visioning of the next steps for the CSSC and what we as students and members of the world wide community would like to see the world look like, and how the CSSC can help get us there.  This discussion lead us into another amazing meal or two before we began on creating goals that help get us and the CSSC moving towards these new visions. The major voice that came out of these discussions was the fact that the CSSC needs to work harder to include two E’s of sustainability that haven’t made much of an appearance within the organization. These two are Economy and Equity because the CSSC is mostly made up of environmental organizations these two E’s have been over shadowed by the third E which stands for Environmental. Saturdays’ work ended with Operating team elections with many new faces joining the Operating team that it looks like it will be a very productive cycle. One of the most important election is that of our Convergence Coordinator, and to this role we elected Zen Trenholm for the upcoming Berkeley Convergence the date is already set for April 26th-28th(So stay tuned!). Sunday lead us into discussions of how to better integrate the aspects of Equity and Economy into the CSSC.

WLR1 (3)

Every retreat has a touching moment for me and this retreat had many but what stood out to me the most was the moment that I realized all the work that I have done on my campus has finally turned into something.  Since I joined the CSSC it has been a grueling process to get people from my school involved, so on Saturday night when I stepped out of the kitchen to take a break from cooking dinner to listen in to the elections and heard both of the people I had brought from school become new members of the Operating Team I had to take a second to catch myself as I was flooded with joy.

All in all this was one of the most productive retreats I’ve been to with some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. As always it’s a reenergizing, revitalizing, reconnecting, love filled food filled learning, teaching and growing experience!

Love and Pizza

Forward on Climate–National Call and Rally Roundup!


FEBRUARY 7 – Lots of amazing things happening around the nation, as young people are jumping into the new year in a really big way! Join us for national calls, and make a stand for bold climate action at solidarity rallies in LA, SF, and SD! More details after the jump.

FORWARD ON CLIMATE VIDEO

First things first:

Join us tonight for what’s sure to be an inspirational national call with our partners at the Energy Action Coalition as we launch what’s bound to be a huge year for the youth sustainability movement! Featuring the Sierra Club’s Michael Brune, Idle No More’s Crystal Lameman, and student organizers of the Power Up! National Divestment Convergence, this is one you’re going to want to listen in on. RSVP now, and join us at 5:00PM PST. The number is (916) 235-1003 and passcode: 655362# OR 475172#.

You might have heard about the HUGE “Forward on Climate” rally planned by 350.org, Sierra Club and Hip Hop Caucus for February 17th in Washington D.C.–the largest climate rally in history!

We encourage everyone to attend the D.C. rally (http://act.350.org/signup/presidentsday), but for those unable to make the journey you can still stand in solidarity and make history right here in California.

Interested? There are three rallies here at home, here’s bound to be one near you—Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego. Join forces with members of over 100 environmental, human rights, and social justice organizations to demand action on climate change!

 

Los Angeles:
Where: Olvera Street – Paseo De La Plaza
When: Sunday, February 17, 2013 @1:00PM – 3:00PM
INFO & RSVP: http://www.wilderutopia.com/politics/forward-on-climate-february-17th-rally-in-dc-and-los-angeles/
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/events/545359235484063/

San Francisco:
Where: 1 Market Street (next to the Embarcadero BART, map)
When: Sunday, February 17, 2013 @1:00PM – 3:00PM
INFO & RSVP: http://action.sierraclub.org/site/Calendar?id=167121&view=Detail

San Diego
Where: Mission Bay Park Visitors Center, Mission Bay Dr & Clairemont Dr, San Diego CA 92109
When: Sunday, February 17, 2013 @1:00PM – 3:00PM
INFO & RSVP: http://sandiego350.org/ai1ec_event/keystone-pipeline-protest/?instance_id=
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/SanDiego350

Can’t attend? Want to do more? Call all your friends and ask them to come! Also stay tuned for phone bank information to help remind folks in the D.C. area about the rally.

Got any questions? Email info@sustainabilitycoalition.org and we can help you recruit at your campus, publicize the events, and find transportation. Hope to see you there!

 

Kori Lay, Regional Event Coordinator, Central Coast

SCHOOL: UCSB, 6/2014
MAJOR
: Chemistry and Enviromental Studies 
HOMETOWN: 
Port Washington

About Me

When I was in elementary school, my brothers told me that their favorite animals were tigers and lions. Upon hearing this, I asked them what animal could beat a tiger and a lion in a fight. My brother said a polar bear, and ever since then my favorite animal has been a polar bear! I think it is quite fitting because I am very passionate about environmental issues and polar bears are often connected with climate change. My dream is to save the polar bears 🙂

How I got Involved with the CSSC

I went to the convergence at Butte and fell in love with the mission and the community of CSSC!

 

Area of Sustainability That Interests Me Most

I am most interested in the environmental aspect of sustainability. The earth is everyone’s home and without it we cannot survive. The world is filled with so much beauty and I want to help sustain that beauty!

 

Role of Student Action in sustainability:

Students have so much power on their campus and in their community. When students from various schools come together, their voice grows exponentially and can be heard across the country! With this power comes the responsibility to educate and to provoke change in our institutions and in our communities.

 

Sustainability Projects ive worked on:

I am currently involved in the divestment campaign

Co-Sign The Open Letter To Obama Calling For Bold Climate Action!- 350.org

Help Encourage the President to take action on Climate Change.

 

350.org is calling for everyone to Co-Sign a letter to President Obama to urge “him to take bold action to confront climate change now.”

With the President’s promise to challenge  Climate Change during the inauguration it is now the time to hold him to his promise.  Help do this by signing the letter here:

http://act.350.org/signup/an-open-letter-to-president-obama

Earth Day

Save the Date! Strengthening the Roots Seed and Justice Convergence

Hey There!

That’s right, it’s happening once again: the 6th annual Strengthening the Roots Seed and Justice Convergence will be taking place at UC Santa Cruz from February 22-24, 2013. 

Maybe you’ve been to a convergence in previous years, and you remember the inspiring speakers, interactive workshops, bomb food, and interesting and excellent people you met there. For the new folks, Strengthening the Roots is weekend-long student organized event that brings together students, community members, seed savers, gardeners, farmers, and food justice activists to share skills and resources while building relationships with one another.

sustainability and Justice Convergence

This year, some particularly exciting components of the summit include:

~ Speaker Panel on Saturday, February 23 from 7-10pm – including Dr. Vandana Shiva

~ Seed and Culture Exchange – Saturday, February 23 from 5-6:45 pm

~ A series of interactive workshops in seed saving/stewardship, creating local seed library and cooperative networks, creating and managing student-gardens/farms, building beginner farmer programs, and developing fair trade systems.

~ Open spaces for dialogue allowing for participants to actively facilitate discussions and take action on meaningful topics.

 Whether you’re new to the food movement or an old hand, this is not an opportunity to be missed!

To Register: please visit this linkPlease note that Registration closes Jan. 30th. Make sure to register early!

For updates about the conference and more information about the program, check out our Facebook event.

Questions? email strengthenroots@gmail.com.

Students Move to Divest at the Claremont “7C’s”

by Hilary Haskell, CSSC Council Member for the Claremont College Consortium

Across the United States, students from various colleges and universities are saying “Yes!” to ask their presidents, deans, and boards of trustees to divest. Recently, this movement spread to the Claremont Consortium of five undergraduate colleges (Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, Pomona, and Scripps) and two graduate universities (Keck Graduate Institute and Claremont Graduate University), collectively known as the “7C’s.” Here, the student movement to make the “7C’s Fossil Free!” by removing their investments in the unsustainable fossil fuels industry began to gain traction earlier this fall.

Bill McKibben, noted climate change expert and author of titles such as Eaarth and Fight Global Warming Now, started 350.org, now one of the main organizations behind the divestment movement.  350 may seem like a strange name for an organization, but remains fundamentally relevant to climate change science: this number signifies the maximum amount of carbon dioxide in parts per million that the atmosphere can reasonably sustain, without drastically altering the future of global climate and the life it supports. Carbon dioxide and stock holdings probably do not seem all that related to one another and rightly so. Divestment is a new tactic to ending dependence on fossil fuels. However, it was utilized in the 1980s to build an effective that ended racial segregation in the form of Apartheid in South Africa. Higher education pledged to end its financial support in companies supporting Apartheid, thus putting economic pressure on South Africa to take legislative measures against the injustice. 350.org and other organizations including the CSSC are now mobilizing this tactic as a means of ending America’s dependence on fossil fuels, by engaging passionate and enthusiastic students.

The California Student Sustainability Coalition runs an “End Coal” campaign that mobilizes students at University of California campuses to push for system-wide divestment from the fossil fuel industry. This campaign started in the summer of 2011 and will likely gain momentum as the divestment movement continues to get nation-wide attention through 350.org’s campaign. If you’d like to learn more about the CSSC’s End Coal campaign or get involved, check out this page on our website.

Already, numerous colleges and universities are joining the divestment efforts. The campaign is gaining national attention, with articles in The Rolling Stone, Huffington Post, and New York Times. These articles recently noted the Claremont colleges and universities for their effective and innovative efforts. Without a doubt, the Claremont Consortium will be able to continue to take the lead in encouraging and taking part in these efforts. Three students from the Claremont Colleges, Jess Grady-Benson (Pitzer, ‘14), Kai Orans (Pomona, ‘14), and Meagan Tokunaga (Pomona, ‘15) have initiated the movement on the Claremont campuses. After leading a rally and attending a presentation by Bill McKibben on November 11th at UCLA as part of 350.org’s “Do the Math Tour”, the Claremont students were motivated to “do the math” themselves based on McKibben’s climate change statistics and work to bring a halt to unsustainable investments and their role in planet-threatening climate change.

Photo credit 350.org

The divestment movement is young – at the Claremont Consortium and at other colleges and universities. After only a few months of action, the students of the Consortium have already made themselves known. To gain initial attention, students tabled at dining halls and in high-traffic areas on campus to raise awareness as well as gain momentum. Then, students gathered together with their newly garnered support to process through the campuses, guided by candle light, chanting “What do we want? Divestment! When do we want it? Now!” and “Divest the West.” During this cross-campus journey, the students also presented letters to the college presidents asking that they put divestment on the agenda for consideration by financial stakeholders. The students plan to meet with Pitzer’s president in January, and the investment committee will review the topic in February. At Pomona, the students have been invited to meet with the Social Responsibility Committee in regards to Divestment. By painting murals that read sayings such as “Fossil Free” and “Divest” on Walker Wall, a highly frequented area of the campuses, there is already a lasting impression. Facebook pages, outreach to clubs related to sustainability, and articles in campus newspapers and magazines have made students realize the importance of divestment. Furthermore, with a new semester approaching and countless students with a variety of different skills and perspectives on board from the Claremont Consortium, the divestment movement promises to bring even more success in the fight against climate change.

If you are interested in more information, please check out the Claremont Colleges Divestment Campaign on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DivestTheClaremontColleges?fref=ts

Or contact Jess Grady-Besnon at jgradyb@students.pitzer.edu.

Also, please support the efforts by signing the petition here: http://act.gofossilfree.org/sign/Fossil_Free_Claremont/


 

CSU Chico

STUDENT GROUP: AS Sustainability
COUNCIL REP: Aurelia
CURRENT PROJECTS:

  • Compost Display Area & Garden
  • This Way to Sustainability Conference
  • Organic Vegetable Project
  • CFL Take-it-Back

WEBSITE: AS Sustainability

CONTACT: csuchico@sustainabilitycoalition.org

UC San Diego

STUDENT GROUP: Student Sustainability Coalition
COUNCIL REPS: Stuart & Zainab
CURRENT PROJECTS:

  • Student Worker Cooperative
  • The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF)
  • Urban Farm
  • Campus Garden
  • Fair Trade Policy
  • Cycling for Commuters Workshops

WEBSITE: Student Sustainability Coalition

CONTACT: ucsandiego@sustainabilitycoalition.org

UC Los Angeles

STUDENT GROUP: E3 – Ecology, Economy, Equity
COUNCIL REPS: Kelsey Ivan & Yasar Mohebi
CURRENT PROJECTS:

  • Campus Garden
  • Fair Trade Campaign
  • The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF)
  • Garden Mentorship Program
  • UCLA Food Co-Op
  • Project Greenlight (elementary school education)

WEBSITE: E3 – Ecology, Economy, Equity

CONTACT: uclosangeles@sustainabilitycoalition.org

UC Berkeley


STUDENT GROUP: ASUC Sustainability Team (STeam)
COUNCIL REP: Meredith Jacobson
CURRENT PROJECTS:

  • End Coal Campaign
  • Fair Trade School
  • Compost
  • Reducing Plastic Consumption

WEBSITE: ASUC STeam

CONTACT: ucberkeley@sustainabilitycoalition.org

Kevin Killion, Op Team Co-Chair


To use all the skills, allies, Love, Creativity, and Imagination to help facilitate the grandest Convergence the CSSC has known.

 

PAST ROLES: Council Member, Co-Convergence Coordinator, Happiness Coordinator
SCHOOL:  CSU Chico
MAJOR
: Environmental Science
HOMETOWN: 
Chico, CA

 

About Me

Kevin Killion was born and raised in the fertile soil and environment of Chico California, where he lead a passionate and confused life. Prior to the CSSC there was an organization at Butte called the Student Alliance for Sustainability, the sasyist folks at Butte College. Yet they were going no where, tangenting and rambling meeting hours away. A long time guru of the Butte campus, Morgoth, took a dozen students from Butte and they found themselves in Washington DC at Powershift. After sever days of workshops, bonding, and chanting SUSTAINABILLABUDDIES! we grew stronger. We meet the CSSC an efficient and driven organization. And we learned from each other. These skills were brought home to Butte College where they were put to the test.

Though they are not the most efficient bunch the SAS club evolved that year and became the Butte college CSSC Monster we know today. They grew stronger every week, using new templates and blue prints provided from the strong organization. And now we are here, Here and Now. And Now three students from butte college are about to host the most amazing and mind blowing convergence ever dreamt! Love

How I Got Involved In CSSC

Our struggling club from Butte college found the CSSC on the other side of the country, in Washington DC, for the 2011 powershift! it has since changed my world to work with some of the best and brightest students on the ground floor of the youth sustainability movement. There is not an organization I have more faith in the individual members of the CSSC! UBUNTU

The Area of Sustainability That Interests Me Most

Social Justice, Leadership and Empowerment

The Role of Student Action in Sustainability

We are the movers and the shakers. It is our work to share the illumination and empowerment we have received with all the beings we can.

Sustainability Projects I’ve Worked On

  • Powershift
  • Peace on Earth Bench

Soy Milk and Cookies

What does the bowl full of jelly Santa want? Full milk with cream on the top and buttery, overly sweet, cookies, left for him on the fireplace.
What does svelte, vegan Santa want? An ice-cold glass of homemade soymilk and tasty vegan cookies made with care.

Homemade soymilk is not as elusive as it might seem. Once the simple tools for the process are assembled, making milk can easily be part of your weekly routine. It took me a bit of practicing to get it right and now I make it at least once a week for all my coffee, tea, and cooking needs. You can even control the amount of creaminess by the volume of water added to the beans.

Vegan cookies, made with the soymilk, are it’s natural pair during any part of the year. The recipe below I use to make many different types of cookies by changing the flavors. Craving double chocolate brownie cookies? Add cocoa and chocolate chips. Lemon poppy seed seem tasty? Add zest and poppy seeds to the dough and top each cookie with a dab of lemon juice and powdered sugar glaze. Got ginger snaps on the mind? Ginger (both crystallized and fresh grated), allspice, and molasses get added to the mix and the dough is rolled in sugar before baking. One recipe, so many options.

Homemade soymilk

For this recipe, you will need:
1 ½ cups whole, dry soybeans
Water
Pinch salt
¼ cup sugar or other sweetener (optional)
8 daily calcium daily vitamins (optional, I add calcium because although I eat a lot of greens, I like to enrich my milk a bit because I like my spine nice and straight)

Tools:
Large bowl
Blender
Very large pot
Wooden spoon
Mesh strainer
Mesh tea strainer (small, with a very fine mesh, fits into the top of the mason jar)
½ gallon mason jar
Ladle

Process:
1. Rinse the soybeans in water. Pour fresh water over the soybeans in the bowl and let soak overnight.
2. Drain the beans and rinse.
3. Add 8 cups water (preferably filtered if you water tastes a little funky. Water imparts a lot of flavor to soymilk) to the beans.
4. Pour into the blender and whir until very smooth.
5. Pour into the pot and cook over medium heat. Add the salt, sugar and vitamins. Watch the pot and stir often to avoid boil overs.
6. Boil for 30 minutes.
7. Strain first through the large strainer into the bowl. Compost the solids.
8. Place the tea strainer on the Mason jar.
9. Ladle the milk from the bowl and strain into the Mason jar.
10. Refrigerate for up to 7 days, shaking before each use.

Double Chocolate Brownie Cookies (modified from HonestFare)

For this recipe, you will need:

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup maple or agave syrup
3 tablespoons soymilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips

Tools:
Measuring utensils
Rubber spatula
Bowl
Cookie sheet
Metal spatula
Cooling rack

Process
1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. In the bowl, beat together the sugar, oil, syrup, soymilk, and vanilla extract.
3. Add the salt, flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda and stir until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
4. Roll dough into balls 1 inch in diameter. Place 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.
5. Bake 8 minutes until they look slightly dry on the top, but are still very moist in the interior.
6. Remove from the cookie sheet with the metal spatula and cool on the cooling rack.
7. Store in an airtight container or eat immediately. I prefer the second option.

Thanks to Rachel Silverstein for the charming illustrations.

Holiday Homemade Gift Guide

Happy non-denominational, winter season festivities!

Since it seems to be the season of excess, let’s try not to add to the pile of hyper processed foods and unwanted, meaningless gifts from a big box store. Not only should good presents be useful and from the heart, they should be economical and ecological. Here’s a baby-sized list to get the creative juices flowing.

Homemade deodorant
Yes, yes I know that this can imply that the person that you are giving this to might be a little stinky, but let’s look at the bright side – this gift is easy to make, is useful on a daily basis and can be presented in a classy way. Also, this recipe doesn’t have any questionable ingredients and definitely no nasty carcinogens. Who wants cancer for a gift? No one, that’s who.

This recipe has two options, either a power or stick deodorant. I prefer the powder and I keep a small piece of felt in the jar for application. For the stick version, you will need coconut oil and an empty deodorant container.

For this recipe, you will need:
¼ cup baking soda (for odor neutralization)
¼ cup cornstarch (for moisture absorption)
A few drops tea tree oil or lavender essential oil (for scent masking and antibacterial properties)
2 tablespoons coconut oil (optional)

Tools:
Measuring cup
Spoon
Bowl
Small jar with a lid (I used a 1 cup wide mouth canning jar) or an empty deodorant container, if using the coconut oil

Process:
1. Combine the baking soda and cornstarch in the bowl.
2. Stir in the tea tree or lavender oil into the dry mixture.
3. Either stop and pour into your jar or mash in 1 tablespoon coconut oil with the back of the spoon. Coconut oil can be warmed under hot water or in a microwave to make mixing easier.
4. If your mixture is not yet a paste, continue adding small amounts of coconut oil until it holds shape.
5. Press into the deodorant container.

Infused oils, spirits and extracts.
For the person who can’t stay out of the kitchen, a perfect present could be a oil, spirit or extract of the their favorite flavors. The following recipes are just suggestions and should not limit your imagination. In general, you cannot do too much wrong to these concepts.

Chipotle Infused Olive Oil

For this recipe, you will need:
2 dried chipotles
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Tools:
Funnel
Bottle
Cork or capable spout

Process:
1. Push the peppers into the bottle. (If you are using another flavoring like herbs, citrus peels or spices, make sure that they are dry)
2. Add oil using the funnel.
3. Cork and let sit in a cool, dark place for 6-8 weeks before using.

Spiced Pear Brandy

For this recipe, you will need:
1 star anise
1 stick cinnamon
4 cloves
1 small chunk fresh ginger
1 pear, cubed (my favorite is comice)
Enough brandy to submerge the flavorings, about 4 cups

Tools:
Quart canning jar
Bottle for giving in (optional)
Strainer

Process:
1. Pour spices and pear cubes into the canning jar
2. Add brandy and close container.
3. Let sit in a cool, dark place for 6-8 weeks before using. Strain and pour into an attractive (reused!) container, if desired.
4. P.S. my favorite way to drink this is with a little peach or pear soda over ice with a few of the pear chunks on top. Tastes just like pie!

Vanilla Extract

For this recipe, you will need:
1 vanilla bean (Fair Trade, if available)
½ cup vodka

Tools:
Funnel
Small Bottle
Cork or capable spout

Process:
1. Score the vanilla bean lightly so that more surfaces are exposed, but the seeds are not released. Place in the bottle
2. Add vodka using the funnel.
3. Cork and let sit in a cool, dark place for 6-8 weeks before using.

The senior, athlete, insomniac, or heat challenged person in your life might very well need a grain-heating bag. This bag can be popped in a microwave and will stay warm for at least an hour. Suggestions for the receiver are to heat one up to brave the outdoors or a chilly car, to help them lower the thermostat in comfort, and to pre-heat beds for sweet dreams. I like to sew seams along the length to keep the grains in place, but that step is completely optional.

For this project, you will need:
A piece of fabric, 36 1/2 inches long by 8 inches wide. The fabric must be made of a natural fiber like cotton, hemp, linen, or bamboo and have a very small weave.
Cotton sewing tread
6 cups whole wheat grains (if your receiver has wheat allergies, use brown rice)
2 tablespoons lavender buds, rose petals, or other fragrant botanical (optional)

Tools:
Sewing machine or needle (and patience)
Ruler
Scissor
Pins
Iron (helpful, but not necessary)
Large bowl
1 cup measuring cup

Process:
1. Sew a ¼ inch seam around 3 edges of the fabric to make a large tube.
2. Measure and mark every 6 inches on the tube.
3. Mix together the wheat and herbs in the bowl.
4. Add 1 cup of the grains to the tube.
5. Sew a seam at the next 6 inch mark.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until the last mark is reached.
7. Turn the edges in, pin, and close up the tube.
8. The grain bag is microwaved for 5 minutes for maximum satisfaction.

Community Ratatouille

Like I’ve mentioned before, the CSSC has a long history of eating well. Not only can we make some mean potluck dishes and serve hundreds on donated food, we feed our leaders family style meals during our summer and winter leadership retreats. For some of us, eating our favorite CSSC meals evokes the community that we miss.

One of the primary ways that the CSSC stays in touch with one another is through conference calls. I think that perhaps we should start a tradition of making and eating the same or similar meals and enjoying them together. A virtual potluck, right?

When we plan these meals, we think of two things: how can we get that food and how are we going to cook it. We take very simple (but incredibly yummy) recipes and make sure that we can scale them up. I like to make stew-y dishes like ratatouille because it is just one huge pot of love. Add the polenta and you are looking at only two pots to clean. For summer retreats ratatouille is perfect; we get to enjoy summer and fall’s best with eggplant, peppers, squash, and tomatoes.

Coincidentally, I had my first bite of ratatouille with CSSC-ers. I did some “urban camping” with a CSSC friend and we rendezvoused at another CSSC’s house in the Portland area. Her mother whipped us up a delicious ratatouille, perfect for the crowd of vegetarians that swarmed her home.

I hope this recipe comes to represent for you what it does for me: the best of late summer and early fall, community, and friendship.

Sauté Together:
Swig of olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 bay leaf

Cook over medium high heat until the onion is beginning to caramelize.

Then add:
1 medium eggplant, cubed
1 zucchini, cubed
1 bell pepper, in strips
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes or fresh tomatoes, quartered

Cook until eggplant is soft and tender.
Add:
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with Polenta, or top with a poached egg and cheese sauce.

Polenta:
5 cups water
1 ½ cups course cornmeal
½ tsp. salt
pepper to taste.

Bring 4 cups of water to a rolling boil. Mix together the remaining cup of water with the cornmeal and pour into the water. Stir continuously with a whisk to beat out lumps. Boil for about 10 minutes until thick. Add salt and pepper.

Left over polenta can be cut into slices and fried in olive oil for a tasty snack.

Thanks to Rachel for the beautiful cartoons – you’re the bestest!

Summer/Fall-is-way-too-corny-taco-soup

Please forgive the fact that this post was written, but not posted, long ago. As an update, our warm fall and wet spring this year allowed a long harvest period. Enjoy!

Summer-is-way-too-corny-taco-soup

Don’t get me wrong, I love my CSA. I love that it is produced by my university’s student farm, I love that it allows me to eat with the seasons, I love that I can pick it up on my bike ride home from campus because fossil fuels don’t get the time of day with my veggies. What I don’t love is the quantities of some things that we get. Can two people really eat 7 ears of corn, 5 squash, two huge bags of tomatoes, cukes, tomatillos, green beans, onions, garlic, basil, 2 different types of eggplant, sweet and spicy peppers, melons, apples, jujubes, and grapes like we received this week? No, they cannot – at least not without the aid of this soup.

Soup in summer does seem like a bit of sweaty drag, but trust me on this one. Take a cue from traditional foods in hot countries, India’s fiery curries, Thailand’s almost unbearable chili sauces, and Mexico’s potent moles. To get relieve in summer, you must sweat it out. Hot soup + hot spices = healthy pores. Grab a gallon of water, a bucket of ice, a (reusable) straw, and this soup and start the cooling goodness that doesn’t completely ruin your energy bill or the planet.

Patty Pat the Squash always knew she'd be the prima ballerina of the soup troupe.

For this recipe, you will need:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 ears of corn
1 large or 2 small sweet peppers
1 jalapeno, minced
1 summer squash
2 tomatoes
1 tablespoon taco seasoning (This is sold in the bulk section in my grocery store and is salt free, feel free to use the kind that comes in packets, just make sure to check the salt and bouillon levels!)
1 ½ tablespoon Better Than Bouillon (my favorite broth product), 1 ½ cups vegetable stock, or 1 ½ bouillon cubes
3 cups water for the bouillon options or 1½ cups water for the stock option

Toppings
Dairy free sour cream (I like Better than Cream Cheese by Tofutti)
½ cup cilantro
Avocado
Hot sauce
Nutritional yeast

Tools:
Large stockpot or Dutch oven
Spoon
Knife
Mandolin (optional, but very helpful)
Garlic press

Process:
1. Heat oil in the pan over medium high heat.
2. Chop onion and sauté until golden brown.
3. Meanwhile, remove the kernels from the ear of corn. De-stem and remove the white pith and seeds from all the peppers. Chop the sweet peppers and mince the jalapeno.
4. Add the garlic and corn. Sauté until the corn is starting to caramelize.
5. Slice the squash into very thin rounds, less than 1/8th of an inch is ideal. The mandolin is the best tool for this job.
6. Add the taco seasoning to the pot. Cook until the spices are fragrant.
7. Stir in the squash and peppers. Sauté for about 2 minutes and then add the broth and water or the bouillon and water.
8. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the squash and the peppers are tender.
9. Serve in large bowls and top with sour cream, cilantro, avocado, hot sauce, and/or nutritional yeast.
10. Enjoy with your favorite folks

Monumental thanks to Rachel for the cute cartoons.

Picnic Part Three! Faux crab cakes and dessert.

Can you really have a picnic without faux crab cakes and fondue? My guess is yes, but I wouldn’t want to risk it.

The faux crab cakes are one of my favorite make for dinner now and enjoy for lunch later recipes. Even though there is nothing that beats crunchy, freshly pan-fried goodness, a squeeze of lemon juice on these puppies with a salad or rice is phenomenal in its own right. This recipe does contain one egg. If you are an egg-free person, feel free to substitute the egg with soy egg replacer or with dairy-free creamer. I don’t suggest just using dairy free milk; there are more binding properties in the creamer.

Fondue on a picnic? How? I am the proud owner of a backpacking stove and it allows me to give my picnics a little more pizazz. After I made the fondue at home, I packed it in a canning jar. I also packed a small pot for a makeshift baine maire (or water bath). When fondue time came, we warmed some water in the pot and plopped in the fondue jar. Make sure that the water level is not too high and doesn’t overflow into the fondue! We used chopsticks to dip fruits and sweets into the fondue, but fondue fork would be great or fingers for the decidedly not classy. I think that this would be sensational during a backpacking trip too, if you are more into gourmet than grime on the trail.

Faux Crab Cakes
(significantly modified from Plenty, by Yotam Ottegli)

This is what you will need for about four servings:
2/3 cups dry quinoa
1 leek or 4 small green onions
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon chopped chili or chili paste like sambal oelek or sriracha (or to taste)
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 egg
½ teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup panko or bread crumbs
1-3 cups canola, peanut or another neutral flavored oil
Lemon wedges

Tools:
1 colander or sieve
1 medium saucepan
1 medium bowl
Spoon
1 medium sized, edged plate or pie pan
Cast iron frying pan
Spatula
Wire cookie cooling rack or folded paper towels

Process:
1. Wash the quinoa of its bitter, natural pesticide by rinsing under cold water in the colander. Rubbing the grain with your hands improves washing.
2. Place rinsed quinoa in the saucepan, and add 1 1/3 cups cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until the grains are not chewy, but the quinoa has not yet lost its ‘tails’. Lose tails are a sign of over cooking.
3. Drain the quinoa in the colander and rinse with cold water. Let cool.
4. Cut the top (about ¼ to ½ inch below the first leaf split) and the roots off the leek. Cut in half. Rinse the halved leek under water to remove any residual grit. The whole green onion can be used. Cut either into 1/8 inch slices.
5. Mix together the quinoa, leeks, flour, chili, parsley, egg, and salt into a bowl. The mixture should stay together. If the mixture is too wet or dry, add flour or non-dairy milk teaspoon-wise until manageable.
6. Heat the frying pan over medium high heat with about ½ inch of oil in it. Try to maintain this level of oil throughout the frying process
7. Form balls ¼ cup to 2 tablespoons (choose a size and stick with it) in size with your hands. Pour the panko or breadcrumbs into the pie pan and press each ball into the crumbs until 1 inch thick. Roll the patty on the sides for extra crispiness.
8. Test the oil by placing a leek slice in the pan. It should sputter and have bubbles forming around it if the pan is hot enough.
9. Fry the cakes. Be sure not to over crowd the pan. Each cake should be at least 1 inch away from its neighbors. Flip cakes when golden brown on one side and remove when both sides are golden brown. The center should be firm when cut in half. Drain to remove excess oil on the rack or paper towels.
10. Note that the cakes will cook faster as more particulates build up in the pan. I suggest turning down the heat a bit after each frying round to avoid burnt cakes.
11. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing.

Picnic Fondue

This is what you will need for about four servings:
1 cup non dairy creamer or milk (I like almond, hemp and coconut milk)
2/3 cup chocolate or carob chips, preferably Fair Trade
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons coffee, orange, or raspberry liquor (optional)

Dip-ables
Sliced fruit such as peaches, nectarines, bananas, pears, apricots, kiwis, or plums depending on the time of year.
Washed berries such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, mulberries, or blueberries, depending on the time of year.
Vanilla or chocolate cookies or wafers
Vegan marshmallows
Peanut or other nut butter
Tools:
At home –
1 medium saucepan
1 whisk
1 rubber spatula
1 canning jar
Plastic or glass container for the prepared dip-ables

At the picnic/campsite
Camp stove
Flint, matches or lighter
Small pan
Water
Spoon
Chopsticks, fondue forks or fingers (spoon needed for the nut butters)

Process
1. Place the creamer or milk and chocolate/carob in a saucepan and heat over medium low heat. Stir constantly to prevent the chocolate from burning. Use the whisk to break up chocolate lumps and the spatula to scrape the bottom.
2. When all the chocolate is melted, remove from the heat and add the cinnamon, vanilla and/or liquor.
3. Pour the fondue into a canning jar and refrigerate.
4. Prepare the fruit by washing, slicing, and peeling to your preference.
At the picnic site:
5. Set up the camp stove and start a medium flame, according to the directions.
6. Place the canning jar in the small pot. Fill with water so that you can comfortably stir and not get any water into the canning jar. Place over the stove.
7. Stir using the spoon to again prevent the chocolate from burning or over heating. When all of the fondue is melted, remove the pot from the stove, but leave the jar in the water. This will extend your dipping time.
8. Dip your dip-ables and marvel in your gourmet-ness. I especially love dipped nut butters – it is like a made to order peanut butter cup!
9. Share with friends.

Thanks to Rachel Silverstein for the chocolate loving marshmallow!

Picnic Party Part 2 of 3

Welcome to part two of the picnic adventure!
Last time I shared the recipes for gazpacho and grilled veggies, which we will be using for the potato and corn salads.

Classic potato salad, while delicious, is a big pile of unhealthy. With tons of eggs and oil in the mayo, topped with more hard-boiled eggs, potato salad is neither vegan nor heart healthy. The eggs also increase the chances of food poisoning, not the best choice for a picnic on a hot day. This salad, on the other hand, contains no eggs and won’t make you fall asleep a saturated fat food coma.

The corn salad is light and crisp with smoky undertones from the barbecued corn. The best corn is fresh corn. Corn’s sweetness decreases exponentially after it is picked and the sweetest corn is eaten within 24 hours of picking. When selecting corn at the market, don’t shuck the corn there! Shucking the corn is the vegetable equivalent of peeling a banana in the store; it is just a bad idea. Instead, firmly press your fingers against the ear. Feel for evenly formed kernels with no humps and bumps. If you must pull back the husks, use your finger nail to puncture one kernel – it should burst and be quite crisp. The husk should be crisp too, not limp. Look for silk that is fluffy and dry, not moldy and smushed together. Added benefit of the not shucking the corn is lots of good green stuff for the compost pile! Note that once you cook the corn, the sweetness should not decrease.

Potato Salad

For each serving, here’s what you will need:

4 waxy, new potatoes about 1 ½ inches in diameter (my favorites are russian bananas, german butter balls, fingerlings, and blues)
1 tablespoon onion, minced
1 small summer squash, grilled
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon (or more) sundried tomatoes, olives, and/or pickled vegetables (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon or country style mustard
¼ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
¼ teaspoon pepper (or to taste)

Tools:
1 medium saucepan
Colander
Small paring knife
Spoon
Large bowl

Process:
1. Quarter potatoes and place into the saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil (this method will help keep your potatoes intact). Adjust heat until the pan is simmering (small bubbles, not a rolling boil). Cook until tender, but the potatoes still hold their shape.
2. Pour the potatoes into the colander and douse with cold water. Let cool.
3. Meanwhile, chop the squash into a ½ inch dice. Chop the parsley and other veggies.
4. When the potatoes are still warm nut you are able to touch them with out burning your fingers, peel them using the paring knife. Cut them into ½ inch cubes.
5. In the large bowl, combine oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Add the potatoes, veggies, and parsley. Toss lightly with clean hands.
6. Share with friends.

Corn Salad

For each serving, here’s what you will need:
1 ear barbequed corn
¼ red onion, grilled
1 small sweet pepper (like Jimmy Nardellos, gypsy, or bells), grilled
¼ jalapeno pepper, grilled
2 teaspoons honey, maple syrup, or agave syrup
1 tablespoon olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
3 leaves fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Tools:
Knife
Cutting board
Large bowl
Spoon

1. Remove the kernels from the ears of the corn. Because I am not a daredevil, I like to break the ears in half with my hands before slicing off the kernels.
2. Chop the grilled onion and the sweet pepper. Mince the jalapeno.
3. In the bowl, mix together the honey, oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper.
4. Add the veggies and toss light with clean hands. Chiffonade the basil and garnish.

Exuberant thanks to Rachel Silverstein for the charming cartoons.

Eggplant Nonmesan

This is a hearty dish so make sure that you are feeling up to a challenge. Traditional eggplant parmesan is also one of the most satisfying vegetarian dishes for the recent transition-er to a meat free life. While it might be tasty, it is still packed with lots and lots of animal fats and eggs. Enter veganization!

Although we won’t nix the frying of the eggplant, this vegan alternative doesn’t have any cholesterol and is much, much lower in saturated fats. When all those unhealthy and unnecessary ingredients gone, the flavors of summer can really shine.

This dish is also perfectly in season. Eggplant and tomatoes, the backbone of the meal, are growing rampantly in California. Since I’m a bit lazy, I don’t peel tomatoes and so organics are not only a good idea, but are really essential for this meal. However, don’t get too lazy and use canned tomatoes. There was a recent article about the 7 foods that farmers and food researchers would never eat and canned tomatoes topped the list. Bad news bears, especially when it is fresh tomato season!

I encourage the use of organic, local, and responsibly produced food, but everyone’s financial and accessibility situations are different. Unfortunately, that translates to less food empowerment for everyone. Check out the Real Food Challenge campaign to help end this injustice.

Enough of the toxic tomatoes and cholesterol chatter – let’s get to the recipe:
Here’s what you will need

For the fried eggplant:
I large to medium eggplant (1-2 pounds)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup whole wheat (or a gluten free alternative like sorghum flour)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
¼ cup medium ground corn meal
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup water, ice cold
Enough grapeseed or rapeseed (canola) oil to cover the bottom of a cast iron frying pan with a ½ inch of oil

For the marinara:
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup onion, diced
½ teaspoon salt
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small sweet pepper like Jimmy Nardellos, Bullhorn or Gypsy (Jimmies are my favorite), chopped
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
¼ teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
½ cup red wine
2 tablespoons brown rice, agave syrup, maple syrup, or honey (if you are that sort of vegan) or 1 tablespoon raw sugar or ½ cup apple juice
5 large tomatoes
¼ cup nutritional yeast
¼ cup fresh basil, sliced thinly using the chiffonade method

Topping:
½ cup sliced or shredded dairy free cheese (my favorite is made from rice milk which doesn’t have the “dirty” after taste like many soy cheeses, optional)

Tools:
Vegetable peeler
Knife
Cutting board
9×9 square glass or ceramic baking dish (metals can react with the tomatoes)
Large sauce pan or enameled Dutch oven
Garlic Press
Wooden spoon
Stick or stand blender (optional)
Small bowl, with a bottom large enough to accommodate your largest eggplant slice
Metal tongs
Cast Iron frying pan (I prefer cast iron over synthetic Teflon any day. Not only are cast iron pretty cheap, I got my 12” at a thrift store for $10, they will last FOREVER. Not so much with Teflon, which releases toxins and seriously degrade with overheating.)
Paper towel or metal drying rack

Process:
1. Wash and peel the eggplant using a vegetable peeler.
2. Slice into 1 inch thick rounds
3. Using the 1 teaspoon salt, salt the rounds of eggplant. Use your fingers to distribute the salt evenly.
4. Place slices in the baking dish and put the frying pan on top of the slices. The weight of the pan will help removing the excess moisture from the eggplant.
5. While the eggplant is salting, begin on the marinara.
6. Heat your saucepan or Dutch oven over medium high heat and add the olive oil
7. Sauté the onions and salt until soft and golden brown.
8. Add in the crushed garlic, sweet pepper, cayenne pepper, and fennel. When I am using a garlic press, I don’t bother peeling the garlic. Make sure to remove the peels before crushing the next clove. Sauté until the sweet peppers are soft. Feel free to add more oil to the pan if needed. The vegetables should look shiny and glistening.
9. Add the wine and the sweetener of your choice. Reduce until the sauce resembles salsa instead of soup.
10. Remove the stem site from the tomatoes and cut into large, rough chunks. Add to the pan and stir.
11. While the sauce is getting saucy with the pan turned down to medium low heat, begin frying the eggplant.
12. Preheat oven to 375F. When I am using the oven for just one dish, I try to maximize my oven space. I suggest baking potatoes or winter squash in the fall to fill up that underutilized space.
13. Using your hands, squeeze out any excess water from the eggplant over the sink.
14. Measure the dry ingredients for the frying batter into the small bowl (flour, cornstarch, cornmeal, ¼ teaspoon salt, black pepper) and mix using a fork.
15. Heat the frying pan over medium high heat with the oil.
16. With wet fingertips, flick water above the pan to test its heat. Oil that is hot enough should readily crackle.
17. Just before you begin frying, add in the ice cold water. Mix as little as possible while still eliminating lumps and dry spots.
18. Dip eggplant slices one by one into the batter and then gently place in the pan. Turn when slices are golden brown.
19. If your pan is not large enough to accommodate all the slices, you might need to do several rounds of this.
20. Remove slices from the pan when both sides are golden brown and place on the paper towels or the metal rack to drain off some oil. Ideally, the eggplant will be crispy on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside. If the slices are still underdone, more cooking can take place in the oven.
21. Back to the sauce – Since I like being lazy and don’t peel the tomatoes, I blend the sauce at the end to make it smooth and the skin bits less obvious. This step is completely optional. Let the sauce cool to less than scalding and either blend in a upright blender until smooth or leave in the pot and use a stick blender until smooth.
22. Return the sauce to the pan and stir in the yeast and the basil.
23. Place the eggplant slices in the 9X9 pan and cover with marinara. Top with fake cheese if desired. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes or until the eggplants are soft and creamy.
24. Enjoy with fellow activists.

Tremendous thanks to Rachel Silverstein for the beautiful and witty cartoons and for test driving the recipe.

The (Koch) Empire Strikes Back

copyright Gabe ElsnerOn Sunday [January 29th], nearly 2,000 citizens converged on the resort town of Rancho Mirage, California to confront a secretive meeting of billionaires meeting behind closed doors. The event has generated widespread coverage in the LA Times, NY Times, Politico, Reuters and many more. As a result, the Koch Brothers recently hired a public relations firm to transform the coverage to be more favorable to Koch Industries and their web of front groups, as revealed in Politico. Unfortunately, some of the reporting and opining completely omits key reasons why the organizers of the protest decided to Uncloak the Kochs.

The LA Times Editorial Board wrote an editorial saying:

    “The point of the rally was to decry the corrosive impact of money on American governance, but we’re not sure that the marchers were quite clear on the concepts of democracy and free speech.”

Let me respond on behalf of an unprecedented coalition effort – we are quite clear on the concept of democracy and free speech. Our problem with money in politics (and why we were protesting the Koch Brothers’ secretive billionaires retreat) is that it is drowning out the voices of ordinary citizens in the United States and elevating the interests of CEOs, bankers, polluters, and corporations.

Joel Francis, a Marine Corps veteran and student leader said it on Sunday:

    “We need real solutions to the jobs crisis, rising health care costs, our addiction to fossil fuels, climate change, the foreclosure crisis and other economic problems facing families across the country. We need public officials who will stand up to the private interests and take the side of America’s middle class. We need an economy that works for working families and a democracy where the people and citizens of our great nation count more than private profit.”

The Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission opened the floodgates for people like Charles Koch (and other billionaires) to influence our democratic elections process through direct campaign contributions, front groups, television advertisements and more. Unfortunately, our democracy, post-Citizens United will continue to put corporate interests over people until we level the playing field.

The Wall Street Journal (owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, whose employees have been regular guests at Koch retreats) reported that:

    “Billionaires have political views (often strong ones) and they aren’t afraid to use their money to support them. There are activist billionaires on all points of the political spectrum, and their influence often is kept in check by each other. In the end, it is unclear what impact they really have on the country beyond funding a vast industry of think tanks, panel discussions, vanity publications and golf retreats for legislative aids.”

Yes, there are billionaires on both sides of the aisle influencing public policy, but unfortunately there is no balance of power. Billionaires are still putting their interests over the interests of working families and ordinary citizens. Furthermore, there is a huge difference between funding a think tank or front group to promote your interests and meeting with Supreme Court Justices while they are considering a case on corporate spending in democratic elections. Justices Scalia and Thomas both attended previous Koch retreats and as a result, Common Cause sent a letter to the Department of Justice asking for an investigation into a possible conflict of interest – an investigation that could undermine the 5-4 Citizens United ruling.

Finally, Sunday was NOT about liberals versus conservatives. Sunday was about We the People. It was about rebuilding a democracy of We the People – a country where you don’t need to have millions of dollars to have your voice heard. Where the government is small, but it protects the public health from polluters, protects our economy from bankers and speculators, and protects our national security even when the oil companies don’t want to invest in homegrown American energy.

By Gabriel Elsner

Let’s replace We the Corporations with We the People

President Obama gave his State of the Union last night and set out a clear vision for our country. I agree that we need to win the future – and we can begin by investing locally in clean energy technology, reinvigorating our manufacturing sector, and leading the world to a sustainable 21st century economy. We need to invest in our young people and expand educational opportunities across the country.
Unfortunately, the President was not completely honest with the American people on the true state of our union. Families are in crisis – people are losing their homes and cannot find work. Their health is being threatened every day by our addiction to dirty and dangerous fossil fuels. Halliburton (among others) continue to undermine water supplies for millions of Americans through hydraulic fracturing – a dangerous method of extracting natural gas. We continue to spend $6 billion per month on the War in Afghanistan. And our country spends 59% of its budget on the military – while states and cities are being forced to cut education funding, enlarge class sizes, eliminate mental health programs, and squeeze budgets across the board.

The President did not acknowledge that hundreds of millions of dollars poured into campaign coffers from undisclosed sources and large corporations. He did not highlight that the Supreme Court in its’ Citizens United ruling – gave corporations the rights of people under our constitution – allowing unrestricted corporate spending in our elections.

Most Americans know that Washington is broken and is no longer working in the best interests of We the People. But, members of the Corporate Elite – spearheaded by the Koch Brothers (tied for the 9th richest people in America – read about them in the New Yorker) – are plotting how to continue undermining our democratic system for private profit. The Kochs are convening a meeting this weekend of billionaires to plot their dominance of the 2012 elections. Previous attendees to these meetings include: Fred Malek, one of Karl Rove’s top fundraisers; Glenn Beck, Fox News host and radio personality; David Chavern, Executive Vice President at the US Chamber of Commerce; Tim Phillips, President of Americans for Prosperity (a Koch-funded group), among many others.

Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia – two of the five Justices who sided with “We the Corporations” in the Citizens United ruling – have also been in attendance at previous Koch meetings. Common Cause (www.commoncause.org) sent a letter to the Department of Justice asking for an investigation into a possible conflict of interest due to their attendance at these activist events – an investigation that could undermine or even vacate the 5-4 Citizens United ruling. (See their letter here)

We need a Power Shift – and that begins by taking corporations out of our democracy – and giving our government back to We the People. That’s why a broad coalition of ordinary citizens, non-profits, and working Americans will be converging on Sunday at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort to expose the corporate elites secretive meeting.

One of the biggest criticisms of this event is that we are only attacking the right wing. What about George Soros and other billionaires funding the left? My reply is this: If I thought we could continue to operate in the left-right framing of our political spectrum that our country currently operates, I would understand this argument. But, this is not a partisan issue. It is a fundamental breakdown in our democratic system. The vision of the founding fathers of a functioning democratic republic, where public debate thrives, is being destroyed by the corruption and greed of our economic system. If corporations and the monied elite are the only arbiters of our political debate, our democracy is broken.

We need to put the power of our politics back in the hands of the people – ordinary Americans on the left and the right of the spectrum – so that we can have a real dialogue and public debate about where we need to go as a country.

We must unite the grassroots on the right and the left. The people that make up the Tea Party recognize the same truths as the people that make up the Progressive movement. Our government is not working in the best interests of We the People. We need real solutions to our economic depression, our addiction to fossil fuels, the housing crisis, the rising cost of health care, and our national deficit.

Money in our democracy is destroying the vision of America set out by our founding fathers over 200 years ago. We need a people’s movement to get money out of our politics and ensure that corporations are not treated as living and breathing human beings under our Bill of Rights. But we need your help – we need ordinary people to non-violently fight back against corporate elites attempting to purchase our democratic elections. I hope you join us in Palm Springs to ignite a Power Shift – as we take a first step to replace We the Corporations with We the People.

Young voters lead decisive victory against Big Oil’s Prop 23

Young voters celebrated a decisive victory against Big Oil by defeating a deceptive ballot measure, Prop 23. The initiative, funded with millions of dollars from oil corporations sought to wreck California’s clean energy economy and effectively repeal the state’s landmark clean air and clean energy laws.

The California Student Sustainability Coalition’s Power Vote Campaign united thousands of young Californians behind a creative grassroots campaign that exposed Big Oil’s dirty ploy, and mobilized thousands of voters to defeat it. The campaign partnered with student networks across the state to turn out the youth vote, worked with a community coalition to launch the Clean Energy Tour, a music tour merging arts and activism, and directly confronted oil interests bank-rolling the initiative, like the Koch Brothers. Joel Francis, a student leader at Cal State, Los Angeles brought national attention to this issue when he challenged oilman Charles Koch to a public debate on his bank-rolling of Proposition 23. His debate challenge drew national coverage from New York Times, BusinessWeek, Forbes, and Huffington Post.

Our efforts, along with dozens of coalition partners, helped to expose the truth behind Proposition 23 – that it was an oil company funded initiative meant to stop California from moving forward at the expense of our health, our national security, and our economy.

Power Vote California’s “No on 23” campaign, in partnership with CALPIRG and Environment California, helped to organize on over 50 campuses and collected over 160,000 pledges from young people to vote “No” on Proposition 23.

In the final days, campuses across the state used brass-tacks organizing tactics and an online new media strategy to get out the youth vote. Below are just a few examples of the incredible student leadership working to get out the vote in the closing hours of the campaign.

  • Powervote at CSU Chico paraded students to the polls for five hours yesterday at the busiest intersection on campus. On Monday night, leaders called 600 students who pledged to vote No on Prop 23 and 26 in the past month. Throughout the Election Day, groups of students covered in bright green announced the importance of the youth vote and led students from class to the polls. With a live band attracting the attention of thousands of students, CSU Chico students mobilized their peers to the polls to stop the dirty energy propositions.
  • Student and community leaders mobilized people to vote as part of the Clean Energy Tour – a 6-city hip hop concert tour focused on getting out the vote. The Clean Energy Tour helped unite a broad coalition of groups including the California Student Sustainability Coalition, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, and the Greenlining Institute. The downtown Sacramento stop brought students and community leaders together to educate and activate around prop 23 and 26 – both funded by millions of dollars from out-of-state oil companies.
  • City College of San Francisco Green Corps held a huge phone bank to contact over 1000 students in the final hours before Election Day – all while streaming the World Series LIVE. The students had to take a small break as the San Francisco Giants clenched the World Series title for the first time in history. The rap was slightly modified to include the line, “We know with your help, we can stop Texas again tomorrow by stopping the dirty energy proposition.”

Courtney Hight, the Executive Director of Energy Action Coalition had this to say about the outcome in California: “In an election that’s been characterized by record corporate spending, capitulation to moderation, and a lack of leadership behind clean energy, the victory against Proposition 23 demonstrates that the youth vote is capable of delivering a victory for clean energy when clear choices are on the table. Clean energy victories will continue to motivate young voters and we’ll build off of this decisive victory to create more of them.”

The battle against Proposition 23 illuminated that across the country Big Oil and special interests are corrupting our democratic process. These dirty energy industries will continue to spend millions upon millions of dollars to try and stop our progress. Our generation understands what is at stake – our health, our national security, and our economy – and they know that the clean energy will help rebuild and reinvigorate our country.

By Gabe Elsner, blog post here

Greens Vs. Big Oil and Prop. 23

ILLUSTRATION BY DAVID PLUNKERTThe charged-up crowd of baby-faced 20-somethings, gray-haired activists and a few parents comes marching through the streets of downtown Los Angeles and into the tree-lined plaza next to City Hall on a bright Sunday afternoon. Drums banging, fists flying, people chant, “No on 23!” Actress Ellen Page (Juno) even shows up to throw in her two cents on why Proposition 23 should be defeated, standing solemnly at a podium and telling people that it’s “absolutely illogical to not have a sustainable future, and the politicians know that.”

“It’s great to bring people into this rally,” she says, “but I wonder how it translates to getting change done. We’ve seen how isolated lawmakers are, and what I see that speaks is money.”

Elsner, the intense, good-natured campaign director for the California Student Sustainability Coalition, suddenly gets serious. “If it gets big enough and loud enough,” he says of the effort to stop the measure, which would place a years-long hold on California’s greenhouse gas–reduction law, “then [we] can trump the money.”

In fact, that’s something he’s betting on.

Through social media, face-to-face networking and pavement pounding, Elsner leads a key grassroots effort to reach California’s nearly 3 million college students and persuade as many as possible to vote against Proposition 23 on Nov. 2.

Largely funded by major oil corporations such as Tesoro, Valero and the agricultural-energy giant Koch Industries, Proposition 23 would suspend California’s strict greenhouse gas–reduction standards until the state’s unemployment rate falls to 5.5 percent or lower for four straight quarters. Unemployment now stands at 12.4 percent and, since 1980, it has rarely stayed below 5.5 percent for a full year.

Organized opponents of Proposition 23, including environmentalists, labor unions and “clean tech” companies, say the measure would deal a big setback to anti-warming efforts and the state’s burgeoning but still tiny “clean energy” economy: 500,000 future green jobs jeopardized and per-person energy costs boosted by $650 a year, thanks to our addiction to oil.

“I hate them,” Elsner says of Charles and David Koch, the outspoken libertarian brothers who run Kansas-based Koch Industries. The Kochs, who are worth about $35 billion, have helped fund the Tea Party and have given $1 million in support of Proposition 23. “They do not care about my generation. They do not care about the environment. They’re only about themselves. They fire me up. They get me angry.”

In a war over statistics, however, the “Yes on 23” campaign counters that 1.1 million jobs will be wiped out by the restrictions approved under Assembly Bill 32, the state’s climate-change law, further damaging California’s wounded economy. And, the campaign charges, Californians will endure years of higher electricity rates and gas prices.

But Big Green has poured huge sums into defeating Big Oil, with environmental groups and their friends surprising many by outspending the Kochs, Valero and the rest.

Maplight.org, a political-contribution tracking site, reports that Big Green is outspending Big Oil by a staggering 3-to-1, and even traditional utility PG&E gave $500,000 to “No on 23,” positioning itself on the side with the momentum. Ultra-rich asset manager Thomas Steyer, who funded the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy at Stanford University, poured in more than $5 million, making the $2.1 million given by legendary Silicon Valley couple John and Ann Doerr seem modest. A key nonpartisan poll shows the measure now badly trailing, 48 percent to 37 percent, with a large bloc of voters on the fence.

The question comes down to something startlingly simple: What do worried California voters, fearful over a sagging economy, see as best for their personal futures: traditional industry, or clean-energy firms?

“Proposition 23 will pass only if voters believe that [the greenhouse gas–reduction] law will hurt job growth,” says Tony Quinn, a Sacramento political consultant whose California Target Book closely tracks the state’s races. “Voters generally ask of themselves with these kinds of ballot measures, ‘What’s in it for me?’ ”

Into this war between monied adults — also on the “No” side, Bill Gates gave $700,000, James Cameron gave $1 million, and Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla gave $1.04 million — steps the most under-employed, and unemployed, generation of young Californians in decades. They were widely praised — and highly criticized in some circles — for surging to the polls to help put Barack Obama in the White House.

Proposition 23 is a high-profile test of whether they will continue what they started — prodded by young leaders like Elsner and a single ballot measure affecting jobs, environmental issues and Big Oil.

Helped by a surge in interest thanks to Proposition 19, the measure to legalize marijuana, the California Student Sustainability Coalition and the group Student Vote have set Elsner’s goal at registering 60,000 college students in California. Together, they plan to make 160,000 student-voter contacts before Election Day.

Naomi Seligman, a 30-ish Santa Monica– based media consultant for progressive causes, says her pre-Obama college-era movement “was sort of unicorns and rainbows” — taking hours, for example, to write, rewrite and send out a simple press release — and they just “didn’t have a disciplined way to organize their base.”

But now, “They do with these kids. They know how to get things done.”

So Elsner, phone glued to ear, spends his days overseeing dozens of student leaders on 50 California college campuses as the movement makes face-to-face contact with thousands of previously uninvolved college kids, funneling the energy of a technologically savvy generation to fight Proposition 23.

They’ve reached deep into the Web Generation, organizing high school students in Wilmington one day, environmental-science majors at UCLA another, and cultural-anthropology and psychology students at Los Angeles City College another. If it all comes together, they’ll have created a grassroots network of progressive-minded student leaders with the organizational breadth to tackle a few other messes created by the generations who came before.

With Election Day around the corner, Elsner sits in the green family room of his parents’ home near Century City, multitasking. As he talks campaign logistics on his HTC Hero smart phone, Elsner, a wiry, good-looking guy with curly black hair, barefoot in khaki shorts and a blue-and-yellow-striped polo shirt, reads e-mails on a MacBook. An espresso machine, which he relies upon, is nearby in the kitchen.

“I’ve tried to get them to come with us on the mobile app,” says Elsner to somebody on the phone, “but they’re sticking with paper.”

The mobile-phone application Elsner is pushing, which appears on the website PowerVote.ca, gets students to pledge to vote and allows the California Student Sustainability Coalition to text-message those who sign up for it, sending them campaign updates and reminding them to vote on Election Day. It’s one more tool for mobilizing voters more quickly and effectively than before.

One coalition partner — run by veteran nonprofit organizers over the age of 30 — simply refuses to use the app. Yet their local organization reaches out to students statewide — kids who live and die by smart phones.

The old-school decision to rely on paperwork frustrates Elsner. “The technology is not perfect yet,” he says later, “but it’s the future. We can access young people who are always on their smart phones, and we don’t have to hold on to a piece of paper and then input their information into a database. They’re inputted directly when they sign up for the mobile app. It’s an efficiency thing, really.”

Elsner lived and worked in Washington, D.C., until recently, leaving behind girlfriend Heavener and his job at Student Public Interest Research Groups (Student PIRGs), before moving home in August.

Elsner is the only paid staffer for the California Student Sustainability Coalition’s “No on 23” campaign. (CSSC is a statewide student-organizing group that promotes, among other things, sustainable-energy use on California’s college campuses.) His operating budget of less than $10,000 is paid by the Energy Action Coalition, a Washington, D.C.–based, youth-led environmental- and social-justice group.

Since then, the work has been unrelenting: He gives tactical advice and support to student leaders, including those at UCLA and LACC. He starts reading and responding to an endless stream of e-mails, phone calls and text messages at 6 a.m. He trains student leaders at UCLA and LACC to sign up college students to vote, in many cases for the first time.

His days, spent in Santa Barbara, San Francisco and other college towns and cities — but especially in Los Angeles — have turned into something of a blur as he picks up campaign posters at UCLA, goes over voter-registration numbers with student activists at LACC, nails down details for a series of hip-hop concerts called the Clean Energy Tour, and prepares for a student march in Wilmington, while dealing with the leaders of coalition-partner groups, like the one who won’t use apps.

“The quantity of e-mails is overwhelming,” says Elsner, who prefers text-messaging, like almost everyone he knows. “You can plan your day, but then you get one call from a coalition partner and everything changes.”

Since he graduated from Berkeley in 2009, where he was a political-science major with a focus on energy policies who helped run student campaigns, Elsner’s passion has been organizing students for environmental causes.

“My parents are social workers,” he says, “and they always taught me that if I want to make a difference, I should do it. I was very much brought up with the idea of fixing things by the little actions that we do, and [that] will make people’s lives better.”

This fall, not long after Elsner settled into his boyhood bedroom, where one wall is taken up by a bookcase filled with mostly nonfiction books on subjects such as China, race relations and war, his father, Nick, a Vietnam War veteran, put a question to him. “My dad read a newspaper article that mentioned how baby boomers were going to turn out and vote this year,” Elsner recalls. “So he challenged me. ‘What are you and your generation going to do?’ ”

Historically, says Democratic consultant Bill Carrick, young voters show up for presidential races but not nearly as much for midterm elections. On the other hand, Carrick says, young voters usually are more turned on by issues than by candidates, and Proposition 23 is right up their alley.

At the same time, in the eyes of grassroots organizers, Proposition 23 is hobbled by its real-life cast of “greedy” villains, notably super-rich oil companies whose image took a horrible hit when the British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico dominated global headlines for months.

Just before dawn on a cool weekday morning, Elsner drives his cobalt-blue 1984 BMW to UCLA, where Hayley Moller, a blond, upbeat environmental-science major who leads the “No on 23” effort at UCLA, stands with three other students in Bruin Square near the Bruin Bear, a hulking bronze statue.

Unlike a big digital blitz Elsner is organizing with other student leaders across the state, Moller and crew aren’t going to attempt a mass text-messaging or an early-morning coordinated Facebook message send. Instead, they plan to hit the pavement and do some “chalking,” mostly involving wash-away markers.

That day, the Daily Bruin has reported that UCLA received about $6 million from the feds to help construct a $30 million “green building,” where students and researchers will study “energy conservation technologies.” Moller, a senior from Marin County, won’t be around when the building is finished, but she wants to work in California’s clean-tech industry after she graduates in the spring.

“If Proposition 23 happens,” Moller says, “it’s going to cause huge problems for me. I want to go into a green-energy job, and AB 32 [California’s law cracking down on greenhouse-gas emissions] is important for creating and maintaining a clean-energy economy. There’s a huge potential for California to fall off the bandwagon and lose opportunities for students.”

Now, on the darkened campus, while most UCLA students are asleep, Moller guides Elsner and another environmental-science major, Cassie Trickett, through the hallways and into the gloom of empty, dark classrooms in several buildings.

They quickly begin writing on classroom whiteboards with blue or black washable markers. No security guards are around, but they’re not doing anything illegal — chalking is not forbidden on the UCLA campus.

Trickett, a second-year student from Sacramento, has never participated in any political action before. But she wants a clean-energy job, which got her working with Moller. Tall, with long brown hair, wearing shorts and a sweatshirt — she could be a volleyball player — Trickett walks into a classroom cautiously, trying to find the light switch. Moller, who has just flown back into town from Wisconsin, follows close behind, wired with energy. She gives Trickett some pointers.

“Write it big so everyone can read it,” Moller says. She trots out some useful student psychology: “Sometimes when you’re really tired and don’t want to take any more notes, you just start looking around the room. We want them to see that message.”

“No on Prop. 23 Rally,” the handwritten note left for the class reads, in part. “Stop the Dirty Energy Proposition.”

Before daybreak, every morning for a week, Moller and other student volunteers wrote similar notes in some 50 classrooms.

Elsner estimates that several thousand UCLA students have now learned a little something about Proposition 23, and he hopes they’ll care enough to vote.

He had set a goal to register 3,000 Bruins as voters before the state deadline of Oct. 18. Moller believes they hit that number due to high interest in Proposition 19.

But in the era of The Social Network, when organizing people through Facebook and texting is portrayed as a staggeringly powerful tool, Elsner finds it can go only so far. “We have to get people off Facebook and get them to vote,” he says.

His solution has been to emphasize old-fashioned legwork ripped from the political-organizing pamphlets of a past generation: scrawled messages on walls, face-to-face voter registration, concerts to get people warmed up about voting down Proposition 23.

“It’s a big danger to the Republicans,” says Democratic consultant Carrick, when “young voters get mobilized for Obama in 2008 and overwhelmingly support marriage equality and protecting the environment, which all tends to fall on the side of the Democratic argument. This generation will be a big voting bloc, and all indications show they are going to be very involved.”

For that reason, Elsner is not solely focused on turning out the vote at prestigious universities like UCLA. He’s looking east and south, and drumming up support among low-income and minority students — or trying to, as he will soon find out the day he heads east of Hollywood.

The strategy of bringing in working-class and brown and black students, particularly from community colleges, has long been ignored by grassroots activists and student leaders during California campaign seasons, some consultants say.

Yet about 1.7 million students in total attend community colleges in California.

“What California Student Sustainability Coalition is doing is innovative,” says Becky Bond, political director for CREDO Action, a grassroots organizing group fighting Proposition 23. “They’re picking a gap and working on it.”

So, on a hot, sunny morning, Elsner talks into his cell-phone headset as he drives Lili Molina, 31, the environmental-justice director at the Energy Action Coalition, to the LACC campus in East Hollywood.

The old BMW has no air-conditioning, and the windows are rolled down.

Elsner goes over the list of concert dates for the Clean Energy Tour, which features hip-hop artists Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth as well as KCRW DJ Garth Trinidad. Hitting college campuses in Oakland, Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Diego, the anti–Proposition 23 tour is one way to attract young voters, particularly minority students.

“The environmental-justice movement has been reaching out to young people of color,” says Molina, who began as a gang interventionist in Chicago, “but the broader environmental movement, which is largely white and male, has framed the cause in a way that hasn’t resonated with [minority] communities. We’ve felt our communities have been left at the altar.”

By the time she and Elsner arrive at LACC, on Vermont Avenue, student activists are setting up tables for a voter-registration drive in the main quad, which is surrounded by plain, beige and red-brick buildings.

Molina, a pretty woman with frizzy black hair, enthusiastically surveys the scene from behind a pair of sleek glasses. There are far more black and Latino students strolling by than at heavily Asian and white UCLA. And there’s another big difference at this Eastside college surrounded by old, run-down neighborhoods: Over the next hour, there’s little talk of “green jobs” and Proposition 23.

Instead, students complain about school budget cuts and having their four-semester academic year scaled back to two semesters, which has badly disrupted their lives, delaying their long-planned transfers to four-year colleges.

“It’s really hurting the student transfer rates,” says Gesselly Marroquin, a 21-year-old psychology student from East Hollywood, who sports tight black jeans, a black tank top and a leopard-print tattoo on her left arm. She wants to go to UC Santa Barbara, and says her friends are more interested in teaching than in working for a clean-tech company.

As Bob Marley plays over a sound system, Elsner and Molina join Marroquin and Scott Clapson, a 36-year-old cultural-anthropology student who’s involved in student government, as they try to register students to vote.

It’s not easy. Many students are undocumented immigrants who can’t vote. Clapson, in fact, estimates that one-third of the LACC student body is here illegally. Others are not inclined to get involved in politics.

“We’ve felt disenfranchised from the political system,” Molina says. “Some of our family members have gone to prison and can’t vote. Some of our parents and brothers and sisters are undocumented and can’t vote. You come up in a culture where there’s not much emphasis on the importance of voting.”

The idea of a fight against Big Oil over the future of clean-energy jobs barely registers with LACC students.

“It doesn’t mean that much to me,” says Marroquin, a punk-rock fan who digs hard-edged songs with social commentary in the lyrics. “The mainstream is involved in frivolities more than important issues.”

Molina understands where Marroquin’s coming from. “If you talked to me [years ago] about saving the environment, I would have laughed in your face,” says the activist. “You think of saving trees and whales, but we don’t have whales in Chicago.”

To persuade students to think in different terms, Molina focuses on how pollution from local industries makes human beings — not trees or whales — sick. “I’m passionate about the health impacts on our communities,” she says.

But that emphasis on environmental justice for the low-income areas, and protection from industrial filth in inner-city neighborhoods, has been ignored by traditional clean-air, clean-water environmental groups. As the Weekly reported in its July 1, 2009, cover story “Envirowimps,” it’s a bone of contention between the big, monied green groups and the often smaller grassroots justice groups.

California Student Sustainability Coalition and Elsner are trying to change things. Several months ago at a retreat, Clapson told the coalition’s leaders they had to diversify their ranks, which were mostly white. Clapson says Elsner and the coalition responded, seeking out lower-income and minority students — especially at community colleges in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. “I was challenging them,” Clapson says, “and they listened.”

Elsner says that without black and brown students in the fold, the youth vote won’t become the political force it should. “My generation has the potential to be the largest voting bloc,” he says. “So are we mobilizing that vote, or are we going to allow the older generation to be powerful? When we look at the youth movement, we’re not big enough yet.”

It’s going to be a long haul if their experience at LACC is any guide. Out of the 16,000 to 18,000 students enrolled there, Clapson and crew collected just under 50 voter registrations during the afternoon. That makes a little over 400 since the coalition’s campaign began.

After the registration drive at LACC, Elsner and Molina head to Wilmington, near the Port of Los Angeles, where teenagers from nearby Banning High School will lead a weekday after-school march to the nearby Tesoro oil refinery on Pacific Coast Highway.

Molina flew into Los Angeles a few days earlier and immediately started working with the young students, who helped her organize the event along with Communities United Against Prop. 23, a grassroots group.

“A lot of high school students are driving this action,” she tells Elsner.

He nods knowingly. “I don’t know what it is,” he says. “A lot of my generation gets it. They’re able to see the local impacts and connect it with the larger picture.”

Cruising southbound in the commuter lane on the Harbor Freeway, Elsner is worrying that the Koch brothers will suddenly drop several million dollars for pro–Proposition 23 TV ads and change the momentum of the campaign. “The only grassroots groups that support Proposition 23 are the Tea Party groups,” Elsner says, “and the Koch brothers spent a lot of money to create the Tea Party movement.”

The day before, Elsner and two colleagues held a clandestine meeting with a high-powered media expert in the lobby of the Biltmore Hotel in downtown L.A. For 45 minutes, at a posh bar, they talked strategy. The consultant gave them free advice on how to handle the press and the Koch brothers, but didn’t offer to pay for drinks. The young activists, who are operating on a shoestring budget, drank water.

When Elsner and Molina arrive at East Wilmington Greenbelt Park, in one of Southern California’s many tattered neighborhoods, Elsner can’t stop talking about the toxic smell coming from the nearby refinery.

Suddenly they find themselves in the company of pumped-up students from Banning High School who went through a lockdown the previous day, after a 17-year-old boy was fatally shot in the head near their campus.

The 30 or so teenagers are decked out in tight punk-rock clothes that would fit comfortably in 1970s New York City: black T-shirts, black jeans, black sneakers. It’s not just a fashion statement.

The

rockeros’ clothing and music are “survival tactics,” Molina says. “If you wear baggy clothes or listen to hip-hop,” she explains, “someone may mistake you for a gang member, and you could get shot.” Saving whales and green jobs isn’t at the forefront of these kids’ minds, but protecting their immediate safety is.

Joined by older activists and students from other parts of the South Bay, the rockeros march through their working-class neighborhood, holding up placards, chanting and thrusting their arms in the air. One girl with pink hair yells, “Our lungs are not for sale! Prop. 23 will fail!” The chant is spontaneous, and everyone joins in. “Our lungs are not for sale! Prop. 23 will fail!”

Minutes later, Elsner, who marches with them, is looking pleased. “They may not be able to vote,” he says, grinning, “but they may be our next student leaders in a few years.” If they end up in college, the rockeros might say that a “No on 23” march near some oil tanks in the fall of 2010 was the day they became part of the big, green brawn that beat down Big Oil.

By Patrick Range McDonald | Thursday, Oct 28 2010
Contact the writer at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

Full url: http://www.laweekly.com/2010-10-28/news/greens-vs-big-oil-and-prop-23/

Will Texas oil companies pay for their support of Prop 23?

James Irwin / The Bay CitizenSnap! The Texas oil companies that are the chief backers of Prop 23’s bid to scrap climate regulations in California are now facing shareholder scrutiny of their political spending. Shareholders of Los Angeles-based Occidental Oil also filed a resolution demanding that the company evaluate the costs and benefits of that company’s controversial political spending.

Laura Campos, Director of Shareholder Activities at the Nathan Cummings Foundation, which filed the resolution requesting improved disclosure and accountability on political spending at Tesoro, explained: “As shareholders, we’re concerned that Tesoro’s support for the highly controversial Proposition 23 could lead to a decrease in shareholder value by damaging the company’s reputation and negatively impacting the business environment in a state where Tesoro has significant operations.”

The Unitarian Universalist Association filed the shareholder resolution at Valero. Treasurer Tim Brennan said, “Our values compel us to protect the planet … Valero’s extraordinary support for Proposition 23 delays the country from tackling an urgent human, environmental and economic concern.”

Shareholder resolutions can only force corporations to explain and re-evaluate their activities, not change them — which seems odd, since shareholders actually own the company.

Prop 23 is also an object lesson in what’s wrong with our proposition process. Props are often knee-jerk populist responses to recent events; Prop 23 feeds on job anxieties to repeal a law that’s never been shown to hurt job growth, and Prop 22 marks local anger at having budgets dinged by a impoverished state. Trouble is, the props stay on the books forever, where they have unforeseen effects: take Prop 13 as but one example. They’re poorly written by people who aren’t experts in public policy — viz. Prop 19. And like Prop 23 and Prop 8 before it, they’re often primarily funded by out-of-state interests.

Note, too, that the biggest supporters of Prop 23 are corporations, while the opponents are mainly individuals and nonprofits.

The recent spate of shareholder resolutions suggests that the oil companies’ individual financial backers don’t want their money spent in our election. But it’s unlikely that their efforts will have much effect.

By Cameron Scott

Full url: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/green/detail?entry_id=74586#ixzz12yr5f8ep

CSULA Student Challenges Koch Brothers to Debate

Cal State Los Angeles Senior Joel Francis issued this debate challenge to billionaire CEO Charles Koch, of Koch Industries today. Joel emphasized that if Koch Industries wants to spend millions of dollars in our state, the CEO ought to have the courage to debate Prop 23 in person. Mr. Koch has donated at least $1 million to the Proposition to suspend our state’s clean energy and climate change laws.

Joel asked for a public debate, anytime, anywhere in the state, before election day to discuss California’s economic future and Prop 23. He is part of Power Vote CA, a project of the California Student Sustainability Coalition (www.powervote.ca). Hundreds of students are working across the state to stop Prop 23 and mobilize our generation to vote on November 2. Young leaders are standing up to out-of-state special interests trying to ruin our clean energy future by voting No on Prop 23.

You can pledge to vote at www.powervote.ca from your smart phone or computer.

Power Vote California takes on Big Oil

This election we face a major attack on California’s clean energy and global warming policy – Big Oil is pushing Proposition 23, a ballot measure to gut California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act. The California Student Sustainability Coalition, and young people across the state are mobilizing behind Power Vote California to defeat Prop 23. We think with our people power we can stop Big Oil from ruining our drive to a clean energy economy.

Today I joined a meeting with City College of San Francisco’s environmental group, Green Corps. Over the weekend they had trained 20 people on the Power Vote California Campaign, and today they were finalizing their plan to mobilze thousands of their peers to vote on November 2nd. Green Corps is one of dozens of groups across the state building campus campaigns to turn out the youth vote and make sure the dirty energy proposition goes down in flames. With only 35 days until the election, this sort of work is critical. This coming weekend the CSSC is hosting trainings in San Diego and Los Angeles to make sure our entire network is ready to rock the vote over the next month.

We’re also excited to team up with Communities United, a coalition of grassroots, community and environmental justic groups to host a six-city “Clean Energy Tour.” Through art, activism and music, we’ll expose the dirty antics of Big Oil and plug people into fighting for the green economy. You can check out the tour dates at CleanEnergyTour.com and attend the concerts for free just by pledging to vote.

One of the Clean Energy Tour stops is the CSSC 9th Annual Fall Convergence at UC Santa Barbara on October 15 – 17. CSSC convergences are twice a year, and full of fun, networking, ideas, building lifelong friends, and tackling serious issues with incredible youth leaders from across California. The Fall 2010 Convergence is no exception. I hope you will join us at UC Santa Barbara for a weekend to remember. With only 16 days until election day, youth leaders at the convergence will be focusing on planning and implementing a two-week “Clean Energy Surge” to stop Prop 23 and its dirty energy funders from killing California’s clean energy laws and jeopardizing over 500,000 green jobs.

We’ve got a lot of work cut out for us, but you can feel the energy across the state. Together we can set a strong pecedent on November 2nd. We the people won’t let dirty energy companies set the laws in our country. We are standing up and fighting back. And we hope you’ll join us.

Want to join us at our regional training in San Diego or Los Angeles?
Want to join the Clean Energy Tour?
Want to attend our GOTV training October 16th at the CCSC convergence?

Check out: www.powervote.ca
Text: “NO23″ to 27336”
Or get in touch at: powervoteca@gmail.com

Arnold Lashes Out at Valero, Prop 23

Proposition 23, the initiative that would suspend California’s greenhouse gas laws, is not about saving jobs. It is about greed, said California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Speaking at a Commonwealth Club event in Santa Clara, the governor lashed out at the companies–particularly Valero, Koch Industries and Tesoro–trying to effectively get rid of the state’s carbon regulation law, known by its bill name AB 32. Technically, Prop 23 would suspend AB 32 until employment falls below 5.5 percent, something that has occured only sporadically in the last few decades.

“This is a corruption of the democratic process,” he said. “Texas oil companies have descended upon California to overturn a California law. There is a struggle playing out right here in California that the world does not know much about.”

The effort is similar to the conspiracy hatched among oil companies in the 1920s to get rid of light rail systems. Then, the companies bought up the easements for light rail systems in 45 cities and then systematically dismantled them.

“Today, Valero and Tesoro are in a conspiracy. Not in a criminal conspiracy, but a cynical one about self-serving greed,” he said. “Does anyone think in their black oil company hearts that they want to create jobs?

“Valero and Tesoro want to stop the movement from old energy to new energy because its means lost market share,” he added.

He then rattled off a number of impressive statistics. California is home to 12,000 green companies. Approximately 40 percent of the green patents are awarded to California inventors. A wind farm in Kern County has created 1,000 jobs. Solar thermal will create 2,000 jobs. Greentech jobs have grown ten times faster than jobs in other sectors. 500,000 green jobs have popped up in California since 2005, he added.

“Green jobs are the single largest source of job growth in California,” he said.

The U.S. Navy has also imposed stringent goals for renewable energy, he noted, adding that the Navy isn’t the usual pot-smoking, left-of-center Berkeley resident.

He also displayed a gift for colorful analogies, contending that Valero’s argument that suspending AB 32 will create jobs is like “Eva Braun writing a kosher cookbook.”

Despite all of the rhetoric about Valero, Schwarzenegger declined to criticize Meg Whitman, the Republican running for his job. Whitman recently said she opposed Proposition 23 but wants to suspend AB 32, passed four years ago, for a year in a vintage bit of hair splitting. The governor said he’s mostly concentrating on defeating Proposition 23. Neither Whitman or opponent Jerry Brown will be governor when that vote takes place, he said. All Schwarzenegger said was that Whitman, who has spent $119 million of her own money on her campaign, should spend her millions on defeating Prop 23.

“California is America’s last hope for energy change,” he added. “We intend to win this battle.”

Other comments:

–Permitting has to be improved in the state. Getting a runway put in at an airport can take ten years. “It is stupid,” he said. The California Energy Commission has sped up the process for solar thermal process, but the backlog is still pretty large. The Tehachapi permit almost got defeated because it appeared that condor migratory routes might be moving. “You can’t go by there if there could be a squirrel, or could be a condor,” he said. “I am all for protecting the environment, but when it is too much, it is too much.”

State Senator Fran Pavley (and author of AB 32) pointed out that the legislature is trying to consolidate review for parcels near urban areas.

–The U.S. needs to move faster on high speed rail. “It is crazy that we travel the same way today that we did 100 years ago,” he said. “Italy, Spain, England, France, Germany. They all have high speed rail. Hello? Are we asleep?”

PowerVote 2010

Empowered. Connected. Strong. That’s how I felt after spending this past weekend in Chicago meeting and working with fellow youth activists from across the nation. The connections I made there are deep-seated and lifelong, and I am honored to call each and every one of them my friends. They are working on projects ranging from ending mountaintop removal, to creating urban gardens, to starting bike cooperatives and banding their communities together for a common cause. Each of them has story to tell, we all do.

And that’s what this weekend was about: listening and sharing, and finding the extreme value that lives and breathes within all of us. We did a lot of contemplation and activity over the week, working with each other to explore our abilities to empower ourselves and each other.

We banded together with a local community organization working hard simply to have the basic right to clean air and a healthy life. LVEJO, the gracious and inspiring organization, showed us the power of community, even as they faced living with coal ash in their backyards and their lungs. What’s more, they helped us build OUR community.

You see, our community, the PowerVote community, is not about a single issue or simply switching a few elected officials. We know far too well how dirty the game of politics can be, and how promises often fall short when money comes into play.

WE are about clean energy and the right to live fully, healthily, without pollution and waste simply because of the color of your skin. WE are about a world where people don’t live in fear and ignorance of the atrocities around them. WE are about a world where children know where their food comes from and what it feels like to be one with the ocean. We are about a world where we can live in harmony and simply be.

So who exactly are we? Well, for starters, we’re not made up of simply the people we met this weekend. We are global and we are many. We are found in every person who has ever spoken out against prejudice and injustice, in every person who has ever found peace in the middle of a forest, calm in the sound of rushing water, or happiness in the love and energy at a family dinner. We are a network of citizens, fed up with partisan politics and a system that no longer serves the people it is supposed to represent. We are a group of young hearts who hurt every time we see continued concessions that affect our lives and the place that makes it possible: our planet, our home, our Mother Earth.

We are everywhere. We are growing. And you are a part of us.

http://www.powervote.org/

Nikki Henderson, CSSC Board Member, Featured in ELLE Magazine’s 5 at 25

Nikki Henderson featured in the ELLE Gold Awards 2010: 5 at 25

Nikki HendersonNikki Henderson has been with CSSC for a long time.  As a student she participated in Convergences and Leadership Retreats, joining the CSSC Leadership along the way.  As an alumni, she joined the CSSC Board of Directors where she currently acts as the Director of the Programs committee.  She previously worked closely with Van Jones and currently works as the Executive Director for People’s Grocery in West Oakland.  We are honored to have her on our Board of Directors.

Check out Nikki’s feature in Elle Magazine >>

West Coast Students Strengthen the Roots of the Real Food Movementlui

On February 12-14, over 200 students from 35 campuses gathered in Santa Cruz, California, for the third annual Strengthening the Roots: Food and Justice Convergence. The convergence brought together a diverse group of students – from aspiring farmers to animal rights activists to campus dining employees – who were committed to creating a healthy, just, and sustainable food system. This event empowered high school and college students to actively engage in their campuses and local communities by providing them with leadership skills, successful models and case studies, and a broader network of activists and allies.

The convergence began on Friday with a series of fun activities designed to build relationships and stimulate conversation around issues like sustainable agriculture and social justice. Participants discussed the guiding principles of the Real Food Challenge and drew posters to reflect their own interpretation of these concepts. Later, they created a timeline (shown at right) of the Real Food movement, beginning with the origin of agriculture and ending with their visions of a perfect food system. Students included their own accomplishments on the timeline, and they discussed their roles in changing our food system.

Saturday began bright and early with an innovative program featuring four food activists whose work represented different parts of the Real Food Wheel. During this Pecha Kucha ceremony, the presenters shared their experiences through photos, spoken word, and music. The rest of the day was filled with interactive workshops about agri-food issues, practical skills, and successful models and case studies. In these workshops, participants explored issues such as community empowerment, farmworker rights, and the role of protest in our movement. They also learned strategies for effective student organizing and shared success stories from their own campaigns.

After a long day of learning, students settled down to a delicious meal of pumpkin curry, Indian lentils, and a fresh salad made from local, organic produce. They shared their stories and then danced the night away at a Go Live: Real Food Concert! Artists Jennifer Johns and Erwin Thomas inspired the crowd with their music and engaged students in an interactive discussion about how communities can reclaim control of our food system. Photo from the concert at left.

On Sunday, participants came together for a panel discussion on food justice that featured experts and practitioners in the field. Panelist Lloyd Nadal, the program director of CANFIT, acknowledged the often competitive relationship between non-profits and urged students to build broad coalitions with other organizations seeking to improve people’s quality of life. After reflecting on the panel discussion and their own experiences during the convergence, students participated in a closing drum circle that left everyone energized and excited to bring new ideas back to their campus communities.

For more information or to get involved in the West Coast RFC, contact Kelsey Meagher: westcoast@realfoodchallenge.org.

Zen Trenholm, Treasurer

zen_trenholm_2As Treasurer, I manage our finances and oversee our fiduciary responsibilities with our stakeholders. I process, manage, and audit all expenses and revenues associated with our statewide operations.

This quarter I am also working as the Convergence Coordinator for the 2013 Spring Convergence at UC Berkeley. My Job is to make sure things run smoothly working with my team on campus and within the CSSC.

SCHOOL: UC Berkeley, 2013
PAST ROLES:
City College of San Francisco Council Member, Student Board Member and GreenCorps President
MAJOR: Conservation and Resource Studies: Co-operative Business Development
HOMETOWN:
San Francisco, CA
CONTACT: zen.trenholm(AT)sustainabilitycoalition.org

About Zen

Zen Trenholm is a fourth year student at UC Berkeley studying Cooperative Business Development. He serves as the Treasurer and Project Director for the California Student Sustainability Coalition. Concerned with addressing the needs of his local community, he has worked on projects such as his former community college campus’s upcoming farmers market and district-wide sustainability plan. Zen was a speaker on the “Building the New Economy through Student Leadership” panel at the Spring 2011 Green Festival and has worked on numerous social, environmental and economic justice issues throughout his academic career.

How I Got Involved In CSSC

I had first encountered the CSSC when I was invited to the 2009 Summer Leadership Retreat. The ‘how” was typical of many of us: I was a fresh organizer bent on transforming my school into an influential model of sustainability. But the reasons behind why we remain involved, is unique to all of us; for me, there is no understating the fact that CSSC transformed my life. I had finally found a community of caring, like-minded, intelligent, and passionate people. From that point on, I knew that I would dedicate my life to serving this community, a family of students that has only grown larger over the years. I am thankful to have the opportunity to fulfill the role of Treasurer on our Board of Directors.

The Area of Sustainability That Interests Me Most

Co-operative business, alternative economies, political ecology, agroecology, environmental justice

The Role of Student Action in Sustainability

Like all generations, we have inherited the best and worst of our ancestors. And like all who have come before us and will come after us, we have a duty to leave this planet better off than how we found it. Our challenges have only gotten harder and more numerous but as students we have the distinct advantage of being able to wield our education and our impressive networks to reverse our current trajectories for a more positive future. Though we inherit the institutions and cultures of our predecessors, it is up to us to sustainably transform them for our children.

Sustainability Projects I’ve Worked On

  • End Coal Campaign at UC Berkely
  • CCSF Farmers’ Market
  • CCSF Urban Garden
  • CCSF Sustainability Plans 1 and 2
  • PowerVote CA
  • Powershift 2011
  • AS Student Sustainability Resource Center

Quentin Gee, Chair

As Chair of the Board of Directors, I work with the vice chair to organize weekly calls, serve as a key contact for major CSSC issues, and help with fundraising for the organization.Quentin Gee

PAST ROLES:
Convergence Coordinator, UCSB, Spring 2008 Convergence, Council Member, UC Santa Barbara (2007-2009)
SCHOOL: UC Santa Barbara, 2010
MAJOR
: PhD in Philosophy
OTHER OCCUPATIONS:
Graduate Student
HOMETOWN:
Bakersfield, CA

About Me

Quentin is a PhD Student in Philosophy at UC Santa Barbara. He has been involved with the Environmental Affairs Board at UCSB since 2006 and with CSSC since 2007. He has helped with a number of projects with both organizations and been a large campus voice for sustainability since he began attending UCSB.

How I Got Involved In CSSC

I got involved with CSSC to help work on environmental and social justice issues at the statewide level. After I attended my first leadership retreat in the Summer of 2007, I immediately became interested in working as much as I could to help with sustainability efforts at the statewide and campus level.

The Area of Sustainability That Interests Me Most

Energy Policy

The Role of Student Action in Sustainability

Students have an important role in the sustainability movement because of their position as engaged citizens who are beginning to learn about some of the key problems from their peers as well as their academic program. In addition, they also are key stakeholders because they can vote, but they also will be most affected in the future by the decisions made today.

Sustainability Projects I’ve Worked On

  • coordinating CSSC leadership retreats
  • coordinating Spring 2008 CSSC Convergence
  • Powershift
  • Co-chair of Environmental Affairs Board

Where are the CSSC Campuses?

You are probably looking for a CSSC Campus Profile.  Sorry that we can’t show you what you are looking for.  We recently completely relaunched our website and we are still working on adding the CSSC Campus Profiles back in.  They will be better than ever once we are complete.

We encourage you to check back here in the coming weeks to see if we have added the Campus Profiles.  For now, though please explore our new site – we think you’ll find many other things to keep you busy.

Thanks!

Ryan Andersen
CSSC Website Director