By Linda Aramcost and Jeff Benesch
In just 45 days, the new administration under Donald Trump has wreaked havoc on the environmental advances made under the previous administration.
We’ve seen executive orders weakening the Clean Water Act; the Keystone Pipeline has been given new life and will now transport dirty oil from Canadian tar sands to American ports; and Exxon Mobile (recent home of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson) has been given the green light to expand operations worth billions of dollars in drilling and refining of oil and gas in the fragile ecosystem along the Gulf Coast.
We have yet to see any commitment to renewable energy development that would alter our horrific future of global warming and continued dependency on fossil fuels.
The April 5 meeting of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club (LMFDC) will continue our Resist Series with the appearance of California’s best known environmentalist, Tom Steyer.
Steyer is a business leader and philanthropist who believes we have a moral responsibility to give back and help ensure that every family shares the benefits of economic opportunity, education, and a healthy climate.
He left a successful business to work full-time on nonprofit and advocacy efforts and now serves as president of NextGen Climate, an organization he founded in 2013 to prevent climate disaster and promote prosperity for all Americans.
He also served as co-chair of Save Lives California, the coalition to prevent teen smoking and fund cancer research.
Steyer will be introduced by Diane Takvorian who has led the struggle for social and environmental justice for over 30 years. She is executive director and co-founder of Environmental Health Coalition (EHC), an environmental justice organization based in the San Diego/Tijuana region.
Founded in 1980, EHC works to protect public health and the environment threatened by toxic pollution through efforts that create a just society.
Takvorian has also served on international, national, state, and regional advisory boards. In 2016, she was appointed to the California Air Resources Board.
In 2009, President Obama appointed her to the Joint Public Advisory Committee for the Commission for Environmental Cooperation. In 2008, she received the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award for her “creative and inspirational leadership benefiting the people of California.” Takvorian is also a cofounder of the California Environmental Justice Alliance.
In 2010, NextGen Climate worked with EHC and California Environmental Justice Alliance to defeat Proposition 23 — the effort to repeal California’s global warming law, AB 32. In 2012, they worked together to pass Proposition 39 which closed a tax loophole previously available to large energy companies.
EHC-targeted precincts voted to pass Prop 39 by 74 percent. To date, Prop 39 has put nearly a billion dollars into California schools and clean energy projects, saving millions of dollars in annual energy costs.
The La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club meets the first Wednesday of each month at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive, just off University Avenue. Social time begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by the meeting and program at 7 p.m.
We welcome all members and guests to our meetings and events, which are usually free. However, for this special event, we are asking all attendees to donate $10 at the door to offset costs of the program.
For more information about LMFDC, follow us on Facebook and check out our website for updates and news at lamesafoothillsdemocraticclub.com.
—Linda Armacost is president and Jeff Benesch is vice president of programming for the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club. Reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org.