We accomplished an incredible amount of work this year, thanks to the support and involvement of our members across the county. Following on months of hard labor protecting waterways after last year’s Firestorm and helping to coordinate rapid response funding for fire-impacted neighbors, here are some of our major accomplishments over the last 6 months:
In the November election, Sonoma County voters overwhelmingly supported providing money for the maintenance, repair and opening of parks in our cities and the county. SCCA played a big role in making this happen – we knocked on 10,000 doors and spoke with voters at their homes about the benefits of this funding measure. 72.6% of voters countywide supported the measure, giving a strong mandate to our elected officials to continue support for parks. The success of the measure will translate into a projected $12 million+ annually in dedicated parks funding to county and city parks. These funds will be used to beautify and maintain our precious parklands and provide the funding to keep them pristine for future generations.
When our members vote, we win! In this November’s election, 75% of the candidates endorsed by SCCA were elected into local office. This was even higher than our historic average of 71% over the last 28 years. By getting environmental champions elected to office, we help to ensure that the environment has a seat at the table, and that the community is heard in local decision making. These candidates enter into office knowing that we will support them, AND that we will also hold them accountable to their promises to our community.
SCCA does not stop once the election is won. We will be here with you over the years to hold their proverbial feet to the fire, ensuring that our City Councils and Board of Supervisors continue to protect our natural resources and protect the needs of our community.
We have succeeded in passing bans on glyphosate products (RoundUp, RangerPro, etc.) and other synthetic pesticides in several cities in the county so far, and we are are continuing forward to others to ensure that public spaces are safe for our children and residents to play, picnic, walk, and breathe. So far, Santa Rosa, Windsor and Sebastopol have adopted bans. Petaluma and Healdsburg are close to eliminated, with glyphosate in median strips currently. Next up, we will focus on Rohnert Park, Cotati, the County unincorporated areas, and neighborhoods in Cloverdale. As scientific concerns grow, the urgency of this campaign grows.
Over the years, SCCA has worked to pass Urban Growth Boundaries around 9 out of 9 cities in the county. We will continue to protect these lines as they come up for re-election, and defend the lands outside the line from development. Meanwhile in the wake of the Firestorm, we are actively engaging with cities to ensure that the Rebuild process is resilient and the construction of new housing focuses this development in downtown areas near to transit. This will create vibrant urban cores in our cities, while reducing cars on the road and the Greenhouse Gases that fuel climate change.
Measure M, Sonoma County Parks for All, won with over 72% of the vote! This was achieved through support of the SCCA canvass knocking on over 10,000 doors around the county. Also, SCCA-endorsed candidates for City Councils and SRJC Board of Trustees had a 75% success rate in the November election! Additionally, of our few candidates who lost, all but 2 lost to incumbents (which is a higher hurdle). We are very pleased with the local make-up of our Councils and expect stronger environmental action from them in the coming years.
After many weeks of reviewing applications, conducting interviews and research, SCCA is excited to announce our endorsements for the 2018 November election! The names below represent forward thinking leadership on conservation and broader environmental policy in Sonoma County. We hope that you will take our endorsement under consideration as you make your voting decisions this November, and vote for the environment and better communities. Read more »
On Wednesday night, September 5 2018 the Town Council of Windsor voted unanimously to ban the use of all synthetic pesticides, effective immediately. This decision is the result of over a year of work initiated by a local Windsor resident, Rosa Gray. Rosa noticed the Town spraying a walking trail across from her house and was worried about possible exposure to her small children. She reached out to Sonoma County Conservation Action for help in convincing Windsor to use a less toxic approach.
Pesticides including weed killers (herbicides) are commonly used in public spaces in Sonoma County for routine weed control. Synthetic or man-made pesticides are long-lasting toxicants in the environment, linked to many human health problems. Children are particularly vulnerable to toxicants like pesticides. Many are known carcinogens (cancer-causing) and endocrine disruptors, which affect development and reproductive health in both males and females.
Early support of this effort came from Council Member Deb Fudge. The first step Windsor Public Works took toward protecting residents from accidental exposure to the pesticides being used was to put up signs before and after spray events. The signs helped residents avoid recently treated areas and also spread awareness around pesticide use in the community.
This awareness created public support for a formal discussion at the September 5th council meeting. Conservation Action joined forces with many Windsor residents including members of the local Windsor Wellness Group, and representatives from a variety of local non-profit organizations including Daily Acts and Families Advocating for Chemical and Toxics Safety (FACTS). There were over a dozen testimonies from area residents, some scientific and fact-based, others emotional, all encouraging the Town to not only ban RoundUp (glyphosate) but to ban ALL synthetic pesticides.
We applaud the Town of Windsor for doing what they can to protect people, pets, and the environment.
Contact us if you want to learn more about how you can help your City or School become toxic free!
Conservation Action celebrated a victory last week when the City of Santa Rosa banned the use of synthetic pesticides like RoundUP in City public spaces. Volunteers for the Toxic Free Future campaign have been working with the City to adopt nontoxic landscape methods for several years.
The City’s decision came on the heels of an August 2018 San Francisco court verdict ordering Monsanto, the maker of RoundUp, to pay a school maintenance worker with terminal non-Hodgkins lymphoma $289.2 million for failure to warn consumers that exposure to RoundUp weedkiller can cause cancer.
Thank you to all of our volunteers and public officials who made this change possible. This work will better protect our children, pets, workers, and the environment from unnecessary toxic exposure.
Contact SCCA if you want to learn more about getting your favorite park or school to go toxic free!
Local authors of the new book “What’s Making Our Children Sick” will talk about how toxins in food and the environment are leading to behavioral, developmental, and neurological illnesses in local kids. This event is not to be missed!
Join a statewide community – through local campaign efforts – working for a safe, toxic free future!
Gain the tools needed to eliminate toxic pesticides from our schools and parks.
Free! Kids are welcome!
Why do we need a toxic free future?
Sonoma County leads the way in providing community members a healthy quality of life, thriving watersheds and world class recreation. However, we still rely on toxic pesticides, such as glyphosate-based RoundupTM — a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer — for weed management in our public spaces, recreation areas & school grounds.
All synthetic weed killing products are harmful to human health and the environment.
To learn more about this campaign, safe alternatives to synthetic pesticides and more, click here.
Help us tell the legislators of California that the state’s Healthy Soils Program and the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) deserve more funding! Please take a minute to voice your concern by signing this letter, and show your support so these programs can continue to be funded!
SWEEP was very successful in 2016-17 across the state, showing the importance of continuing and supporting this funding.
The Healthy Soils Program’s objective is to build soil carbon and reduce agriculture greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging farmers and ranchers to adopt new management practices that are beneficial to the climate. SWEEP provides financial assistance to growers for on-farm improvements that both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save water by micro-irrigation or drip systems, improved energy efficiency, increased compost use that increase soil water-holding capacity, and many others.
There are significant benefits in increasing the soils’s organic matter, including water retention, which is extremely important in times of drought, as well as enhanced soil stability and more efficient nutrient use, which helps improve our water and air quality by reducing run-off and air emissions.
Governor Brown’s proposed 2018-19 budget falls flat of what is actually needed. Your elected representative may be on the budget committee that will soon meet to discuss how to appropriate the state’s $1.25 billion revenue of the fiscal year. Let them know their constituents value the agricultural programs that are climate friendly.
What You Can Do:
Add your name to this letter! You can also email your elected representatives and let them know you care, and please share this with anyone: ranchers, farmers, businesses and organizations in your area. Use this link to find your representatives.