CA Earth Democracy Workshops Continue in San Jose and Santa Cruz

By Nancy Price, Chair, Earth Democracy Issue Committee

The CA Earth Democracy Team, Jean Hays, Randa Solick, Mathilde Rand, and Nancy Price, has continued giving Workshops since the highly successful inaugural workshop in Fresno reported in the last eNews.

The second Workshop was held in San José, April 12–13 and the following weekend in  Santa Cruz, April 19–20.  In each city, those who attended have taken some kind of  action to move forward.

San José being a very large city with lots of activities, the workshp drew a small, very attentive group of about 20 people—mostly workshop presenters and local WILPFers who met on Friday evening.

Kenneth Rosales, Sierra Club-Loma Prieta Chapter Conservation Program coordinator, spoke on the San José Cool City (a Sierra Club initiative) and San José Green Vision Program; Councilmember Barry Chang, from the neighboring city of Cupertino, spoke about long-term toxic pollution from the local Lehigh Cement Factory, now owned by a German Corporation, that could not operate in Germany if creating such pollution as they are in Cupertino. They can do so in the US with lighter environmental laws and little enforcement. Mr. Chang and the Sierra Club have sued Lehigh Cement for air and water pollution in particular including mercury, a very serious threat to public health, especially young children. Fishing in local streams and lakes is prohibited due to the mercury pollution.

Brief updates on local campaigns were given by San José WILPF member Joan Bazar on food labeling campaigns (now in at least 20 other states); Paula Rochelle on water issues, particularly on bottled water; and Lois Fiedler on the electronics industry’s toxic pollution from both manufacturing and the impact of electronic waste.

Joan Bazar reported that the San José Branch tabled earlier at the Cupertino Earth Day Festival and engaged kids in drawing what they wish to protect and save in their environment—a touching collection of insects, flowers, trees, water, family, sea creatures, water and "everything”—and their pictures can be found on the Earth Democracy Flickr slideshow along with pictures of the workshop in Santa Cruz.

The Guardianship for Future Generations workshop was given in Santa Cruz on Friday April 19 with 35 people attending and April 20, with 12 people...all attending  reported on the lively participation and good discussion. Many who attended want to  continue to work on local ordinances and agreed to first on a thorough review of the actual language used in the cities where Precautionary Principle and the Rights of Nature ordinances already been implemented – Ecuador, Bolivia, and Berkeley, Santa Monica, and San Francisco, CA for example.
Randa Solick reported that on Saturday, Santa Cruz County progressive Supervisor John Leopold attended for a few hours and encouraged them  to work out ways to present these ideas to the Board of Supervisors....and those at the workshop agreed to take him up on this suggestion.

We look forward to more Workshops in the Fall.

Jean, Mathilde, Nancy and Randa

Photos: High school volunteer Claire Lu at San Jose WILPF table encourages girl to draw what she wants to protect. Photos by Joan Bazar

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