Dear Friend of the Ecology Center,
In November, the midterm elections swept 47 new lawmakers into Congress who are skeptical of man-made climate change. Many of them believe global warming is a hoax, while others view it as a non-threat. More recently, the cascade of Wikileaks revealed this nugget: Saudi Arabia’s minister of petroleum “was involved in crafting the final agreement” of the Copenhagen Accord. When we hear reports like these, it’s hard not to feel helpless and discouraged.
But there’s an antidote to that feeling. It’s focused, solution-oriented action at the local level. With the support and involvement of members like you, the Ecology Center can continue doing just that. We need the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know where and how we can make the most difference. What is our sphere of influence? Everything the Ecology Center does starts local, then starts rippling out. What we build, we connect.
Regardless of the games and gridlock we witness in the theater of national politics, we know that there is a vast network of like-minded, solution-oriented people who are working toward the same goals as us: healthy ecosystems, just economies, and vibrant communities. Better yet, there are more ways than ever to connect with our allies and share our ideas and best practices.
In 2006, Berkeley residents passed Measure G, setting an aggressive goal to significantly reduce our city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Climate Action Plan that was created to achieve that goal includes a varied portfolio of actions. While the City is doing what it can in terms of policies and infrastructure, the Ecology Center has focused on helping individuals take action.
For the last two years, the support of our membership has enabled us to pilot and hone the Climate Change Action Project, a highly effective method of reaching groups of residents and businesses and changing their emission-generating habits. In the last 12 months alone, these Climate Change Action Groups have prevented an estimated 4 million pounds of carbon dioxide from entering our atmosphere. With the help of members and donors like you, we will be sharing our curriculum and training materials with other cities that are adopting Climate Action Plans in 2011.
For the past few years, the youth interns that form the backbone of Farm Fresh Choice have been attending Rooted in Community, a national conference for young people who are fostering healthy communities and food justice in the US through food security work and urban and rural agriculture. We are deeply proud of the interns’ developing leadership skills as they pursue their goals in local neighborhoods, and excited to watch the movement grow nationally through these networks they influence.
Recently, Farm Fresh Choice received a nutrition education grant through the California Association of Food Banks to expand our nutrition education outreach in the low-income communities in South and West Berkeley. For every dollar that we raise for Farm Fresh Choice, we receive 50 cents from this matching grant. Your year-end donations will give us a much-needed boost toward maximizing these funds, which are aimed at supporting small-scale farmers and addressing the health disparities found in lower-income communities. Please make a generous donation today to help the Ecology Center build at the local level, and reach ever farther.
P.S. It’s easy to give to the Ecology Center! Donate to us online at www.ecologycenter.org/support; send us a check to Ecology Center, 2530 San Pablo Ave., Ste. H, Berkeley, CA 94702; or renew over the phone by calling Frances at (510) 548-2220 x235.