Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

It's Time to #BreakFree LA and Go 100% Renewables

Energy
It's Time to #BreakFree LA and Go 100% Renewables

I’ve lived in my house in Torrance, California for 23 years now. I’ve been in LA since I was 19 years old in 1976, back when then Gov. Brown was telling us that we were “living in an era of diminished expectations.” He always was so ahead of the curve …

Like I say, I live in Torrance, home of the exploding ExxonMobil refinery where our Air Quality Management District just gave the refinery operators exemptions to exceed pollution limits while they restart the aging climate wrecker back up.

I was at the meeting where they cut the deal and I had this to say about that:

Knowing that Exxon had been stonewalling subpoenas from the Chemical Safety Board and that an expose’ had recently been published about Exxon’s coverup of their own company’s climate science knowledge while they lied to their own shareholders and the public—we still couldn’t get any of our local elected leaders to come out and say it was time for Exxon to go and for Torrance to #BreakFree of their abusive relationship with the company now under investigation by 20 different Attorneys Generals.

To their great credit, our members of Congress, Representatives Maxine Waters and Ted Lieu, have been stronger than anyone on this issue, but even they aren’t saying the obvious—that we need to #breakfree from fossil fuels—and an exploding refinery owned by lying racketeers is as good a place to #breakfree as any. What the hell are we waiting for? Apparently more explosions, leaks, flaring and four year olds with asthma rocking their inhalers.

But the Exxon Mobil refinery is just one of six refineries within 12 miles of my home—and even though I live in a coastal community we have some of the shittiest air quality anywhere around—because it’s not just the refineries pumping greenhouse gasses and health wrecking pollution into the air we breathe, it’s also the Port of Los Angeles, the Port of Long Beach and the Los Angeles International Airport also within that dozen mile circle.

I live 3.9 miles from the Exxon refinery but I’ve got brothers and sisters in communities including Carson, in Wilmington, in West Adams, in Inglewood, in San Pedro, in South LA, in Long Beach and throughout the LA basin who are right over the fence from the refinery or the port operations or the the urban oil extraction and toxic chemicals that go with it. Often right outside their bedroom windows and where their kids play.

None of these frontline and fence-line friends has to wait for the future impacts of climate change to reach their everyday lives, because they and their families have already been dealing with the consequences of living in what they knowingly call “the Sacrifice Zone” every day for a long long time now.

And none of their local elected officials have stepped up as their champions. Not any City Council members, not enough state elected officials and not enough members of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the California Air Resources Board, the Coastal Commission or any other regulatory group tasked with protecting the people.

So we’re going to have to do it without the politicians. We will #BreakFreeLA and take to the streets ourselves.

In the absence of leadership, the people will lead. Moms like those who started South Bay Flare will lead and people like those who make up Stand LA will lead and the kids who make up our South Bay Los Angeles 350 Youth Leadership Teams and our friends at the high school environmental clubs.

Real leadership is coming from the Nurses Union and the Service Employees International Union and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Communications Workers of America—all of whom know we need to #BreakFreeLA without putting their fingers in the air to test the wind. Real leadership is coming from The Carson Coalition and Communities for a Better Environment and from all the Bernie Sanders for President supporters. All of them already know the air stinks and that we need to #breakfree from fossil fuels.

When I was a kid growing up in Brooklyn in the early 1960s, once a week we used to burn everyone’s garbage in incinerators that every apartment building had. White ash and god knows what else used to fall from the air like nuclear winter snow on a weekly basis. There were no restrictions on what you could throw into the incinerator or what got burned up. But by the early 70s we knew better, passed the Clean Air Act and stopped burning our garbage.

Today we know better about the fossil fuel garbage we burn in our homes and in our cars and at our factories—and we need to stop burning that garbage. The science tells us we need to stop burning all of it in the next 10 years or kill our climate. But the rogue and reckless fossil fuel industry keeps yelling, “Burn, baby, burn!”

Actual reality tells us we already have all the renewable energy and storage products ready to take their place right now, not in some Star Wars Death Star future. I’ve been working on the local 100 percent renewable energy solution nonstop for the last two years personally, so I know we can get all of LA County powered by renewables by 2026.

That’s why on Saturday, May 14, I’ll be in the streets of downtown Los Angeles demanding that we go 100 percent renewable powered over the next 10 years and #BreakFreeLA of the greed and sellouts who have kept us chained to fossil fuels for their own gain at the bidding of their monetized masters. Join the action here.

Joe Galliani has been the organizer of South Bay Los Angeles 350 Climate Action Group since 2009. He has been the chair of the South Bay Clean Power working group since 2014.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

New Report Shows ‘Natural Gas Increasingly Becoming an Unnecessary Bridge to Nowhere’

10 States Blocking the Power of the Sun

Panama Papers Prove America Has the Money to Transition to 100% Clean Energy

Billionaire Climate Activist to Spend $25 Million to Register Millennial Voters

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A resident works in the vegetable garden of the Favela Nova Esperanca – a "green favela" which reuses everything and is subject to the ethics of permaculture – in the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Feb. 14, 2020. NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP via Getty Images

Farmers are the stewards of our planet's precious soil, one of the least understood and untapped defenses against climate change. Because of its massive potential to store carbon and foundational role in growing our food supply, soil makes farming a solution for both climate change and food security.

Read More Show Less
Once the virus escapes into the air inside a building, you have two options: bring in fresh air from outside or remove the virus from the air inside the building. Halfpoint Images / Getty Images

By Shelly Miller

The vast majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs indoors, most of it from the inhalation of airborne particles that contain the coronavirus. The best way to prevent the virus from spreading in a home or business would be to simply keep infected people away. But this is hard to do when an estimated 40% of cases are asymptomatic and asymptomatic people can still spread the coronavirus to others.

Read More Show Less
California Senator Kamala Harris endorses Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden at a campaign rally at Renaissance High School in Detroit, Michigan on March 9, 2020. JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made a historic announcement Tuesday when he named California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate in the 2020 presidential election.

Read More Show Less
An aerial view taken on August 8, 2020 shows a large patch of leaked oil from the MV Wakashio off the coast of Mauritius. STRINGER / AFP / Getty Images

The tiny island nation of Mauritius, known for its turquoise waters, vibrant corals and diverse ecosystem, is in the midst of an environmental catastrophe after a Japanese cargo ship struck a reef off the country's coast two weeks ago. That ship, which is still intact, has since leaked more than 1,000 metric tons of oil into the Indian Ocean. Now, a greater threat looms, as a growing crack in the ship's hull might cause the ship to split in two and release the rest of the ship's oil into the water, NPR reported.

On Friday, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth declared a state of environmental emergency.

France has sent a military aircraft carrying pollution control equipment from the nearby island of Reunion to help mitigate the disaster. Additionally, Japan has sent a six-member team to assist as well, the BBC reported.

The teams are working to pump out the remaining oil from the ship, which was believed to be carrying 4,000 metric tons of fuel.

"We are expecting the worst," Mauritian Wildlife Foundation manager Jean Hugues Gardenne said on Monday, The Weather Channel reported. "The ship is showing really big, big cracks. We believe it will break into two at any time, at the maximum within two days. So much oil remains in the ship, so the disaster could become much worse. It's important to remove as much oil as possible. Helicopters are taking out the fuel little by little, ton by ton."

Sunil Dowarkasing, a former strategist for Greenpeace International and former member of parliament in Mauritius, told CNN that the ship contains three oil tanks. The one that ruptured has stopped leaking oil, giving disaster crews time to use a tanker and salvage teams to remove oil from the other two tanks before the ship splits.

By the end of Tuesday, the crew had removed over 1,000 metric tons of oil from the ship, NPR reported, leaving about 1,800 metric tons of oil and diesel, according to the company that owns the ship. So far the frantic efforts are paying off. Earlier today, a local police chief told BBC that there were still 700 metric tons aboard the ship.

The oil spill has already killed marine animals and turned the turquoise water black. It's also threatening the long-term viability of the country's coral reefs, lagoons and shoreline, NBC News reported.

"We are starting to see dead fish. We are starting to see animals like crabs covered in oil, we are starting to see seabirds covered in oil, including some which could not be rescued," said Vikash Tatayah, conservation director at Mauritius Wildlife Foundation, according to The Weather Channel.

While the Mauritian authorities have asked residents to leave the clean-up to officials, locals have organized to help.

"People have realized that they need to take things into their hands. We are here to protect our fauna and flora," environmental activist Ashok Subron said in an AFP story.

Reuters reported that sugar cane leaves, plastic bottles and human hair donated by locals are being sewn into makeshift booms.

Human hair absorbs oil, but not water, so scientists have long suggested it as a material to contain oil spills, Gizmodo reported. Mauritians are currently collecting as much human hair as possible to contribute to the booms, which consist of tubes and nets that float on the water to trap the oil.

A northern mockingbird on June 24, 2016. Renee Grayson / CC BY 2.0

Environmentalists and ornithologists found a friend in a federal court on Tuesday when a judge struck down a Trump administration attempt to allow polluters to kill birds without repercussions through rewriting the Migratory Treaty Bird Act (MBTA).

Read More Show Less
A spiny dogfish shark swims in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of Washington. NOAA / Wikimedia Commons

By Elizabeth Claire Alberts

There are trillions of microplastics in the ocean — they bob on the surface, float through the water column, and accumulate in clusters on the seafloor. With plastic being so ubiquitous, it's inevitable that marine organisms, such as sharks, will ingest them.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A "vessel of opportunity" skims oil spilled after the Deepwater Horizon well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. NOAA / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Loveday Wright and Stuart Braun

After a Japanese-owned oil tanker struck a reef off Mauritius on July 25, a prolonged period of inaction is threatening to become an ecological disaster.

Read More Show Less