Friday, 2 Aug 2002

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.

Thursday nights are the start of my weekend. I kick them off with salsa dancing at Club Cocomo, an island-like oasis tucked away in the industrial sector of San Francisco. The club is very close to the Greenpeace office, making it all too convenient. I like to tell myself that staying up till 2 a.m. is actually enhancing my career: I get to learn Spanish and meet lots of bands that want Greenpeace to power their concerts with the Rolling Sunlight, our solar demonstration truck.

Last night was a long one, but J.P., a policy analyst and my Clean Energy Now! buddy, is back from a trip to San Diego and Mexicali, and he always improves my mood. I get overwhelmed when I am alone in the office, and his presence lightens up the vibe (and the workload).

J.P.’s trip was hot, in every sense of the word. He drove around the Southern California desert visiting a Native American reservation, concerned residents in Mexicali, and activists in San Diego. Greenpeace is building a coalition to oppose Sempra Energy’s development of a “Dirty Energy Export Zone” in northern Mexico to feed Californians’ undying thirst for power. Through the zone, Sempra would essentially export to Mexico the pollution problems and global warming liabilities created by California’s profligate energy consumption. (For more information, check out our website.) This kind of hypocrisy will create a negative relationship that the U.S. does not need to have with its closest neighbor.

Greenpeace’s solar powered truck, the Rolling Sunlight.

Mateo Williford, Greenpeace.

Today, I’m meeting with J.P. and Ashby (Clean Energy Now’s spitfire outreach campaigner) to nail down plans for the Rolling Sunlight’s Southern California tour at the end of August. We hope that by powering gatherings of a Boys and Girls Club in San Diego, students in Tijuana, and activists in Mexicali, we can demonstrate that there are clean energy alternatives to Sempra’s scam. One of my favorite uses of Rolling Sunlight is to power the production of food, but J.P. and I disagree on the best solar snacks. I like solar fries, so we can say things like, “Sempra, don’t fry the planet.” But J.P., after experiencing the 120-degree heat in Southern California, is feeling partial to cold smoothies.

When I get back to my desk, the red light on my phone is flashing. I check my messages and hear the excited voice of my youth activist amigo, Dan Jones of SustainUS. Dan works with a network of students and youth groups dedicated to sustainable development. They waged a bet with President Bush that the nation’s young people could collectively conserve 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide by July 31. The stakes: If the youth won, Bush would go to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, to be held in August and September in Johannesburg, South Africa. The youth won the bet, with an additional 1,800 tons to spare! With the numbers tallied, it is official: Bush must go to the summit.

The mission of SustainUS is to educate U.S. youth about the WSSD. The program started with a handful of people who were pumped up after an international youth conference in Sweden, and has grown into an extensive and well-organized force of young people empowered to hold youth and the government accountable for solving global warming. The bet with Bush is over, but if you are a youth, you can still get involved in the network by checking out the SustainUS website.

Guadalupe, a student at UC-Berkeley and our incredibly efficient and effective intern, is gone for the day, but I have to get in touch her about this weekend’s Aloha Festival in the Presidio in San Francisco. She is going to table with me on Saturday, but getting out there on public transportation with a box of T-shirts, table, banner, postcards, and the whole get-up is something of a logistical nightmare. Hopefully, she can meet the volunteers and me at the office tomorrow morning, so we can all carpool together. She is not going to like getting up that early on the weekend, but campaigning next to the ocean, under the Golden Gate Bridge, on a sunny Saturday is not such a bad job.

Want to join us tomorrow at the park or volunteer for the Clean Energy Now! campaign? Email me at kristin.casper@sfo.greenpeace.org.

Take care,

Kristin