LOCALS ATTEND STARSTUDDED CLIMATE SUMMIT
Santa Cruz County residents help organize ancillary events throughout San Francisco
By Jordy Hyman
SAN FRANCISCO Santa Cruz resident and longtime politician John Laird was one
of many locals who participated in the Global Climate Action Summit, which brought
more than 4,000 leaders, scientists and activists from all over the world to San
Francisco this week.
Friday morning, as part of a session on the ocean, Laird announced the Hope for the
Coast campaign, a pledge to maintain, protect and enhance California’s coastal
ecosystems, and introduced the groups that have already committed, led by the
Laird was part of the star-studded program at the Moscone Center that had politicians
— including two former U.S. secretaries of state, eight former or current governors
and the prime ministers of Barbados and Fiji — along with actors Harrison Ford and
Alec Baldwin, activist Dolores Huerta, scientist Jane Goodall and musician Dave
Matthews, to name a few.
The goal of the summit was to define the problems associated with climate change,
present strategies and announce alliances and promises to act and realize the Paris
On the outside
While entrance to the Moscone Center was limited, the public could view the talks via
live stream online, and hundreds of affiliated events were free and open throughout
Last Saturday in San Francisco, members of the Santa Cruz Climate Action Network
marched with an estimated 30,000 demonstrators, to demand action on climate
Santa Cruz resident Joan Fuhry was one of several locals to march under a banner
that read “Santa Cruz Rises.”
“It was inspiring to see how many people turned out,” said Fuhry. “It made me feel like
we’re not alone out here, we’re not voices in the wilderness. We are legion, really.”
Lynda Marin, leader of the Santa Cruz chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, was
part of a coalition that organized seven free events throughout the city. She also
handed out information advocating for a carbon fee and dividend.
Watsonville resident Nancy Faulstich and Santa Cruz resident Michael Levy made the
drive to volunteer with Sustaining All Life, an international nonprofit asserting that
environmental issues can’t be solved without addressing social inequities.
Both Faulstich and Levy helped organize forums and workshops around San
Francisco during the week, inviting people from underrepresented communities to
“We give an opportunity for everyday people to be heard,” said Levy, who felt that the summit fell short of this goal.
Neither he nor Faulstich gained entry to the Moscone Center, but waited at the
summit’s exit, talking to the public and attendees as they left, about Sustaining All
Both said they were disappointed with the summit’s lack of representation of people of
color and indigenous voices. Both were skeptical of the inclusion of business leaders
and the commitments local and state governments were making.
Faulstich and Levy wanted to see immediate action, and felt like it wasn’t going to
“I’m inspired by the activists and organizers on the outside,” said Faulstich. “The
creativity, the street theater, songs, chanting — that’s the kind of revolution I want to
be a part of.”
Assemblyman Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley) spoke at the summit Friday, on the
efforts of California’s Ocean Protection Council.
“Nobody can do it alone, and what this summit is hopefully about is building
relationships across the globe,” said Stone in an interview with the Sentinel earlier in
He also emphasized the importance of setting ambitious targets, because “if we
establish difficult goals, if we reach, those goals drive change, drive innovation, and
we see the whole economy develop around solutions to address environmental
Gov. Jerry Brown’s new targets calling for carbon neutrality are ambitious, especially
in the light of ongoing federal deregulation and the abandonment of the Paris
Agreement. A pervasive element of the summit was a discrepancy between federal
and regional environmental policy, and many speakers focused on positive outcomes
at the local, state and international level.
“Because of the federal government backing off on climate commitments, they’ve left
a real hole, so now California can have a global climate summit,” and emerge as a
leader in climate action, Stone said.
Former Secretary of State John Kerry underlined the issue in his speech Friday:
“While Donald Trump may have pulled out of the Paris agreement, the American
people have not.”
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo speaks at the Global Climate Action Summit at the
Moscone Center in San Francisco on Thursday.