Leaders from Bay Area environmental, business and faith communities issued a call for action Wednesday morning and urged California state legislators to make “homegrown, clean sources of energy” a priority.
The National Wildlife Federation hosted a conference call Wednesday morning where community leaders stressed the need for comprehensive federal climate and clean-energy policy.
The call follows President Barack Obama’s first televised national address from the Oval Office on Tuesday, during which he described the need to move away from reliance on oil and toward alternative sources of energy.
Participants said the only way to safeguard against another disaster is to move toward legislation that places a cap on emissions and are looking for action in Washington, D.C. by Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.
Representatives from various green industries said Obama needs to take “aggressive steps” to scale up manufacturing of clean-energy components such as wind turbines, which are currently mostly built abroad in China and Europe.
“We need to invest in domestic manufacture,” said Lisa Hoyos, California coordinator with the Apollo Alliance, a coalition of labor, business, environmental and community leaders that promotes the creation of jobs through investment in clean energy.
Hoyos said that although the state has taken “bold leadership” in driving clean energy policies, the country can’t afford to trade its dependency on oil “for new dependence on externally made clean energy systems.”
Members from San Francisco faith communities – including Temple Emanu-El and Grace Cathedral – spoke of grassroots efforts to curb oil consumption and persuade state leaders to “take bold action.”
Temple Emanu-El’s Rabbi Stephen Pearce described campaigns within his congregation to eliminate waste through composting and reduce its carbon footprint by growing its own produce.
Pearce said he has spoken directly with Feinstein, who is a member of the temple, about the urgency of enacting aggressive legislation that will cultivate green jobs here in the U.S.
“We’re losing that edge by not being more proactive,” he said. “It has to start at home.”
Grace Cathedral’s Reverend Canon Sally Bingham said she advances a religious response to global warming through her role as president of Interfaith Power and Light, which promotes renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation at roughly 10,000 congregations across the country.
“We have a moral responsibility to make these changes, the time is now,” she said. “We must save ourselves from ourselves.”
The speakers asked Bay Area residents to “lean on the issue” and get involved by phoning Senator Feinstein’s office at (415) 393-0707.