By Rick Massell
On Oct. 24, the first night after the Kincade Fire began at the Geysers, the Windsor Democratic Club met to hear from several speakers on the topics of citizen engagement for fighting climate change, and how to prevent, prepare and react to emergencies.
Cathy Taylor and John Stayton of SoPEAS (Sonoma Public Education and Advocacy Salon) described their group’s efforts. The group started as a dozen or so friends dedicated to studying and understanding the ballot propositions for the Fall 2016 election. Each week they met at a home of one of the group’s members, heard presentations, and discussed two ballot propositions.
The election results hit the group hard. They decided to take direct action after doing some strategic planning. They set their purpose as working with friends and neighbors for the short and long-term wellbeing of the Windsor community.
Their first project, in September 2017, was called Butts on Bikes, to get more children biking to the high school, reducing the use of carbon-emitting vehicles. Unfortunately, the teacher who was going to lead the program lost his home in the wildfires of October 2017, and left the area.
So in 2018 they picked the goal of Zero Waste, focusing on the summer concerts on the Town Green, measuring the amount of trash diverted from going to the landfill. Because of SoPEAS monitoring and information, plus an additional bin for recycling, diverted waste went from 0% at the beginning of the summer to 60% at the end. In 2019, the town supported the project, renamed Wasteless Windsor; the diversion rate increased to 75%.
The group’s next project is supporting the Windsor Climate Emergency Task Force, which advises the town regarding actions to take to combat climate change. SoPEAS is focusing on the following actions related to the town’s climate emergency resolution: 100% electric in private buildings and facilities, the Windsor READI plan (Windsor Resiliency for Emergencies and Disasters Initiative) to address climate change adaptation, clean energy vehicles, the updating of the bike and pedestrian master plan to encourage walking and bicycling and an employee commute survey.
Rosa Reynoza, treasurer of the Windsor Democratic Club and co-chair of the Windsor Wellness Partnership (WWP), announced that the next meeting of the WWP would be on Nov. 7 at 5 p.m., at the Bluebird Center. (WWP is one of seven chapters of the Health Action network in the county.)
Reynoza made two recommendations for emergencies: Decide on two routes for evacuating and watch out for false information.
She then introduced Dan Widger, of the Sonoma County Department of Emergency Management. He discussed preparing for emergencies, and passed out three important flyers: a list of how to sign up for alerts and notifications from PG&E, Nixle and SoCo Alert; an emergency supply kit checklist for a week-long emergency, including power shutoffs; and a list of items for a personal go-bag.
For those who had to evacuate from Windsor on Saturday, that last list was particularly helpful.