Sierra Club Invites USF Students to Fight for Renewable Energy

Katie Ward
Staff Writer

Senior Zach Rowe, a designer for the Graphics Center and an intern at the Sierra Club Bay Chapter, hosted an Environmental Art Party last Sunday across the UC 4th floor, which involved creating posters for a rally that was held Tuesday on the steps of San Francisco City Hall. The event was intended to promote the rally while inspiring USF students to participate in the efforts to get affordable clean energy to San Francisco. 

The rally, which worked with local environmental groups and organizations — including the Sierra Club, 350 SF, and the Chinese Progressive Association — was to to promote Clean Power SF, a San Francisco initiative that is part of a broader program called the Community Choice Aggregation (CCA). According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the CCA is a “state policy that enables local governments to aggregate electricity demand within their jurisdictions in order to procure alternative energy supplies while maintaining the existing electricity provider for transmission and distribution services.”

Essentially, the program allows local governments to integrate renewable energy sources that best fit their region with the existing energy companies. For example, towns in Southern California would best utilize solar power, while Sonoma is currently taking advantage it’s geothermal energy resources. “Policy is the way to make big changes,” said San Francisco State student and Sierra Club intern Rachel DeLuca.

California passed CCA in 2002, and for 11 years, San Francisco environmental groups have been fighting traditional energy companies in an attempt to pass Clean Power SF. This initiative would bring all San Francisco residences and businesses 50 percent renewable energy, from primarily solar and wind power. According to Rowe, the goal is to get San Franciscans to use 100 percent renewable energy for only “a few extra bucks a month” than their current electric payments.

Rowe, alongside his fellow intern and USF senior Tiffany Quach, chose to promote the rally at USF because they are trying to incorporate more young, diverse voices in the discussion. “ I feel like a lot of young people really care about the environment. A lot of people talk about our generation and they say things like ‘Ah, these people don’t care, it’s not like the 60s or the 70s when that younger generation cared.’ But I don’t think that’s true, and I think that people just want an outlet, so we’re trying to provide them with that,” Rowe said.

Quach agreed with Rowe that many of the people fighting for the initiative are older, and that younger voices need to be heard, as well. “When I go to these conservation meetings, a lot of the people there are 20 or 30 years older than me. It’s important to get the word out to people our age, because we are the generation that can really make change. We have the privilege to have our voice and opinion about [renewable energy], and not be told by old white men what’s going on,” she said.

To learn more about the Sierra Club, famously started by American conservationist and preservationist John Muir in 1892, visit bayareaenergychoice.org. Watch a video of USF graphics center students and volunteers creating posters last Sunday on YouTube at youtube.com/user/usftv.

Photo courtesy of Colleen Barrett/Foghorn

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