Sacramento – Motivated by a concern for the state’s environmental future and rollbacks at the federal level, 100 students from CALPIRG, the California Student Public Interest Research Group chapters converged in Sacramento for their Annual Lobby Day.
Students came from Davis to San Diego to the Capitol to deliver a message: “Students care about California and care about our environment. With extreme wildfires and severe and frequent drought, we’re very concerned about the impacts of climate change on our state. We need to take strong actions to fight climate change, protect our waterways and oceans, and build a sustainable future. And with environmental protections being dismantled at the federal level, we’re looking to our state government to make that happen.” Said Andrew Garcia, CALPIRG Students Vice Chair and junior at UC Santa Cruz.
The students decided this year to focus their Annual Lobby Day on environmental legislation. They met with legislators to show their support for SB 100 (De Leon) for 100% clean electricity by 2045, 1884 (Calderon) to require restaurants only provide straws to customers upon request, and SB 834 (Jackson) and AB 1775 (Muratsuchi) to ban any new or additional oil or natural gas facilities on state lands or waters.
The students also talked to legislators about Proposition 68 for increased funding for state parks, environmental protection projects, water infrastructure projects, and flood protection projects.
“We’re here to encourage our state legislators to vote in support of these strong environmental actions. And we’re here to say – do it for us! Take strong actions now to protect the environment for the next generation, for our future,” said Garcia.
The students praised the state for being on the forefront of environmental action and were in Sacramento to tell their legislators they were looking to California to continue down that path.
“In this current political climate and with the continued threat of climate change, we need to keep it up,” said Garica.
In addition to holding fifty lobby meetings with their representatives, the students held an event on the Capitol steps to share their work and praise a set of key environmentally focused legislators. They were joined by President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon, Senator Nancy Skinner, and Senator Ben Hueso.
“I know the power of the PIRGs in helping get good policy don,” said Senator Skinner at the event. “We’ve got before us SB100, to have CA generate 100% energy from renewable sources. Your good work [to the students] is going to help us pull this off.
The event and Lobby Day was held after an accumulation of work done throughout the last few months to build support on the UC campuses.
CALPIRG Students has educated 50,000 students on the issues of clean energy, ocean protection, and conservation through class presentations and educational events and generated 25,000 petitions from students on campus on a variety of environmental campuses.
They have been particularly focused on the effort for 100% renewable energy. They’ve collected petitions, made phone calls to legislators, and have signed on 150 student organization leaders in support of SB 100 for 100% renewable energy in the state.
They have also been working to get the UC campuses to make commitments for 100% renewable energy. They’ve met with and found interest from campus administrators and members of the UC Regents, and worked to get the student governments at 8 of the UC campuses to pass resolutions in support of their campus moving to all renewable energy.
“We know students care about fighting climate change and are excited about clean energy. And we’re excited to be here today showing our support and talking to our legislators. We want to thank Pro Tem De Leon for his work and we want to see SB 100 become a reality,” said Logan Grady, student at UC Santa Cruz and Campaign Coordinator for the 100% Renewable Energy Campaign for CALPIRG.
“Students feel the urgency to advocate for legislation for a clean energy future and want to translate that to our elected officials,” said Mya Ho, Chapter Chair for CALPIRG at UC Riverside. “I am constantly inspired by the momentum students have built around public interest issues that directly impact us. We are empowered to continue the fight for a meaningful, sustainable future.”