Thrive E&S TAG Summary - June 2019

Climate & Energy Policy: Carbon Cutbacks in SMC


Optimizing advocacy of county building codes, state clean energy & federal carbon taxes

Recap Details

Date - Wed June 19, 11.30a-1p (+30 min optional networking)

Location - Sobrato Center for Nonprofits, Shoreway Conference Room, 330 Twin Dolphin Dr, Redwood City

Description - From 5 local experts (below), expect to gain stronger knowledge of existing advocacy efforts and opportunities for action that address big climate & energy challenges.

Open discussion will focus on cross-organization collaboration and near-term collective action to appreciably cut GHG emissions.

Speakers/Experts (bios & pictures below)

  • Dulce Ceballos Arias, HS senior / leader, Youth vs. Apocalypse (education) – Green New Deal
  • Diane Bailey, Executive Director, Menlo Spark (nonprofit) – Silicon Valley fossil free buildings
  • Charlsie Chang, Legislative Analyst, Peninsula Clean Energy (government) – CA clean energy policy
  • Rachael Londer, Energy Specialist, San Mateo County (government) – county green building codes
  • Robert Steele, Public Outreach Volunteer, Citizens’ Climate Lobby (nonprofit) – federal carbon tax

Host Petra Silton, Policy & Advocacy Coordinator, Thrive Alliance

Moderator - Doug Silverstein, Core Team Leader, Green County San Mateo

Format - roundtable ‘intros & info’ (15 min), expert updates (45 min), open discussion (30 min), optional networking (30 min)

Event Summary

Total attendees - 53

Presentation - download here

Key takeaways

  • County Reach Codes & Silicon Valley Fossil Free Buildings - check on your city’s Reach Code adoption efforts by August 1 to drive safer, cost-effective, climate-friendly green buildings … ask a councilmember; and make sure to ask about plans for 100% fossil free buildings (reach code info)
  • California Clean Energy Policy – ask your state assembly members and senators to actively support Peninsula Clean Energy’s progress towards 100% clean electricity; and to support community choice aggregate (CCA) energy agencies across California; conduct outreach (grant funding)
  • Green New Deal (GND) & Federal Carbon Taxes – ask your congressperson how they are supporting the green new deal, what policies they want to include, and of their support for a national price on carbon
  • Climate Action Plans - Check your city’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) document update efforts (check city website or ask a councilmember) and get involved; read how in this Wed Jun 19 San Mateo Daily Journal Guest Opinion by Doug Silverstein (download)

Survey comments

  • "Wow, terrific line-up of speakers."
  • "What a group of knowledgeable activists."
  • "Appreciate the proof points accompanying this talk."
  • "It’s always good to get updates on what’s going on."
  • "Practical advocacy ideas."
  • "I liked the diversity of the panel and they were all well informed, making this a super educational event."


Dulce Ceballos Arias, leader, Youth vs. Apocalypse

Diane Bailey, Executive Director, Menlo Spark

Charlsie Chang, Legislative Analyst, Peninsula Clean Energy

Rachael Londer, Energy Specialist, San Mateo County Office of Sustainability

Robert Steele, Public Outreach Volunteer, Citizens’ Climate Lobby

Petra Silton, Policy & Advocacy Coordinator, Thrive Alliance

Moderator - Doug Silverstein, Core Team Leader, Green County San Mateo

Audience - Carol Cross



Speaker Biographies

Dulce Arias - Dulce is a senior at Redwood HS in Redwood City and former Woodside HS Green Academy Forestry Clubpresident. She helped organize the youth Green New Deal press conference outside Diane Feinstein’s office after the February viral video, and coordinated fundraising, communications, and live social-media streamingfor the March 15 San Francisco Youth Climate Strike. She’s spoken at the Laney College Poor People’s Campaign, S4SF summit, and Youth vs. Apocalypse block parties at Oakland’s Fruitvale Plaza.

Diane Bailey - Diane is a climate and clean air advocate with a background in environmental science. She comes from the Natural Resources Defense Council, where she spent almost 14 years working at the local, state, federal and international level promoting improved air quality and public health through reduced fossil fuel use, advances in clean transportation, and pollution prevention in industry. Previously, Diane worked at Citizens for a Better Environment in Chicago and a local transportation planning agency in Houston. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Washington University and a master’s degree in environmental engineering from Rice University.

Charlsie Chang - As the public affairs associate at Peninsula Clean Energy, Charlsie works with local organizations and coordinates outreach to ensure San Mateo County residents and businesses are informed about PCE and PCE programs. Charlsie majored in Political Science at UC Santa Cruz and received her MPA from Tsinghua University in Beijing. Prior to joining PCE, Charlsie worked at Lenovo, Edelman, and the German International Cooperation (GIZ) in Sustainable Finance and Infrastructure.

Rachael Londer - As a San Mateo County native, Rachael Londer is excited to be a part of her community’s efforts in achieving sustainability to keep the people and environment of the Bay Area thriving. Rachael Londer earned a B.S. in Environmental Science with a focus on Policy from Humboldt State University. She currently works for the County of San Mateo’s Office of Sustainability where she implements energy efficiency incentive programs for residential, commercial, and municipal customers. Beyond energy efficiency, Rachael’s work includes leading the County’s electric vehicle initiative and facilitating the Countywide adoption of renewable energy.

Robert Steele – Since 2017, Robert has helped the Citizens’ Climate Lobby - San Mateo County Chapter educate the public on climate change and carbon fee and dividend policy that reduces greenhouse gas emissions. From 1994 to 2010, Robert was the LED Practice Director at Mountain View-based Strategies Unlimited market research and consulting firm, responsible for LEDs and high-efficiency lighting activities. In 2000, he founded the Strategies in Light conference on LEDs and has co-chaired it since.  Prior to his work on LEDs he did extensive market research and consulting on solar power and wind energy and conducted energy and environmental policy analyses for the US government.  He received his B.S. in chemistry from MIT and his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from UC Berkeley.

About Thrive Alliance

Thrive is a robust, trusted network of nonprofit organizations, businesses, government agencies, elected officials and civic leaders in San Mateo County. We help to build the capacity of nonprofits, large and small, to strengthen San Mateo County’s critical community organizations and connections. In an increasingly technology-driven world, Thrive is real people, meeting real challenges, with real collaboration – on the ground, face-to-face, 200 strong and counting. Thrive’s unique approach allows us to work across the social, public and private sectors, and facilitate and magnify outcomes through connections, collective voice, and person-to-person collaboration.

About the Environment & Sustainability Thrive Action Group

The Environmental & Sustainability (E&S) Thrive Action Group (TAG) targets leaders in the community to convene once a month to discover and discuss real-time challenges & solutions in the natural resource conservation landscape though the lens of equity and sustainability. Its goal is to identify areas and actions for members to collectively advocate for positive change by harnessing the group’s wisdom and power. Run in partnership with Sustainable San Mateo County (SSMC) and Green County San Mateo (GCSM).

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