Second Environmental Summit, September 29th
A summary of the issues
San Diego at the Tipping Point
Leaders gather to addresses Transportation, Climate, Biodiversity, and Housing needs at Environmental Summit.
On September 29, 2018 over 35 organizations were joined by elected officials to identify areas of collaboration on key regional issues. It was clear at the Summit that implementation of transit, increased density done correctly in urban areas, investment in transit and environmental justice communities, addressing housing affordability and upgrading current housing stocks, stopping sprawl and County General Plan Amendments, and preservation of critical habitats were priorities of most in attendance.
A summary of the issues discussed during the Summit is below.
AREAS IDENTIFIED FOR COLLABORATION
The themes that seemed to come out in the presentations and questions were these:
1. The region needs a strong Regional Transportation Plan to provide real choice, mobility and meet climate goals from SANDAG, a transit Master Plan from the City of San Diego, and increased dedicated funding for transit.
If we are to effectively deal with our traffic and transportation issues, engaging with SANDAG is a must. Whether it is the Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy, linking the Climate Plans with transportation, withholding funds from cities without climate plans, or developing the right projects to get us to our goals, SANDAG holds the keys to our region’s success related to climate and mobility. People need to meet with and get active with SANDAG and some Board members need to be replaced.
In addition, the City of San Diego needs to deliver the long-promised Transportation Master Plan to serve as a roadmap to meeting the mode share goals in its Climate Action Plan. As we address our housing needs, we should be increase densities where it can be supported by transit and affordable by a wide range of economic levels.
Transportation investment must be equitably pursued in most impacted environmental justice communities first and we need to support and secure dedicated funding for transit in the region and stop the subsidy of cars and more roads.
2. Biodiversity must be protected and defended.
We are suffering from a biodiversity crisis. As part of one of very few global biodiversity hotspots in the world, San Diego must continue to play its role in a healthy ecosystem. Planning for habitat viability and linkages for wildlife through the Natural Communities Conservation Plans is a high priority. We must continue to fight hard to stop the current Board of Supervisors from undermining the consensus County General Plan, using litigation, legislation, electoral, and ballot actions where necessary. We must bring a stop urban sprawl/leapfrog development that exacerbates wildfire impacts, support infill development done well, improve the current housing stock as well as increase needed housing in transit supporting areas. We need to protect the last, best habitats and connect them through linkages, funded by a stable and adequate Regional Funding Source.
As a region, we need to see biodiversity as an integrated part of a key platform of a sustainable future and for life on earth.
3. Embrace Urban Density to bring Affordable Housing and Improve Housing Affordability.
To address may of our issues, we need to find a way to get comfortable with increased urban densities. As critical is taking care to ensure that the density is implemented the right way employing anti-displacement measures, supportive infrastructure, relief on parking requirements, locations away from unhealthful locations like freeways, and, where necessary, done in a gradual pace rather than large up-zones all at once. We don’t have a market-rate housing crisis. We have a housing affordability crisis and only additional units that can be afforded by moderate and low-income families can help address this. There is a significant over supply of luxury units and new housing alone, will not solve the problem. The most effective effort to ease the housing crisis must be directed toward existing housing stock upgrade and projects for housing affordable to low and moderate-income families.
4. An active local community is critical to creating the future we want.
Creating a future is not a bystanders sport. We must all act.
Engage Your elected officials
Join community groups who share your values and work actively with them.
Show Up Attend meetings, share your views, support others who share your values.
Educate yourself– Anyone can learn, because everyone cares and has a stake in the outcome.
Volunteer for a campaign of your choice this month!
Donate to a campaign and an organization of your values each month.
VOTE November 6th. Get ready to hit the ground running on November 7th.
The Environmental Leadership Summit was organized by the Environmental Center of San Diego and sponsored by Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation, Briggs Law Corporation, IBEW Local 569, Pacifica Companies, San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action, San Diego Coastkeeper, The La Jolla Group, Preserve Calavera, San Pasqual Valley Preservation Alliance and the Environmental Center of San Diego.