Advocacy

Advocacy is a main aspect of our work. Through our lobbying efforts, we seek to remedy issues that are plaguing our society and advance environmentally-friendly causes that are being hindered by political inaction.

Our Current Focus

Capitol Hill (DC)

Lobbying at Capitol Hill in D.C. entails far more than the bills we advocate for and the policy proposals we present. At D.C., we seek to learn more about social policy on the national level and what it means to be a youth advocate for justice, so we can truly understand how we can properly speak out amidst the recent trend toward hyperpartisanship and polarization in our political system and in the overall political climate.

Sacramento

Our annual trip to Sacramento includes giving workshops and presentations on issues we feel passionate about and lobbying state legislators for environmental change that we want implemented on a state level.

Local Office Visit

Local office visits constitute some of our most productive lobbying efforts and are an excellent way to introduce our rookies and freshmen into the world of advocacy.

Capitol Hill (DC)

Every year, we take a trip to Washington D.C. after spending months preparing talking points for various bills we support in the current legislative cycle and crafting policy proposals that provide unique and multifaceted solutions to major environmental problems our nation faces. Effective yet still feasible, our policy proposals have been commended by legislators and legislative aides as some of the most well thought out policy ideas that they have witnessed, and many have taken on similar policy ideas themselves, partially drawing off what we have given them. However, lobbying on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. does entail far more than the bills we advocate for and the policy proposals we present. At Washington D.C., we also seek to learn more about social policy on the national level and what it means to be a youth advocate for justice, so we can truly understand how we can properly speak out amidst the recent trend toward hyperpartisanship and polarization in our political system and in the overall political climate.

Photo Gallery

Resources

HR 2261

Oil spills can cause billions of dollars in damages and have irreparable detrimental ramifications toward the marine ecosystems they contaminate. Nearby fishing industries and other businesses that depend on a clean ocean environment also suffer massive financial losses. By ensuring that oil spill companies are responsible for all clean-ups, this bill allows for responsibility and care for the environment to be passed on to corporations. Additionally. By making this issue a national concern, we are being proactive in preparing for crises to better handle them and prevent as much damage to our marine habitats and animals as possible.

S3394

Mercury is a neurotoxin that has the ability to cause severe damage to the human nervous system. Since mercury is so harmful to humans, we find action such as what is proposed in this bill necessary for the health and safety of the general population. This comprehensive bill will mandate that multiple federal programs monitor mercury contents in various ecosystems, informing us on the extent of any problems and what a potential solution might look like. By notifying the public about mercury levels in a comprehensive list of areas, this bill will allow us all to make informed decisions about how to limit our mercury exposure.

Policy Proposal

Plastic pollution poses a serious threat to our oceans and the rich biodiversity they contain within them. By implementing California State Senate Bill 1335 on the national level, the federal government would authorize national food service facilities to switch from harmful solid plastics that take around 450 years to decompose, to a biodegradable Solution. The bill mandates that government-funded food service providers use only recyclable and compostable food packaging at various state facilities and will be a great first step our country can take to protect our oceans and move toward a more sustainable future.

Sacramento

Once every spring, our team takes a trip to the State Capitol in Sacramento, where we present to various state legislators our policy proposals and lobby for pro-environment bills in the current legislation cycle. In the weeks leading up to this trip, we craft detailed and thorough talking points and policy proposals that emphasize our perspective as youth and as youth advocates fighting for environmental justice. Along with preparing ourselves, we also assist advocacy groups from other schools and organizations develop their own talking points and create advocacy networks that help bring our team and many of these other groups together under the same goal: striving for social justice. This way, we can all lobby together on specific dates and work together to create stronger, more compelling arguments and talking points. Aside from advocacy, our annual trip to Sacramento also includes giving workshops and presentations on issues we feel passionate and environmental change that we want implemented on a state level.

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Resources

AB 1080

It has been shown that much of plastic, when not recycled, eventually finds its way to the ocean where it remains indefinitely, as plastic does not biodegrade. Instead, it simply breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces. As it accumulates, our own food and drinking water sources are contaminated with these broken down microplastics. So, what this bill would accomplish is three fold: it would require all departments to reduce and recycle 75% of their single-use plastic, it would require the state to create specific criteria on what is reusable, recyclable, and compostable, and it would require all single-use plastic manufacturers to demonstrate a much higher recycling rate.

SB 332

Water is no longer an easily attainable resource, but rather it is becoming a precious commodity, as highlighted by the recent drought in California. And we know that water reuse is one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to improve drought resilience in California communities. So, SB 332 can definitely get us started on the right path. It will entail that every wastewater facility reduce their annual ocean discharge by 50% by 2030 and by 95% by 2040 from the average annual volume of treated wastewater discharged through a facility’s ocean outfall—conserving water and demonstrating good sustainability practices.

Policy Proposal

As of right now, over 254,000 people living in the San Joaquin and Salinas Valleys have aquifers and water supplies that have been contaminated by nitrates. Symptoms of increased consumption of nitrates range from peptic ulcers and diseases of the digestive system to chronic liver diseases, thyroid conditions, and various types of cancer. And many of these small communities are often unable to afford filtration systems that would provide them with the clean water they need. So, we believe that legislators should adopt a two-pronged approach in order to rectify the issue. First, these rural areas need infrastructure changes that would allow filtered, clean water to reach these communities. Second, the fertilizers that cause the problem must be phased out and replaced with more environmentally sustainable options.

AJR 29

Hazardous substances given off by oil drilling, such as drilling muds (used for the lubrication and cooling of the drill bit and pipe), readily contaminate ocean waters. Contaminated ocean waters then directly affects our health as fish ingest these toxins, and then we in turn consume these fish. This joint resolution will support the current federal ban on any new oil and gas drilling in “federal waters offshore California” and will oppose the Trump administration’s proposal to removal protection for further drilling. Additionally, AJR-29 urges the United State’s Secretary of the Interior to remove California from the proposed leasing plans, so that California does not contribute to the pollution of our waters.

Local Office Visits

Local office visits are one of our strongest ways to display to local lawmakers what policies their constituents and future voters want pushed forward, sparking them to take action for social justice when they may otherwise feel disinclined to do so. More personal and comprehensive than any our legislative meetings in Washington D.C. or Sacramento, these meetings allow us to delve deeper into the policy aspects of many of the environmental issues we are trying to rectify as well as the logistics and feasibility of our proposed solutions. Additionally, we are able to gain key insights into the legislator’s perspective on many of these issues and their potential solutions, especially coming from the policy side of these hot button issues. As well as constituting some of our most productive lobbying efforts, local office visits are also some of the greatest learning experiences we have here at the California Water Conservancy. During these meetings, new leaders get to experience what it is like to lead and facilitate a formal legislative meeting while rookies and freshmen are gently introduced into the world of advocacy. For rookies, these meetings are great morale boosters, and they help prepare them for the more formal meetings we have at Sacramento and Washington D.C. Meanwhile, the more veteran members gain valuable experience in leading a group of students in a legislative meeting that can then subsequently carry over to both Sacramento and Washington D.C.

Photo Gallery

Resources

Policy Proposal

As of right now, over 254,000 people living in the San Joaquin and Salinas Valleys have aquifers and water supplies that have been contaminated by nitrates. Symptoms of increased consumption of nitrates range from peptic ulcers and diseases of the digestive system to chronic liver diseases, thyroid conditions, and various types of cancer. And many of these small communities are often unable to afford filtration systems that would provide them with the clean water they need. So, we believe that legislators should adopt a two-pronged approach in order to rectify the issue. First, these rural areas need infrastructure changes that would allow filtered, clean water to reach these communities. Second, the fertilizers that cause the problem must be phased out and replaced with more environmentally sustainable options.