On August 28, California state legislators passed Senate Bill 100, which will mandate the state to generate 100 percent of its electricity from renewable and zero-carbon sources by the year 2045.
The bill, if signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, will expedite the rate at which California meets its renewable energy goals; the state will use 50 percent clean electricity by 2026, and 100 percent renewable electricity by 2045, which will require electricity to be sourced from fossil fuel alternatives like solar and wind based power sources.
The California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) chapter at UCI, a student funded and student run environmental nonprofit organization, campaigned for the bill’s success.
Shawn Archbold, a third year environmental science student, and current UCI CALPIRG Chapter Chair, heads the campaign at UCI.
“A lot of work went into into this,” Archbold said of the organization’s efforts. “We raised the social profile of Senate Bill 100 on social media, as well as at legislators’ offices.” UCI CALPIRG used media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to spread campaign awareness and update the public on the organization’s progress.
The organization’s success in campaigning is also attributed to the time dedicated towards gathering student signatures and compiling petitions. “We reached out to students mainly through educational events, pledging, signatures and social media,” Archbold said. “We petitioned during traffic periods and inside of classrooms.”
CALPIRG’s campaign strategies also included reaching out to legislators and attending lobby days to petition their cause. Chapter chairs and students throughout California gathered at the state capital on lobby days to seek legislative support.
Members also paid a visit to Matthew Harper, the 74th District assemblyman, and were able to meet with him at the state assembly, just before SB100 was passed. “Unfortunately he did not vote with us when it came down to it,” says Archbold.
The statewide CALPIRG organization collected approximately 20,000 petitions, 3,000 of which were collected by the UCI chapter.
Archbold is proud of UCI’s leadership in environmental sustainability.
“The threat of global warming is real, and the UC’s commitment towards using 100 percent renewable energy is one that is not only a great display of leadership for California and the US, it’s also a very cost effective way of fighting global warming,” explained Archbold.
The passing of the bill is considered by many a vital step in the direction toward an environmentally sustainable future.
As the new school year approaches, Archbold is eager to share upcoming events such as the “Save the Bees” campaign, as well as CALPRIG’s “New Voter’s Project.”