NRDC Golden State Newsletter November 2015, Vol 1, Issue 93
NRDC's Annie Notthoff, Joel Reynolds

December 2015 is the month the world came together on the historic Paris Agreement to tackle climate change and accelerate the shift to clean energy. California, as the eighth largest economy in the world, provides a powerful example that "it can be done." Our strong economy along with tough climate policies shined in Paris at the United Nations climate negotiations (COP21).

NRDC was there in force and actively engaged at every level, including a quarter-million people who signed NRDC's petition demanding climate action in the lead-up to COP21.

NRDC and UNESCO hosted an event with NRDC trustee Robert Redford who spoke with our president Rhea Suh and indigenous activists about the power of storytelling as a catalyst for change. Read more about this historic COP21 below and check out NRDC's coverage — from illustrated staff journals to onEarth's news and analysis and our extensive social coverage.

Here in California, the Department of Fish and Wildlife released a new conservation plan in anticipation of the California gray wolf returning to the state. And NRDC released a report card on the state's management of the drought. Though the state has made strides in some key areas, it's got a long way to go with agricultural water use efficiency, stormwater capture, and management of the Bay-Delta.


Annie Notthoff, California Advocacy Director
Joel Reynolds, Western Director

Battle Over LA's Clean Water Moves to the California Supreme Court

stormwater systems

Los Angeles County operates one of the country's largest stormwater systems, which discharges millions of gallons of polluted water to local rivers, creeks, and beaches. Green solutions to this problem abound, yet the county has repeatedly fought stormwater protections in court. NRDC attorneys are representing Los Angeles Waterkeeper in a suit attempting to shine light on how much money the county pays its lawyers to fight these essential protections — money that could instead be spent on cleaning up the problem. This fall, a court ordered the county to disclose how much it is spending on these lawsuits, saying that the information should be made public under the state's open government laws. The California Supreme Court will decide whether to uphold the order next year.

Global Climate Rallies Reach the West Coast

Global Climate March

NRDC's West Coast offices helped kick off COP21. At the Global Climate March, hosted by coalition partner SoCal 350 Climate Action, NRDC came in tow with a group of L.A.-area student environmentalists ready and willing to march about their climate concerns. On behalf of NRDC, these brave students stood on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall to passionately urge for climate action from leaders attending COP21.

Also in L.A., NRDC stood in solidarity with the National Nurses United (NNU) at the Climate Action Convergence Rally and March. Amidst a sea of more than a thousand nurses dressed in red, NRDC staff and members listened to NNU Vice President Malinda Markowitz (as well as many other environmental partners) demand climate action. "I'm a registered nurse and our planet is my patient, and it is on life support," said Markowitz. "As nurses, we see the health consequences from the effects of pollution created by fossil fuels. We deal with the human fallout of climate injustice. Enough is enough." We are proud to have stood by our very important public health partners and other environmental allies in both rallies.

California's Impact @COP21

California at COP21

Californians had an inspiring climate action story to share with the nations of the world at the UN 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference; proof that government and business can come together to confront the singular challenge of our time — combating climate change.

This month, more than 20 NRDC friends and staff from California traveled to Paris, France. Our delegation added to the influence of the state, led by Governor Jerry Brown, to spearhead new climate action both at the subnational and local level. A major action by 123 governments, collectively representing the biggest GDP in the world, signed on to the Under 2 MOU — an international pact among cities, states, and provinces pledging strict limits on greenhouse gas emissions. NRDC has been centrally involved for decades, working with California leaders to craft the most ambitious climate action policies in the world — policies driving down carbon pollution while California's economy continues to be healthy. Both served as important message for the climate negotiations in Paris.

Merci-beaucoup! Development Expert Escorts NRDC's Dedicated Supporters to COP21

Courtney Gross

While having just returned from the Paris climate talks, Courtney Gross, NRDC senior development associate, has spent most of her life in sunny Santa Monica. Courtney worked in feature casting for more than a decade, went on to work in donor relations at the Los Angeles nonprofit California Community Foundation, and landed at NRDC in 2009, re-inspired by the tremendous efforts, passion, enthusiasm, and generosity of our donors.

Courtney currently manages NRDC's portfolio of donors in Southern California, as well as the Los Angeles Leadership Council — an influential group of NRDC supporters who lobby on environmental issues. Courtney had the distinct honor of escorting our delegation to Paris. "I lived in Paris during my junior year and this was a homecoming of sorts," she said. "My time in Paris influenced my life in so many ways, and now I'm a part of a movement that will hopefully positively influence generations to come."

© 2015 Natural Resources Defense Council

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