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photo credit: Courtesy Sunrise SoCo

On Earth Day Sunrise Sonoma County marched from Santa Rosa Junior College to the county supervisor chambers.

Sunrise SoCo is the local chapter of the national youth-fueled Sunrise movement aiming to put pressure on elected officials to meaningfully act on the climate crisis.

Organized in coordination with Sonoma Climate Mobilization, members are demanding immediate action, starting with transit justice.

Focused on public transportation, they call for an increase in bus service hours, increased bus frequency, and expanded fare-free access. 

"What we're really asking for that is increased investment from the county, as well as Santa Rosa city council and Petaluma... in the transit systems...doubling the budget would be incredibly transformative."

Those are the words of a local high school student and Sunrise SoCo activist Amy. She said the demands are within reach.

"About 10 to $12 million investment split between those cities; the county has like $2.3 billion budget. So asking for like, I think from the county specifically would be like 6 million we've estimated." Amy said.

Fellow teen organizer Rachel said the focus on transportation justice is key in transitioning away from fossil fuels.

"There are a lot of efforts on the county state level, even federally, to take climate action. We're seeing a huge uptick in electric vehicles, but the other side of that is that often we're leaving people behind. And so that's why investment in public transit is so important." Rachel said.

Rachel said Sunrise SoCo has been well-received by some local elected officials and says she's hopeful more will act on climate change.

"Our experience working with, I think it was the Sebastopol city council members a couple years ago was that they were really, really open to what we had to say. They don't necessarily totally agree with all of our policies or everything that we're asking all the time, but they're definitely very on board to talk more about these solutions that we're proposing." Rachel said.

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