Supporters of the World Business Academy gathered last Tuesday, August 24, at the lovely Montecito home of boardmember Diane Boss for a reception kicking off its Awards Gala and Dinner next month.
The World Business Academy, based in Santa Barbara, focuses on the danger of nuclear power and the creation of a microgrid energy system using renewable energy sources in Santa Barbara County. The gala, to be held at El Encanto Hotel on Sunday, September 18, will raise funds for the academy’s lawsuit seeking to close Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant.
The Gala will also honor three Santa Barbara luminaries in the fields of business, community empowerment, and environmental stewardship: Sara Miller McCune, founder and president of Sage Publishing and Pacific Standard magazine; David Crosby, legendary musician and environmental activist; and Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society, educator, environmentalist, and film producer.
Guests mingled during a delightful cocktail hour held on the multilevel, ocean-view terraces at Boss’s home. Guests included honoree Jean-Michel Cousteau; film producer Gaby Mandelik, whose film on Diablo Canyon will be shown at the gala; and film producer Dan Molina, whose short films on the honorees will also air at the gala.
The guests then gathered on a lower terrace for a program featuring remarks by Dr. Jerry Brown, director of the academy’s Safe Energy Project, which includes the Diablo Canyon effort. Brown explained the dangers posed by the nuclear plant, which sits on multiple earthquake fault lines and is in a historic tsunami zone. He warned of a looming Fukushima-like catastrophe — Diablo Canyon can withstand only a 7.5 earthquake, and Fukushima was a 9.0. He pointed out that the nuclear plant destroys 1.4 billion early-stage fish every year in violation of California law. Furthermore, Brown noted that the academy is at the forefront of research documenting how the normal operations of nuclear plants can cause cancer in adults and children and can lead to low birth weight and death in infants.
The World Business Academy filed a lawsuit on August 3 against the California State Lands Commission, demanding that the state review significant potential environmental and human health dangers that could result from continued operation of Diablo Canyon. The academy maintains that the state did not have the authority to exempt Diablo Canyon from an environmental impact report.
The other major focus of the academy, the creation of a microgrid energy system using renewable energy sources in south Santa Barbara County, has as its impetus the vulnerability of our current power supply, caused by having the vast majority of our power carried through a single pair of high voltage transmission lines. Making matters worse, the transmission towers between the Santa Clara and Goleta substations, many of which are on steep mountaintops, are vulnerable to wildfires, storms, and earthquakes. According to the academy, more than enough renewable energy potential exists in our county to fulfill all our power needs.
By Gail Arnold