Couple Cares About Climate Change; La Jollans spearhead effort to end fossil fuel use


Nancy and Derek Casady (ages 75 and 81, respectively) have been in the front row of the Climate Change fight since 2014. They live in La Jolla with their daughter, Jennifer, and son-in-law Jerry Phelps, and granddaughters, who also collaborate in the trenches.

“We have a wonderful family life, and that’s one of the things that moved me (to start this effort),” Derek told La Jolla Light. “I don’t want to be on my death bed and my granddaughters come and say, ‘Grandpa, things have gotten really intense with Climate Change, did you do anything?’ They’re going to know that we did, because they’re watching us all the time.”

Jerry is their Facebook page editor, Jennifer helps out with the logistics, and one of their granddaughters has created the Environmental Club at her high school, while organizing the Climate Change Warriors at a nearby elementary school. At times, they perform at the Casady’s rallies.

Since 2014, they have organized five Climate Change rallies in San Diego, evolving from 300 people at their first (March 2015) to 1,000 attendees at their last (February 2017). They created the San Diego Climate Mobilization Coalition, part of a nationwide effort (The Climate Mobilization) that recruits politicians, holds demonstrations and rallies, and gives presentations to generate pressure for the fight against Climate Change.

“The average citizen needs to understand that the United States energy policy needs to shift,” Nancy started. “The average person needs to understand the severity of the threat, the need for action, and that in the U.S., when the people speak, policy changes — but we need to speak.”

For 20 years, Nancy was general manager of the Ocean Beach People’s Organic Food Market and currently is an appointee of Gov. Jerry Brown to the State Board of Food & Agriculture. “I’m hearing every month from farmers who are losing crops, not able to plant, and seeing pest invasions they’d never seen before. The whole food system is under tremendous stress because of changes in the climate,” she said, adding that a lot of people “just haven’t connected the dots.

“What’s going to happen is that it’s going to become personal, and that’s why so many women came out (for the San Diego Women’s March on Jan. 21),” continued Nancy, who’s also treasurer of the La Jolla Democratic Club (LJDC).

Derek, who is LJDC president, added that he comes from a family with a social activism tradition, “I joined my first Democratic Club when I was 17, and my mother was president of it.”

Their next Climate Change rally will be 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 27 at Liberty Station, but the couple plans to remain active until then, participating in the San Diego March for Science (10 a.m. Saturday, April 22 at San Diego Civic Center Plaza, 1200 Third Ave.) and the People’s Climate March (10 a.m. Saturday, April 29 at the Waterfront Park, 1600 Pacific Highway.)

Fossil Fuels Fight

The Casady’s final goal is to see the world end its dependence on fossil fuels, and eventually, use only renewable energies that don’t have the negative effects on greenhouse emissions that the traditional fuels do. “We know that we cannot just turn off fossil fuel energy, we have to have the alternative in place, so we can have this grand transition,” Nancy acknowledged.

Mark Jacobson, professor of civil & environmental engineering at Stanford University, came up with a plan to convert the United States to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, and the Casadys keep a printout of his research paper, “100 percent clean and renewable wind, water and sunlight all-sector energy roadmaps for the 50 United States,” on their living room coffee table.

The study outlines how each State can achieve the transition. Accordingly, California could produce 26 percent of its energy by 2050, using solar plants and large-scale photovoltaic systems designed to supply power into the grid.

“We have to build 328,000 onshore wind turbines (nationwide),” Derek said, “156,000 offshore wind turbines, 75 million rooftop portable systems on people’s rooftops, and 2.7 million rooftop photovoltaics in commercial and governmental roofs.”

For Nancy, Jacobson’s plan is “a workable plan.” In Derek’s opinion, it’s do-able. As he pointed out, “There will be 4 million people coming out of (work) in the oil and gas industries; we will just switch people to manufacturing photovoltaic cells, like we did in World War II, when women took over the work force.”


Visit or follow the Climate Mobilization Coalition at