Spotlight: Edith Thacher

(reprint of Inside Sacramento … with their approval)

Taking Action
This article is reprinted with approval from INSIDE SACRAMENTO Jessica Laskey.

By Jessica Laskey April 2024
If your organization needs public support, you need Edith Thacher.

The Natomas resident has decades of experience bringing people together. She’s been in the Peace Corps, a community development specialist working on women’s issues in Sudan, Niger, Mauritania and Singapore, and a project consultant for public agencies.

Now, Thacher is a citizen lobbyist for the Sacramento-Roseville chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, which she co-leads with Lisa Howard.

“Our major focus is climate legislation at the federal level,” Thacher says. “We’re a nonpartisan, grassroots organization with (more than 500) chapters nationwide. I feel very fortunate that since I’ve retired, I’ve had the time to become a citizen advocate working on the micro level in Natomas, where I live, and the macro with CCL, working on legislation that will curb carbon pollution.”

Thacher joined the Climate Lobby in 2016 after Donald Trump was elected president. She was soon asked to run the chapter, which she’s done ever since—with, she insists, “a lot of help.”

Climate Lobby volunteers advocate for climate action in many ways, including outreach and education, and lobbying at local and federal levels. For 2024 elections, the Sacramento-Roseville chapter focuses on getting out the vote.

“It’s going to be incredibly important for people who care about climate change to vote this year,” Thacher says. “The Biden administration has not gotten much credit, but it has passed some terrific pieces of legislation to help reduce our carbon footprint as a nation.

“CCL is partnering with the Environmental Voter Project, a national organization that does ‘get out the vote’ work. We’re postcard-ing, phone calling and reaching out to environmental voters and encouraging them to vote. We’re not into politics, we’re just calling people who can be identified as interested in the environment but don’t vote.”

The group is gearing for outreach around the Inflation Reduction Act, which provides money to the states to help households go all-electric with rebates. Once the California Energy Commission develops its program, the Climate Lobby will spread the word and help people navigate the complex rebate process.

Thacher is also educating people about development plans in Natomas. As reported in Inside Sacramento in January, NorthPoint Development and Angelo Tsakopoulos’ AKT Investments seek to build more than 6 million square feet of warehouse and light industrial development on 475 acres of farmland in an unincorporated part of the county beyond which development is not supposed to occur.

Thacher joined a community coalition under the Environmental Council of Sacramento that includes former Mayor Heather Fargo, wildlife advocates, homeowner associations and other stakeholders to stop the development.

“Once you start moving that boundary that maintains a balance of community, residential, agricultural and mitigation land, the dominos start to fall,” Thacher says. “If you make an exception here, it will also be made over there.”

Thacher encourages her compadres to not be afraid to make their voices heard on tough issues.

“If you don’t go (into your representative’s office), it will only be people who are paid to lobby,” Thacher says. “I recommend going in and presenting a different view and getting involved in local government. If you feel strongly about something, tell your representative, whether they’re in the City Council, Assembly, the House, senators. They listen because you vote.”

“It’s about empowerment,” she says of advocacy leadership. “It’s getting you to do things you never thought you could do.”

For information, visit and ECOS hosts its annual Sacramento Earth Day celebration at Southside Park at 700 T St. on Sunday, April 21, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Jessica Laskey can be reached at jessrlaskey[at]gmail[dot]com. Previous profiles can be found and shared at Follow us on Facebook and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

Spotlight: Barbara Leary

When Barbara Leary moved to Folsom 30 years ago as a nurse practitioner, she saw the connection between the environment’s health and human health, and became an involved citizen. Barbara organized neighborhood voices, successfully advocating for traffic safety, walkability, and trees. Barbara has served in leadership positions on the Parks and Recreation Commission, the Arts and Cultural Commission, the Planning Commission, and serves on a committee working to create a master plan for Folsom’s River District.

Here are some of her successes in protecting Folsom’s cultural heritage and natural environment:

  • City parks named in honor of Native Americans and historical figures
  • Limiting Folsom Boulevard and the Lake Natoma Crossing to four lanes (not six)
  • Preservation of the Natoma Ground Sluice Diggings site and its Blue Oak woodlands
  • Acquisition of the Chan House, to become the Chinese Heritage Museum
  • Work through “Trail Days” to create Folsom’s outstanding trail system
  • Sponsoring “Community Service Days” that led to projects such as a wildlife viewing platform

In 2014, Barbara became Chair of the Sierra Club’s Sacramento Group. The Group has worked with the County and City of Sacramento in the development of their Climate Action Plans, with SMUD in its development of a 2030 Zero Carbon Plan, and with SacRT to support public transportation. The Group has supported preservation of the American River Parkway, and helped stop the poorly conceived transportation Measure A from passing in 2022.

Barbara Leary has been a force in making Folsom a place that we all can enjoy. Now retired, she has announced her candidacy for Folsom City Council. She wants to continue to support Folsom in a community-led, sustainable fashion, ensuring that we take care of our existing community, conserve valuable resources, and preserve natural areas under threat from continued greenfield development. “Folsom stands at a crossroads, and we need leadership that can preserve our heritage while steering us towards a future that offers prosperity and security for all our citizens,” said Barbara. “I am ready to continue my service to Folsom by representing District 4 and working collaboratively to address our challenges.”

To contact Barbara: barbaraleary[at]comcast[dot]net