January 18, 2024


What Awaits Us In 2024?

The coming year will be one of the most important in recent memory. As we step into 2024, our world continues to face a complex polycrisis of the environment, a pandemic, global conflict, and mass migration, evolving in ways that fascinate and alarm scientists.

And locally, the San Onofre decommissioned nuclear power plant stores 3.6 million pounds of the worst poison on the planet, at one of the most dangerous places in our nation, now beset by King Tides and other natural disasters, which threaten the safety of 9 million people.

It’s important to remember that, while all this is taking place, organizations like ours continue to fight the good fight, to take a stand on the issues listed above, and to utilize the arts, education, and science to bring these issues into focus. It’s our mission to take these complex ideas and help advocate for change by making them easier to understand.

We are so grateful for your support and look forward to a year of making the planet a safer place.

- Bart Ziegler, PhD

President, Samuel Lawrence Foundation


Highlights from "First Fridays"

“We can often get overwhelmed in this world by being surrounded by great big giant problems. But it only takes that spark of a young mind and a young heart who has an idea that can change the world for good."

— Terry Torok, Chief Innovation Officer, Enactus

Make sure to watch our last First Fridays webinar, where each of our guests represented organizations dedicated to uplifting innovations and innovators from around the world. Given this inspiring panel of solutionists, you can see why we’re still optimistic about what lies ahead!

Nina Soraa, head of UNLEASH Innovation Lab's Program and Partnerships, highlighted a few innovations which resulted from UNLEASH's convention of 1,000 next-generation social entrepreneurs from more than 150 countries last month.

Terry Torok is the former Chief Innovation Officer of Enactus, Executive Producer at Live from Earth Entertainment, & Co-Founder of the Creative Intelligence Agency. He shared some incredible innovations which emerged from Enactus' annual Solutions World Cup in the Netherlands, a program with 1.5 million alumni in 35 countries.

Patricia McLoughlin, General Manager of the Anthem Awards, introduced some of the very best purpose & mission-driven work of people, companies, and organizations worldwide—think urban community gardens, a reverse-DoorDash food waste redistribution system, and even electric planes!

Jacquelyn Francis, Founder and Executive Director of the Global Warming Mitigation Project, talked about their Keeling Curve prize, which annually awards a collective $500,000 to the 10 best ideas for reducing greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.

Verneda Adele White, Founder of anti-racism lifestyle brand America's Hot Sauce, spoke about the intersection of sustainability, corporate fashion, and social equity work.

   Watch Recording   
    Read Transcript    

Do you have an idea on a renewable-energy, nuclear, tech, or climate solution? We’d love to hear about it! Tag SLF on social media or email our team, and perhaps we’ll feature it in an upcoming webinar or newsletter! 

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Dance Start

If San Diego seems more in rhythm than usual, thank Dance Start, SLF’s program dedicated to bringing the transformative power of dance to young minds, specifically preschoolers in San Diego’s Head Start program.

Dance Start is designed to ignite a passion for movement and self-expression among preschoolers, creating a dynamic and joyful learning environment. Our certified dance instructors lead engaging sessions that cater specifically to the unique developmental needs of these young learners. Through Dance Start, we aim to enhance physical coordination, boost confidence, and instill a love for the art of dance from an early age. 

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There are 3.6 million pounds of spent nuclear fuel at the decommissioned San Onofre nuclear power plant. That radioactive waste is stored just 100 feet from the beach in thin-walled metal canisters behind a short concrete seawall (pictured above), all of which are corroding and cracking. And the whole area is in an earthquake zone, so already, we’re off to a bad start.

But recently, things have ramped up to even more dangerous levels, as King Tide waves have pummeled the San Diego coastline. Multiple videos of such waves in the area depict waves crashing onto shores, over seawalls, and onto buildings.

We are concerned that an already precarious situation is getting worse. Stay tuned here for upcoming news about a new initiative that will confront this danger head on.

Concerned? Sign these two petitions by our friends at San Clemente Green to 1) tell the California Coastal Commission to evaluate the implications of sea level rise on San Onofre, and 2) support the CalSafe Nuclear Waste Storage Plan Act.

Evaluate Sea Level Rise
CalSafe Nuclear Waste Storage


The International Uranium Film Festival is a global festival that spotlights any and all issues pertaining to nuclear fuel, “from uranium mining to nuclear waste, from nuclear war to nuclear accidents.”

And now, the festival has a new award. The "Samuel Lawrence Foundation Award for the Best Young Filmmaker" will be presented to the most outstanding film on the topic of nuclear power directed by promising new talents, accompanied by a $1,000 cash prize.


In the latest post on his Substack Hot Globe, SLF Senior Fellow Steve Chapple interviews co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute, Amory Lovins.

"We're in the middle of a very adept and effective PR campaign, which has fooled a lot of people that should have known better. There is no operational need and no business case for nuclear power using any technology and any fuel cycle, and it is in global decline.”


Film Series on the Threat of the Elements

We're not the only organization concerned about the threat of natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis. Decades ago, Hollywood envisioned natural disasters as thrilling spectacles, but today, these scenarios are dominating our 6 o'clock news—like California experienced firsthand with the recent flooding caused by King Tides. Check out The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures' film series of natural disaster films, which range from cinematic entertainment to urgent reflections of the climate crisis affecting our daily lives.


Like these topics? Check out our "First Fridays" Live Webinar Series on YouTube, where we bring together leading experts to discuss climate change, nuclear safety, environmental issues, energy solutions, and public health and wellness.


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