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CEC is committed to creating a more resilient and just region in the face of climate change. Through our work with the Central Coast Climate Justice Network and elsewhere, our vision includes an end to racial injustices and their resulting environmental inequities.
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Below is the full transcript from the Reverse, Repair, Protect: CEC’s Bold Climate Action Plan webinar. It is sectioned by slide so you can easily follow along with the slide presentation.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Welcome” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]
[vc_column_text]Sigrid Wright, Community Environmental Council: So welcome to CEC’s first webinar for the year. This is part of a webinar series focusing on climate. Those of you who know us know that we are a 50-year-old, nonprofit environmental group based in Santa Barbara that serves Ventura, Santa Barbara County, and San Luis Obispo counties and that we were recognized last year as a 2020 nonprofit of the Year by the state of California. Our mission is to advance rapid and equitable solutions to the climate crisis.[/vc_column_text]
[vc_column_text] Nayra Pacheco, Interpreter: My name is Nayra Pacheco and I’m gonna jump with a quick interpretation announcement so we can get settled in and listen to what you’re sharing in both languages.

Voy a comenzar con un anuncio interpretación para que podamos conectarnos en ambos idiomas. Hola buenas tardes mi nombre es Nayra Pacheco yo soy la interpretora de Ingles al Espanol por esta parte.

Hello everyone. My name is Nayra Pacheco and I will be the interpreter today for English and Spanish. CEC has a strong commitment to creating a multilingual language justice spaces so that more of our community can engage. For this reason this meeting will be interpreted simultaneously in English and Spanish so please listen and participate in the language you are most comfortable.

El consejo comunitario de medio ambiente mantiene un poco promiso fuerte a la creación de espacios de justicio de lenguaje para que más de nuestra comunidad pueda participar. Por este motivo esta reunión será interpretada simultáneamente en Inglés y español, así favor de escuchar y hablar en el idioma en que se sienta más cómodo.

The PowerPoint presentation will be available in both languages.

La presentación de positivas está disponible en ambos idiomas. En unos minutos cuando termine de dar las instrucciones activaremos la función de interpretación. Si usted está en su computadora verá aparecer un icono de globo al fondo y a la derecha de su pantalla. Y si está en su teléfono verá tres puntitos en la parte de abajo. Haga clic aquí y haga clic en interpretación de idiomas y seleccione el idioma en el que quiere escuchar. Si por algún motivo el audio original suene mas fuerte que la voz de intérprete en cualquier momento puede silenciar el audio original.

In just a minute after I finished giving these instructions we will activate the interpretation feature. If you are on a computer you will see a globe pop up on the bottom of the screen. If you are on your phone, you will see three dots on the bottom right hand side of your screen. Click on these and select the language you speak. If for some reason that original speaker sounds louder than the interpreter you are listening to, you can mute the original audio at any moment.

Usted tendrá que seleccionar un canal de idioma si no es bilingüe en español y en Inglés.

You will have to select a language channel if you are not bilingual in English and Spanish. We welcome contributions into the q&a section in both languages.

Damos la bienvenida a la participación en la sección de preguntas y respuestas en ambos idiomas.

And finally, we create these spaces with everyone’s support. So please communicate any issues by chat.

Y por último creamos estos espacios con el apoyo de todos. Favor de comunicar cualquier problema en el chat.

Thank you, we may now activate the interpretation feature.

Gracias, podemos activar la función de interpretación. [/vc_column_text]

[vc_column_text]Sigrid Wright, Community Environmental Council: Right, thank you Nayra. Alright, so on the bottom of your screen, if you would like to enact the feature, you’ll see a little globe that says interpretation. Pretty good. And if you have any issues, just post them in the chat, please. And Iris and team will take care of it. Thank you again, Nayra. Right, I want to let everybody know, we’re really happy to be here today with you. This webinar is being recorded, you will receive a link to the recording and other resources after the event. And also all of these resources will be made available at CECSB.org. So if you’re registered for this, you should get a follow-up email but you can also find the resources on our website. 

This is an active session and your engagement is welcome. We invite you to ask questions and in the q&a during the presentations or after the presentation we’ll answer them as we are able. We apologize in advance if we’re not able to respond to every question. We’ll do our best. Please use the chat for any other comments or resources you may want to share. We have a full support team here to help us including Iris, who you’ll see is one of the panelists, Alhan and Katie. It’s a little bit past noon right now. So we should be wrapping up around one o’clock. Okay. All right, great. So we are going to begin. And I have the first piece, actually. 

So I want to just talk a bit about why start by sharing, you know why we’re here. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Worldwide extreme weather catastrophes” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]

[vc_column_text]And before we get into CEC’s solutions around climate change, I think it’s really important that we just kind of set the stage and anyone working in this field, just know some basic facts. The first is that there has been a 350% increase in extreme weather catastrophes in the last 40 years. Or to give a more nuanced perspective. Since 1980, the US has averaged six events a year that have topped over $1 billion in damages. And in the last five years, the annual average is closer to 12 events. So about double in just in the last few years, so it doesn’t just feel like things are getting more intense, they are getting more intense. And this is why CEC does this work. Next slide, please. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Our mission” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]
[vc_column_text]This isn’t just about data points, at this point, each one of us has a very personal climate story, whether it be extreme heat, or wildfires, or the rain bomb that led to the Montecito debris flow. Personally, even as a climate activist for a long time, I considered some of these things wildfire and heat, for example, just to be things that we lived with in Southern California like earthquakes. But over the last five years, I’ve had my property, my family’s property, or even my life threatened multiple times by dozens of fires over a dozen fires. And in fact, I was staying out at Mount Calvary, the night that the T fire erupted and burned Mount Calvary to the ground. 

Even with those experiences, I do want to share a personal story that over the last summer I had an experience with I was spending a few weeks in Oregon, visiting quietly with some family and I had to quickly flee to rapidly approaching fires exploded due to hurricane force winds. They were coming at me from both directions. It ended up taking me over two days to wind my way back through California to get home to Santa Barbara, by making a giant figure eight, basically out to the ocean and back out to the ocean and back criss crossing mountains with roads and highways that were frequently shutting in front of me or right behind me. And for two days I lived in a respirator and didn’t see the sun. The smoke was so dark that there were points where I could hear crickets chirping at noon. And it was the first time that I experienced a feeling of nowhere being safe. I recall during this time period having a conversation with CEC board member Pat McElroy who’s the former fire chief for the city of Santa Barbara, in which I could just hear the horror in his voice as he talked about how emergency responders were now measuring the advancement of fires in acres per second. And here’s how he put it: he said the Thomas fire became the largest fire in California history in 2018. Two and a half years later, it is the seventh, seven of the 10 largest fires in California history occurred in August and September of last year.

So that is the kind of impetus and the personal story behind the data. And why we do the work that we do to put California on track for an equitable climate safe future by 2030. Today, we’re going to be talking about that: CEC’s mission to reverse repair and recover. And we’re going to talk about how this is really the moment where we have to lean in. Many of you have been hearing me say this for years that we have this narrow window of time. And that that window is closing. And that we’re really globally in the position now where we have to do twice as much twice as fast. We have a little over a decade to get to net zero to avoid the worst case scenarios. And, you know, I’ll remind you that it took us a decade just to get the first wind farm in Santa Barbara County. So this is a major lift. But there are three things that give me hope. And I’m going to run through those really, really quickly. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”The challenge” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]

[vc_column_text]The first is that we know what we need to do. We know why the carbon cycle is disrupted and we know what needs to happen to repair it. So essentially, it’s science but it’s not rocket science. Next slide, please.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Reductions needed by sector” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]
[vc_column_text]So here’s what I mean. The crux of the problem is that we’re emitting too many green house gases, carbon dioxide, methane, etc. This graph puts all the different types of greenhouse gases into carbon dioxide equivalent, measuring it in million metric tons. You don’t have to know all of the kind of all the data here, but you’ll get the gist of it on the left, you’ll see what’s contributing to those emissions by sector in today’s world. And on the right, you’ll see what we need to do as quickly as possible. So basically, crushing most of those emissions in the next decade. So Ag and forestry, commercial and residential electricity, industrial transportation. Then what you’ll see, and that will include, you know, moving electricity emissions by to 100%, renewables as soon as possible, reducing transportation emissions by 80%, ag emissions by 80%. And then you’ll see that gray bar, that what we need to do is sequester a bunch of emissions almost 100 million metric tons. So to recap, every sector needs to be massively disrupted, and every sector needs to pull off really heroic levels of drawdown. The second thing, next slide, please, that gives me hope is that we finally have the wind at our backs. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Biden’s Climate Action Plan” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]
[vc_column_text]And I know that many of you feel this as well. While President Biden’s climate plan isn’t perfect, the federal government government is finally sending the right policy signals. So I’m going to just run through some of the highlights of Biden’s plan. just picking up some of the kind of top notes of it. So we’re all grounded in the same information. The first is that he has declared a climate emergency and he’s declared climate as a national security priority. Next slide.

The second thing is he’s called for an end to fossil fuels. Next slide.

And a national transition to clean electricity by 2035. Next slide.

As well as a transition of the Federal fleet to electric vehicles. Next slide.

He’s also called for the protection of 30% of land and coastal waters by 2030. We’re still waiting to hear what exactly that means. Next slide.

And he took a page for California’s development of a new program last year of the civilian climate Corps. And he’s recommending a similar federal efforts. And we’ll post a link to that California climate action core in the chat. However, even with global agreements, or Biden’s platforms, it’s important to note that the majority of the actual work on climate will happen at the local level. And that’s the third thing that gives me hope. It’s the massive amount of creativity, energy and commitment that has emerged at the state and local level in the last few years. So while we have a lot of work to do together, there’s some incredible momentum happening up and down the Central Coast. And I’m going to hand it to CEC’s director of energy and climate programs, Michael Chiacos, to talk about the first of CEC’s three pronged strategy for the next decade. Reverse. Michael?
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”REVERSE” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]

[vc_column_text]Michael Chiacos, Community Environmental Council: Thank you Sigrid. My name is Michael Chiacos. I’m CEC’s director of energy and climate programs. And the central coast in California can help lead the world to zero carbon. My wife and I are expecting our first baby in May. And it is possible that by the time she reaches adulthood, we could be living in this zero carbon world. So imagine with me this future 100% clean electricity, zero emission vehicles and cities easy to get around without a car buildings that don’t use fossil fuels in a zero waste, circular economy. So this is the big idea. And CEC is working with a network of partners under the leadership of the climate center to possibly pull forward California’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2045. Could California get to carbon neutrality by 2030? Matching Norway’s ambitious goal? The quicker we get there, the greater chance we have of avoiding climate disasters that are becoming increasingly severe and commonplace. 

Much climate action is locally implemented and we will push agencies across the three county region to adopt zero carbon targets by 2035 or earlier. This will ensure that local communities are taking strong actions, developing innovative, equitable, replicable programs, and proving California can reach bolder goals. We’ve already made significant strides on 100% renewable electricity. Our region is a national leader on zero emission vehicles. Local governments are getting fossil fuels out of new buildings in our communities are cutting food and plastic waste. Our five year strategic plan seeks to significantly ramp up efforts to get to zero carbon, accelerate our work to sequester carbon in our working and natural lands and develop climate resiliency by preparing for the climate impacts that are intensifying. Next.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”California is a global climate leader” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]

[vc_column_text]CEC, the central coast, and California are leading our nation and world towards this future. We experiment and innovate here in California, creating the clean energy economy of the future. What we do here is spreading to other states and regions. One example the cities of Santa Barbara and Goleta were early adopters of 100% renewable electricity goals. In five Ventura cities were some of the first in the nation to achieve 100% renewable electricity. Now, over 170 cities in eight states have made similar actions. And President Biden recently set a goal of 100% carbon free power for the entire nation by 2035. Next.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Carbon neutrality by 2035″ use_theme_fonts=”yes”]
[vc_column_text]So here’s how we’ll do it. We already have two pioneering cities, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara, they have set some of the most ambitious goals in the entire country of carbon neutrality by 2035. Now we need to work on others and entities like school districts and transit districts. We seek to influence county and city governments in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and SLO counties to set and take action towards ambitious equitable goals: in their climate action plans, General plans, transportation plans, hazard mitigation plans, and other critical policy documents to halt carbon emissions, draw down excess carbon and build that community resilience. We are also launching a climate leadership program to build a troop of diverse climate activists that can engage in policy advocacy and build community support for action throughout the three counties, including youth, people of color, and other underrepresented communities. Next.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”100% clean and renewable energy by 2030″ use_theme_fonts=”yes”]
[vc_column_text]So what gives us this confidence that we can reach these ambitious targets? It’s because we have a strong track record. We have the technology and we are building the will to make it happen. Here’s one success story that is accelerating our clean future. In 2007 CEC wrote our energy blueprint, which was one of the first carbon neutral plans in the entire country, we call it Community Choice, the closest thing to a silver bullet for quick decarbonization. Over the last decade 23 of these local energy agencies have formed serving over 11 million Californians. They’re the easiest and quickest way for our region to move to 100% clean energy, while funding programs to help our region decarbonize at scale.

In 2018, Ventura, Thousand Oaks, Oxnard, Ojai in the county of Ventura became some of the first communities in the nation to be powered by 100% renewable electricity after they joined clean power Alliance, along with many other cities in Ventura and LA Counties. In 2020, Central Coast community energy started expanding the San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties and now serves most of our region. They have set a goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2030 through long term power contracts with newly constructed renewables and storage. Both agencies are quickly developing programs to get more electric vehicles on our road, develop solar micro grids, get fossil fuels out of our buildings, and more to help our region decarbonize. CEC and our network are continuing to advocate, engage, and help these new agencies as they develop ambitious goals and programming. Next. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”ElectricDrive805.org” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]

[vc_column_text]So what makes you so unique is that we work on many levels. We advocate for policy drivers, then we build the networks and we pilot on the ground action and bring them to scale. Let’s take one example with electric vehicles. We advocate for California to set strong EV policy and for agencies such as the county of Santa Barbara to commit to only purchasing EVS in their fleet. And this year, the county is buying 56 EVs and installing 87 chargers. CEC and Sierra Club worked with Santa Barbara MTD to set a goal of 100% Electric buses by 2030. This is one of the most ambitious goals in the nation. We’ve helped Ventura schools receive funding for electric school buses, and will continue to help local agencies deploy all electric buses develop electric car share vanpool or other on demand transportation. 

CEC also led development of electric drive 805 you can see the website here I hope you’ll visit it. This is a coalition of CEC, the air districts of Ventura, Santa Barbara, and SLO and governments, businesses and other partners, that have been working for a decade to make it easier for this transition to take place. And then we do the on the ground work, get more charging stations bill and ensure that low income drivers know about special rebates that make EVs more affordable. So we now have over 1800, public charging stations and almost 20,000 plug in vehicles in our three counties. Californians built the EV market and Governor Newsom recently set an executive order of 100% zero emission vehicle sales by 2035. Massachusetts just set a similar goal as are other states. And, as is President Biden. Next.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”CEC’s Solarize” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]

[vc_column_text]For renewable energy, our tangible actions are proving how we can achieve bold policy goals. We worked with the cities of Santa Barbara and Goleta to set 100% renewable energy goals and Community Choice is quickly making these goals reality across our entire region. The Strause wind farm in Lompoc, which CEC advocated for, will double renewable electricity production in Santa Barbara County with one project. Our solarized residential program has directly helped 858 homeowners go solar while boosting the Central Coast solar market. We are now working to expand our solarized nonprofit program with a goal of installing one megawatt of solar on regional nonprofits. And thanks to the advocacy of CECs staff and board, Santa Barbara Unified School District just approved a plan to solarize 14 schools including six solar micro grids. options as well, that both of the installers can support you with.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Santa Barbara County Food Rescue” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]
[vc_column_text]Another success story: CEC built the Santa Barbara County Food Rescue, a collaborative Food Recovery Network of private public and nonprofit sectors preventing produce and restaurant quality food from going to the landfill and turning into methane. Instead, we are getting this food to those facing hunger throughout the county. Over 100 tons of food has been rescued and provided to seniors, vets, and people in need. We’re currently scaling up with the aim of activating more community kitchens and streamlining production to lower the cost of meals. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Creating a Circular Economy” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]
[vc_column_text]CEC’s ditch plastic program has successfully advocated for seven regional laws that limit the distribution of millions of single-use plastic items per year. We continue to push for policies that reduce single-use plastics at the source and are also advocating for a shift to a circular economy that designs waste out of the system. Now I’m going to pass the baton to Allegra who will talk about how we can draw down the excess carbon emissions.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”REPAIR” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]
[vc_column_text]Allegra Roth, Community Environmental Council: Thanks, Michael. My name is Allegra Roth. I’m CEC’s Food and Climate Program Manager. So by now we know that eliminating carbon emissions isn’t going to be enough to achieve our climate goals and climate safety. We need to actively draw down carbon from the atmosphere and rapidly scale nature-based solutions to achieve not just carbon neutrality, but to get to carbon negative. So this is our decade. This is the decade our challenge is to remove tremendous amounts of carbon from the atmosphere, carbon that has been released over the last century, and store it in our plants and the roots and the soil beneath our feet. And the best way to do that is to support what plants and soil have been doing for free through photosynthesis for billions of years. We need to do this by adapting the way we manage our land. Next slide.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Carbon Farming” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]
[vc_column_text]There are dozens of strategies we have at our disposal from compost application on rangeland to changing our methods of tilling, to planting trees along the edges of fields, there’s a lot we can do and a lot of carbon that we can draw down. As an example, a few years ago, CEC found that we could offset all of the emissions from our county’s agricultural sector, simply by applying compost on just 15% of our county’s rangeland. Compost won’t be the only strategy CEC pushes for by any means but just shows that that the climate impacts are real and they are doable. So over the next year, CEC is going to do everything we can to rapidly scale nature based carbon negative solutions and set bold goals for nature-based carbon sequestration, both at a local level and at a statewide level. This is our big idea. And to do this, CEC will do what we do best: piloting climate-smart strategies and building coalitions of people to scale those solutions.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Carbon-smart agricultural practices” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]
[vc_column_text]Compost on range land has gotten a lot of attention over the last few years for its potential. And we’ll continue to study the impacts of compost, but we will also be looking to pilot and research other strategies. So those could include cover cropping, tree planting, agroforestry, things along those lines. Luckily, the state of California has an entire grant program dedicated to doing just this, the healthy soils program. And there’s dedicated funding in this program to study and implement healthy soils practices on California farms and ranches. We luckily continue to see more and more investment in this program. And it’s great to have meaningful financial support from the state. And CEC will keep promoting this program. It provides a great opportunity for us to partner with farmers, develop research projects, and actually pay growers to do this work, which is hugely important.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Community-based composting networks and programs” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]
[vc_column_text]In order to increase the use of compost, specifically, like I was mentioning, we need to push for alternative composting technologies, including the use of small scale compost, small scale, community based and decentralized composting system. So the more that we can keep food waste in organic materials in our local community where it comes from, we won’t have to transport our food waste dozens or hundreds of miles away. We can avoid unnecessary emissions from the landfilling, and transportation of that food waste and keep it in our community. And in the end, food waste at its core is just nutrients, and water and carbon, all of which we need in our soils. So we’ll be finding innovative ways to keep these materials on our farms on our ranches, in our community and school gardens that can really benefit from the food waste when it’s managed properly.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Bold, climate-smart farming policies and financing” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]
[vc_column_text]So there are major institutional shifts that we need to significantly scale carbon smart farming. Specifically, when it comes to Farmer and Rancher incentives. We have found that there are various policy barriers to this work at the regional level. And we need to address those barriers and the lack of policy incentives at the regional scale. So that includes working with county departments, our regional water boards, our planning agencies, and helping translate those solutions into incentives at the state level. So a piece of the farmer incentives has to be financial. So we’re looking at new financing mechanisms as well, like carbon markets, or ecosystem service markets. And this is something that the Biden administration has shown a lot of interest in. So we’ll hopefully be seeing some leadership at the National level, specifically around the carbon market. 

The goal here is to make it financially feasible and financially beneficial for farmers in our region to adopt soil health strategies. We can’t do this work without the people on the ground managing our land: farmers and ranchers planting seeds and tilling fields every day. We will definitely continue centering the priorities of growers as we push for these incentives. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Strong coalitions” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]

[vc_column_text]None of this work, especially the research and policy work can be done without our partnerships. A priority for CEC has been and will continue to be building strong coalitions of researchers and technical advisors, farmers and Policy Advocates to really take a multi sector approach to this work. We’ve built a really vibrant and exciting network of partners with statewide organizations and legislators. And there’s huge opportunity to translate what we’ve done on the central coast to the state level and the folks at the state are keeping an eye on us to see what we do and what we come up with. And as you can imagine changing the carbon stock in our soils to the degree that we need to require buy in from people at every scale: from growers all the way up to statewide lawmakers and CEC is well positioned to build and maintain the coalition of folks that need to be at the table.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Successful pilots, impactful events, and meaningful policy change” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]
[vc_column_text]So to wrap it up, when CEC first started doing this work, a few years ago, very few people were talking about carbon sequestration and soil health. Since then we’ve gotten more and more confident about the power of this work. Soils have been on the front of the New York Times Magazine, Hollywood celebrities have gotten on board. At the local level, the county of Santa Barbara has chosen to include natural and working lands in their Climate Action Plan. The county of Ventura has actually included specific Carbon Farming language in their general plan, which is the guiding document for land use in the county. So there’s a lot of momentum and energy in this work. And it’s been great doing this work on the ground, launching pilots, hosting events, and advancing policy and actually seeing the movement grow around us and being part of that growth. CEC’s made big waves in this work in the last few years. And there’s still a lot of work to do. And we’re excited to share our steps along the way. So I think that’s it for me, and I’ll hand it to Sharyn Main, the director of CEC’s Climate Resilience Program.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”PROTECT” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]
[vc_column_text]Sharyn Main, Community Environmental Council: Right, thank you Allegra. My name is Sharyn Main. As Allegra said, I’m the director of climate resilience at CEC. And, you know, climate impacts are here, we’re all feeling them. And even with aggressive efforts to reverse and repair, as we just heard from Allegra, and Michael, it’s not going to be enough to protect us from the threats of climate change that are already here. We’re not even likely to see some of the peaks of some of these climate impacts such as sea level rise, or extreme heat and even intense fires for maybe another 30 to 50 years. So what this means is that we’re going to be dealing with climate impacts for at least the rest of our lifetimes, and likely our children’s lifetimes as well. That’s why we must also spur bold action to protect our community, particularly those most vulnerable from the impacts of climate change. Next slide. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”California wildfires shattered records in 2020″ use_theme_fonts=”yes”]
[vc_column_text]We’re seeing fires like never before. In 2020, California doubled its previous fire record with over 4 million acres burned. Sigrid gave us a very, very harrowing experience, her own experience, but we’ve all had them. When you think about fires that then fuse together, and they last, like we like happened last year, in the August complex fire California experienced our first ever Giga  fire. That’s 1 million acres or more. So wildfire experts have actually started to expand the definition of mass of these massive blazes, whether they’re mega fires or Giga fires. And it’s beyond just acres burned, to mean the wildfires that have really an unusually large impact on people and the environment. Also, heat records continue to be shattered across the globe. And we are once again heading into another drought year here regionally, with a prediction of about half of the normal rainfall for the region. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Over 600,000 people and $200 billion in property at risk in California” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]
[vc_column_text]And even though we live on the coast, many of us are really not paying much attention to sea level rise. And while this particular climate threat may seem like something far off into the future, it’s actually going to be quite devastating to us both socially and economically. I mean, it’s already impacting roads and infrastructure and limiting access to certain beaches. And it’s been noted by the USGS, the US Geological Survey that over 600,000 people and $200 billion in property will be at risk in California over the coming decades. And these impacts are likely to be far more costly and impactful to society than even the worst wildfires and earthquakes in our state’s history, by they say a factor of 10. So you can imagine this is a really, really important issue. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Climate change disproportionately impacts vulnerable populations” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]
[vc_column_text]And while climate really is affecting all of us, whether it be fire or drought, or extreme heat, or sea level rise, or even unpredictable storms, the impacts of climate are borne disproportionately by those most vulnerable, those being low income communities, or frontline workers, marginalized populations, communities of color, homeless, elderly, the young and even those with underlying health conditions. And when climate impacts and disasters are combined with say, a pandemic, which we’ve all been experiencing, prolonged recession, and then even racial violence and intolerance, the burden is not only disproportionate, cruel and unfair, but it’s devastating to our community cohesion and social well being. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Tackling the climate emergency and its human costs has never been more critical” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]
[vc_column_text]With bold actions to prepare and protect people in places we can tackle the climate emergency and its human costs and safeguard your children and grandchildren’s future, as well as lift up those most vulnerable. Building a just and equitable Climate Resilience is going to require integrating a range of strategies and connecting the dots from public health, land use planning, infrastructure protection, disaster preparedness to the neighborhood level engagement and empowerment, which is really key. Creating resilience to the climate changes really demands new approaches that empowers community and gives voice to indigenous knowledge and address what we’re facing.

So how does this happen? [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Ambitious, equitable resilience goals” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]

[vc_column_text]CEC will push agencies to set even far more ambitious equitable and resilient schools. We have great partners and our cities here in our county are doing great work. But but we really must go further, we have to protect against the future risks both near and long term. And we have to engage diverse voices in this process. Equity and justice needs to be centered in climate resilience. And this includes challenging the systemic racism and barriers that still persist. Our communities of color or low income and frontline workers should not suffer a greater burden of climate change. And government agencies and community partners need to incorporate the resilience measures into their current work plans. We’re in a climate emergency and the impacts they’re happening now. So we’re going to do this in a couple of different ways.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Climate resilience roundtable” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]
[vc_column_text]Many of you here have participated in our climate resilience roundtables. Over the last year we’ve been listening and learning from the community through this series of roundtables. We’ve brought together government agencies, climate disaster planners, community leaders from public health and social justice and environmental sectors. These roundtables resulted in over 700 community generated ideas and solutions to promote climate resilience. And we’ll be sharing all of these ideas and unpacking the key themes that we learned from the roundtables in a web webinar that we’re hosting next week, next Friday the 12th. And I think we’re gonna put that in the chat for you, because I’d love to have you participate.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Over 700 community generated ideas” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]
[vc_column_text]Here are just a few examples of some of the top ideas are generated from the resilience roundtable series that we’ll be exploring. And these ideas are ranging from more inclusive planning, which I’ve really alluded to, to climate resilience hubs, to transportation and structure protection. And we’ll have all of these in both English and Spanish for our event next week. So our plan will be to continue to promote these community generated ideas and solutions through CEC’s climate resilience priority snapshot, and this will be a report that will be informed by our most critical thinking and what’s happening in the community, the on the ground conditions. So we’re looking at what’s happening now what you need to focus on, what are the most immediate threats? And what has the most community energy around it? What are we looking at? What is the community really calling for, and I think access and inclusion is one of those examples, and what needs to be elevated, what’s really not being addressed. And I think about things such as, the connections between public health and some of these climate impacts. So this snapshot report will not only inform our work, but we hope that it will encourage others to adopt these key elements in their planning efforts going forward. And it will help give the public sort of real time issues that are before us that we need to consider. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Creating a policy platform from community-generated ideas” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]
[vc_column_text]We’ll also be working closely with our partners at the Central Coast Climate Justice Network, and create really a policy action platform based on the principles and the ideals that have emerged through the climate resilience roundtables. And this will really help elevate key climate justice policy, recommendations and help strengthen the equity and justice lens at the local, regional and state level. It will remind governments and agencies to incorporate these perspectives of the Spanish and indeed indigenous language first communities and the frontline and social essential workers and communities of color as they set their climate goals and actions. And it will help make a case for more capacity, support and decision making power to empower our communities so that they can actually have greater input and control of their own resilience. Next slide.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”We need an “all people approach” that leaves no one behind” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]
[vc_column_text]And finally, we will look for partnership opportunities to help climate protection measures that really connect the dots with public health issues, such as the need for urban cooling, and clean air centers during smoke events and fire events. And I want to point out that the World Health Organization has recently suggested that governments really work on an all-hazards approach to preparedness, from infectious disease outbreaks to extreme weather events, and even climate change. And this to me also includes an all-people approach, we need to work at these intersections of health, the environment and the economy to really achieve true resilience.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Networks and collaborations are key” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]
[vc_column_text]And as has been mentioned, really throughout our presentation, the networks and collaborations and partnerships are really key to an integrated approach to climate resilience. And CEC does have strength in this area. We brought together networks and community partnerships between governments and nonprofits and activist groups in academia, and much more. We serve as both a convener and a leader helping to push policy and cutting edge ideas. Just a really quick few examples, we co-founded and co-chair the Central Coast Climate Justice Network along with CAUSE, which has now been around for about four years. And this is where we have over 16, social justice environment organizations that are currently working together, along with our affiliate members from government agencies. And as mentioned earlier, through our food program, and the Santa Barbara County Food Action Network, there are over 30 partner agencies that we’re working with, including health organizations, education institutions. And these are really important partners going forward because strengthening the social safety net is really critical to providing core elements of a just community resilience. And we are actively sharing and leveraging our actions with multiple climate collaboratives that are up and down the state from the local Santa Barbara County Climate Collaborative, to our central coast Climate Justice Network, as I mentioned, our Central Coast Climate Collaborative, which is from Monterey to Ventura County, and even ARCCA, which is a statewide collaboration of regional collaboratives, and networks. So really an important component in part of our strategy. So with that, I’m going to hand it back to Sigrid.

Sigrid Wright, CEC: Great, I’m back. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Michael, for talking about what we need to do to reverse emissions, Allegra to talk about what we need to do to actually work with nature to repair our broken carbon cycle. And Sharon for talking about how we protect against the increasing climate threats that we are facing. I want to just talk very briefly about how we will be measuring and tracking progress over the next few years.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Our 2020 reach” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]

[vc_column_text]So each of our programs has set goals for the next five years. And over the next couple of months, we’ll be building out a dashboard to monitor our progress and assess where we’re at in tracking and meeting our goals. What I’m showing you here is a dashboard just specifically for community engagement — the type of thing that we can easily track right now as we work to build a troop of climate activists of youth and adults, which is a really significant portion of our effort. This no longer is work that can be done by one or two organizations. It’s work that has to be done by all of us. And we’re designing programs and efforts to engage you all. And I know there are a few questions about what that might look like. So I’m going to take a moment here to transition us into the Q&A.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Questions & Answers” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]
[vc_column_text]And so there is a q&a section, where you can type in your questions. We’ve been answering some of them in writing, so you can see those in the answer section. And then we’ll be addressing a few of those live right here. I’m actually gonna ask Michael Chiacos to take the question earlier, it looks like it may have gotten dismissed… or about how folks can engage in policy work. I’m not actually sure what happened to that question.

Michael Chiacos, CEC: Yeah I can answer that. Okay. 

Sigrid Wright, CEC: Could you repeat the question to please? 

Michael Chiacos, CEC: I don’t have it on my list. But yes, it was about how can everyday citizens engage in climate activism. And one of the easiest ways to make sure that you’re staying up to date is to sign up to get our action alerts and to follow the communications that CEC puts out. There are definitely a lot of opportunities right now. The county of Santa Barbara, the city of Santa Barbara, some of the cities in Ventura County are developing or doing their second climate action plans. And there’s ample opportunity to participate in that.

The city of Santa Barbara is also moving forward to building an electrification reach code to get natural gas out of new construction that’s active right now. So if you sign up for action alerts, you’ll be able to learn how to send in emails or letters, attend different meetings and be able to participate. If you’re interested, please let us know. Also, we’re putting together a more formal program that will help to really build this diverse troop of climate activists from different walks of life. And we can definitely help you get into that more formal climate activist program as well as we develop it.

Sigrid Wright, CEC: Excellent. Sharyn, you may just want to repeat the invitation to the webinar here in the next week or so that’s really about community engagement in developing solutions. 

Sharyn Main, CEC: Right. So the wrap-up — we’re calling it the wrap-up climate resilience Roundtable — it really is a culmination of our 15 months worth of work. And so that event is next Friday, March 12. And it’ll be at 10am. And it’s a webinar that will really allow us to take all of that information, all of these generated ideas, but really wrap it up into how we’re going to progress forward. And from that, we really want to continue to engage people in the ideas because some of them are very simple ideas. And some of them are much more policy-oriented ideas. 

But the idea is that these are the issues that the community has elevated to the top of this process. And so I’d be really excited for you to come to participate in that. And then for those that can sign up, we have a limited number, but we’ll have an opportunity for an afternoon session that same day to take a deeper dive to talk about how we could then collaboratively maybe take some of those top ideas and actually start working towards implementation –  start working toward alignment with some of the state and federal resources that are coming down the pipe and how we could actually start to get ahead of it so that we’re ready when those dollars are coming into our community. So I encourage you to sign up for that and to participate, learn what we’ve done for the year. And then let’s take this and move it forward.

Sigrid Wright, CEC: Thank you. Michael, there are a few questions here about transportation, one from Hillary about transportation, the largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions. And we know that simply electrifying public fleets, and getting individuals to purchase electric vehicles isn’t enough, what is CECs plan to work on promoting use of investment in public transportation. And then there’s another question from Deborah. Just about about electric vehicles. So those are two different strategies for tackling the transportation sector. Do you want to address those? 

Michael Chiacos, CEC: Yes, Hillary, I totally agree with you, we can’t just move to more efficient vehicles and alternative fuels. One of the most important things that we need to do is to reduce the amount of driving that we do. And CEC mostly works on more policy items, you know, in general plans and transportation plans, SBCAG worked to really figure out how to redesign our cities so that we can make driving a choice, not a necessity. So it’s a very long and complex process to totally redesign our cities. But we’re definitely up to the task and are always commenting and engaging on different planning activities. 

We also have worked with traffic solutions, and constantly working with Santa Barbara, Bicycle Coalition, and Coast to advocate for alternatives to driving alone, along with MTD. You know, we realize, though, that because of how our cities are built up, that, you know, a lot of people want other people to ride transit and are not willing to do alternatives to driving alone. So, you know, we take a very pragmatic approach and also realize that not a lot of groups were working on electric transportation. So over the last 10 years, we’ve really led work on electric vehicles. 

And to get to Deborah’s question, I put a link in the chat about a webinar that we put together a few months ago if you could go to electricdrive805.org, or follow that link and watch the webinar. And we also have our eight steps to a free or low cost electric vehicle. Most people that live have a family of four making under $104,000 (so low to moderate-income) could actually lease an electric vehicle for free or very low cost. Some of our staff have been doing that as well as some of the other people that we know in the community. So there’s a lot of information there. And then for people that have higher incomes, electric vehicles are very affordable, as you’ll see in that webinar and all the information on Electric Drive 805.

Sigrid Wright, CEC: And there’s another webinar coming up here in a few weeks on a clinic on electric vehicles. 

Michael Chiacos, CEC: Yes, stay tuned for an updated webinar actually in three weeks on March 23, at noon, and there’s a signup on Electric Drive 805 events, if you want to sign up for that webinar. 

Sigrid Wright, CEC: And that one will actually be bilingual. So just definitely want to make sure people know about that one. 

Sharyn Main, CEC: Sigrid, I’ll just also point out, in case you haven’t gotten your webinar fix, there’s plenty to do this week. And so I want to point out that we are partnering with the City of Santa Barbara, and tomorrow at 11. And then again, on Sunday, there will be a brainstorming session, idea generation session that’s kind of similar to what we did with Resilience Roundtables, but really focused on their climate action planning. And so they’ll be looking at their areas of energy waste and transportation. So it ties into how somebody can get involved and get those ideas out. And so I hope you will participate, we’ll put a link for that one as well. So again, that one, tomorrow at 11 and again on Sunday.

Sigrid Wright, CEC: We have so many great questions and I know we’re not gonna be able to get through all of them. And I do want to take a moment just to talk about healthy soils, what we can each personally do to work with nature and sequester carbon, so Allegra, there’s a question in here specifically around that is there from Hugh Kelly, is there a scope for a soil-wise gardening program?

Allegra Roth, CEC: Whoo. That’s a great idea. I guess there are a couple things, I would just encourage folks to think more about the organic waste that you interact with, whether it’s food waste, or green waste coming from your garden or or your neighbors. All of that is a resource. And we need to be better as a community and globally about reclaiming that as a resource and making sure the carbon that’s in it is put back in our soil back in our land where it can do some good. 

If you want to learn more about kind of resilient land management and soil building land management, Santa Barbara City College horticulture department has a variety of classes that are very affordable, where you can learn more about this. There are other community gardens that put on workshops, we can link to those in the chat at some point. So I don’t know if that answers your question, Hugh. But I’d love to talk more offline about that with you.

Sigrid Wright, CEC: Thank you. All right. Michael, I’m gonna throw another one out to you that is around solar panels being installed on campuses at Santa Barbara Unified. And the question is really about, Will the students be learning about the solar panels? I would imagine that the answer to that is yes. But maybe you could just alert folks to what is happening with the schools.

Michael Chiacos, CEC: Yeah, so I’m not sure about the exact lesson planning that will happen, but I’m sure the creative teachers we have at Santa Barbara Unified will work some of the solar panel lessons into their lessons, but CEC has been advocating for many years now for Santa Barbara Unified. I’d really like to call out our former board president Laura Capps for her advocacy on the board as well. 

And so we’ve had a lot of meetings over the years, with Santa Barbara Unified and they finally moved forward and just recently awarded a proposal to a couple organizations that are working together to build solar at most of the schools at Santa Barbara Unified and then six solar micro grids that will be able to have battery storage Incorporated. So this is a really great success for Santa Barbara Unified and we expect to see more and more schools going solar.

Sigrid Wright, CEC: Fantastic. Great. 

Allegra Roth, CEC: Sigrid, I’m sorry, I have one more thing to point out. The county of Santa Barbara does have discounted composting bins. So if you’re interested in managing your own food waste, there are a lot of options for residents and Hilary in the chat I saw she mentioned worm composting. So there are a lot of really creative ways that you can compost at home.

Sigrid Wright, CEC: Fantastic. Okay, I think we are getting close to the end of our hour. Any final thoughts from any of our panelists? Anything that you haven’t, you didn’t get a chance to share that you would like to? [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Closing remarks” use_theme_fonts=”yes”]

[vc_column_text]Okay, very good. Well, we have a number of questions that we weren’t able to get to. So as we as we wrap up the event here, wanna let you know that we’re going to take some of these questions and answer them in our follow up email blast that will go out again, there will be a link to the video for today, as well as some of the other resources that we shared.  There’s a lot of really important work happening right now. 

CEC shared some of the work that we’re focused on, but as you’ve been seeing in the chat section, both the city and the county of Santa Barbara are doing their updates to their climate action planning. So right now really is the time to get involved with that. Some really interesting creative thoughts that people were throwing out, and I would really encourage you to participate in some of the idea generation and visioning that Sharyn and others have been talking about today. So I think the city of Santa Barbara has got one session tomorrow.

So with that, I am going to thank my team. Fantastic job with the panel. Nayra thank you for interpreting behind the scenes Iris, Alhan, Kathy, thank you all. I think we’re gonna close. Great. Thank you. Have a great afternoon, everyone.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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