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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.

Below are questions and answers that were posed in our Reverse, Repair, Protect: CEC’s Bold Climate Action Plan Webinar. CEC staff have endeavored to answer these questions to the best of our ability and have provided additional resources for you to dig deeper into topics discussed. Did you miss this webinar? Watch it here

Residential composting seems to be lacking in our community outside the City of Santa Barbara and many residents do not have space for composting. What are the options?

The County of Santa Barbara offers discounted Earth Machine composting bins to help residents start their home composting efforts. Santa Barbara County is developing Tajiguas ReSource Recovery Project (TRRP), a new composting facility on the Gaviota Coast that will process all residential waste, including food waste. It is slated to open late 2021. CEC is also looking to develop more small-scale options, including a potential farmers’ market food waste drop-off.

There is still a lot of work to be done in this department. As a community, we need to think about the organic waste with which we interact. All of it is a resource. We need to be better about reclaiming it and making sure the carbon in our green waste is put back in the soil where it can do some good. CEC is advocating for accessible programs for our community and hope to see those develop over time. Stay tuned for additional details. 

A great resource is the Environmental Horticulture Department at Santa Barbara City College. They currently offer a variety of classes on resilient land and soil building management which are very affordable.

Due to the pandemic and concerns about reusables, coffee shops and restaurants seem to have ceased the use of reusable containers, even bags. Is there anything that can be done to push for a return to reusables?

The push needs to come from consumers. Many of the locally owned coffee shops are now taking personal reusable containers. Patronizing those businesses and providing feedback to businesses that have shifted to a fully take-out/curbside model about the waste this generates will help create a return to the reusable model they had prior to the pandemic.

The single-use plastic bag ban was reinstated last June but the bags being given out now meet the standards of reusable in the law so it’s a workaround. We need to amend the law to strengthen the definition of reusable bags to make it harder for stores to afford to give them out. There is a precedent law for this in Massachusetts and we will advocate to amend local laws.

Is there any help on the horizon for Goleta Union School District (GUSD) to transition to electric school buses?

Yes, we’ve talked with GUSD about EV school buses. So far, most of the funding for hundreds of electric buses has been going to the most underserved communities with the oldest buses in California – districts in Oxnard and Santa Maria are receiving these buses.

As transportation is the largest contributor of GHG emissions, and we know that simply electrifying public fleets and getting individuals to purchase EVs isn’t enough, what is CEC’s plan to work on promoting use of and investment in public transportation?

The most effective way to reduce GHG emissions is to reduce the amount of driving that we do. CEC is working on policy programs to help redesign our cities so that driving is a choice and not a necessity. It’s a very long and complex process, but CEC is up to the task and is always engaging in different planning activities. CEC has worked with Traffic Solutions, Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition, Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District and the Coalition for Sustainable Transportation to advocate for alternatives to driving alone. However, the community needs to be willing to participate in these alternatives in order for them to gain momentum.

Some low/moderate income drivers (under $104,000 for a family of 4) can even stack incentives to lease an EV for free or at very low cost. Follow these eight steps to find out if you qualify and attend our Affordable Electric Vehicle Clinic on March 23 to learn more about all of the rebates and incentives. 

Will Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) students learn about the solar panels being installed on their campuses?

Although SBUSD hasn’t spoken on specific lesson plans for students, CEC is confident that the creative teachers are incorporating it into their lectures. 

CEC has been actively advocating alongside Laura Caps for solar integration within Santa Barbara Unified. Just recently there has been a push forward on a proposal to build solar at most of the schools within Santa Barbara Unified as well as six solar micro grids that will be able to have battery storage incorporated. We expect to see many more schools going solar in the future.

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