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Volume 1, Issue 9  |  View this email in your browser
LACCD Sustainably - The District Newsletter About Sustainability & Climate Change

Climate Crisis Solutions from the Ground-Up

Visualization of "Think Global, Act Local": Top of image says "Think Global Act Local" and shows map of world with arrows pointing to specific locations all over the map. Arrows connect at the top of the map image to show that local efforts translate into global impacts.
Graphic credit: Youth Time Magazine.

Think Global, Act Local

The climate crisis is a global problem with localized impacts. As local economies transition to zero-emission platforms, it is imperative to recognize that these strategies need to consider their unique local conditions and capacities to ensure effective and sustainable solutions. Otherwise, local solutions may not reflect "local realities and do not tackle the underlying drivers of vulnerability” and could “actually increase the vulnerability of natural and social systems to climate change,” if the local dynamics of those complex systems are not well understood, according to World Resources Institute (WRI) featured expert, Crispino Lobo. Yet, the WRI reports that “less than 10% of international climate funds go to local communities most directly impacted by climate change.”

Grassroots organizing aims to amplify voices that are marginalized in policymaking processes by mobilizing community-based action to demand equitable solutions from policymakers. Grassroots organizations, also called community-based organizations or CBOs, often represent grassroots interests in more formal planning processes, acting as intermediary groups between their local constituents and policymakers who participate in processes to critique, mediate, design, and implement policies that affect their constituents. CBOs are community-driven, meaning their leadership, staff, and offices are largely based in the communities they work with, and the issues and solutions they work on are determined by community members. A CBO's interests are meant to be mutually aligned with its constituents to create a “local accountability dynamic” that ensures community members have the desire and capacity to steward any proposed solutions, writes Lobo. This community buy-in is key to making sure solutions are successfully implemented and maintained over time; otherwise, policies may go unenforced and projects may be abandoned.

Furthermore, because of this intimate relationship between community residents and CBOs, “grassroots organizing is not only a strategy for building public pressure on an issue, but also can determine whether public will exists in the first place” according to the National Committee for Responsible Philanthropy (NCRP). Through robust community engagement, training, and education programming with local residents, CBOs play a role in making community members into their own who can fight for the changes they want. Ultimately, CBOs help build movements to address community concerns that may otherwise be unheard or that fail to be addressed with necessary urgency.

Anyone Can Be An Advocate

Day One Goal Setting for Community Advocacy Guidelines. 1)What is a need or issue in your community? 2)Develop a solution? What is your long-term outcome? Is there a person or organzation working on this? 4) Can you partner with them? If so, what do they need? 5)What is your capacity? 6) What is the role you want? 7)What is your network? 8)What are your skills? Technical? Social? 9) Do you have emotional support and accountability? 10) Who can mentor you? Who can provide feedback?
Goal Setting to Advocate for Your Community. Graphic provided by Day One.
Day One (DO) is an example of a CBO based in L.A. County with a mission of “Building vibrant, healthy cities by advancing public health, empowering youth, and igniting change.” DO largely concentrates on youth engagement and empowerment through a variety of outreach and mentorship programs. For example, through their Youth Advocate Program, DO teaches young people about how to make changes in government and how to become leaders in their communities by taking them to city council meetings and teaching them how to speak in front of city council members. “We prepare them on how to tell their story to adults that may not know them but that need to listen to them because their concerns and their voices are just as important as adults voices,” DO Program Coordinator, Nenetzin Rodriguez says.

Last year DO held a summit with their youth members and Pasadena City Council members to meet and talk about the city’s Climate Action Plan. Youth members had the opportunity to ask about the council’s plans to mitigate climate crisis impacts and to protect their community from pollution. “If they don’t see those things, if they don’t get to experience that in person, how do they know that change can happen?” Rodriguez asks. “They are the future leaders of the community... the future voters and decision-makers. So, it's really important that we start involving our youth very early in policy work and in learning how to be engaged in the community.” The work that CBOs, like DO, do to empower people to stand up for their values, to demand change when change comes too slowly, and to develop community leaders makes an impact. It is the type of work that has historically spurred sweeping progressive reforms.

Anyone can be a grassroots organizer or advocate and, often, the time it takes to realize that fact is the biggest barrier to becoming one. If you are interested in getting involved in grassroots efforts, Day One has provided a list of goals to help you get started on tackling an issue that's important to you at the top of this section. You can also learn more from them in their presentation or from a number of others on the LACCD Climate Action & Justice Speaker Series YouTube channel about impactful, existing efforts that you can join or help support. "From women’s suffrage to the civil rights movement to early environmental wins, grassroots organizing has clearly been a vital lever of victory," writes the NCRP. Grassroots advocacy and organization efforts will continue to be critical to developing truly just, comprehensive, and effective solutions to address the climate crisis, and pressure from CBOs and their constituents can help press policymakers to act more urgently. So, get involved, make your voice heard, and make a difference for the planet.
Graphic Describing LADWP's residential solar programs: Shared Solar for multifamily dwellings and Solar Rooftops for single-family homes.

A key element of LADWP’s renewable energy program is the development of local solar, particularly customer-based programs that tap into the city’s abundant sunshine and provide residents and businesses with the ability to generate their own power.

Local solar projects help LADWP to meet renewable energy targets and reduce the carbon footprint created by fossil fuel-burning power plants. Solar also brings economic benefits for LA as a catalyst for creating jobs and stimulating the green economy. Local solar projects also support the reliability of LADWP’s power grid. They are considered “distributed generation” and function as mini power plants that generate energy right where it is used.

To make solar more widely available to residential customers, especially those in neighborhoods with less access to solar technology, LADWP offers two residential solar programs: Solar Rooftops and Shared Solar along with Feed-in Tariff (FIT), a commercial customer program. These programs are designed to bring communities together to help transform the City of Los Angeles into a thriving solar economy.

You can find out more about LADWP's Solar Programs at www.LADWP.com/solar.

Snapshot of "Mock COP26" Youtube video

Youth Lead "Mock COP26"

The United Nations cancelled its annual climate summit, so youth advocates from around the world decided to hold their own "Mock COP26" to talk climate action and tackle representation issues.
Link to Full Article by Grist.
Are you an LACCD-associated student, staff, or faculty member with a story or materials you‘d like to have featured in our monthly sustainability newsletter? Please email submissions to neyc@laccd.edu and include the subject title “LACCD: Sustainably” in your email.
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LACCD: Sustainably is a publication of the Los Angeles Community College District ​​Office of Facilities Planning & Development, Strategic Energy Innovations (SEI) Facilities Energy Management Fellowship, in collaboration with the LACCD Office of Communications & External Relations.

Chloe Ney, SEI Facilities and Energy Management Fellow, (213) 891-2484, neyc@laccd.edu
Aris Hovasapian, Utility Program Manager, (213) 891-2239, hovasaa@laccd.edu

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