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Infinite Earth Radio – weekly conversations with leaders building smarter, more sustainable, and equitable communities

Infinite Earth Radio is a weekly podcast produced by Skeo and the Local Government Commission and hosted by Mike Hancox and Vernice Miller-Travis. Each week they interview visionary leaders, dedicated government officials, savvy businesses and forward thinking individuals who are working to build smarter, more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous communities through social and economic inclusion that values the contribution of all citizens and seeks meaningful lives for everyone. You will discover new leading edge strategies for lifting up and building great 21st century communities, along with cutting edge strategies for revitalizing under resourced communities and empowering excluded populations. Smart Growth, Prosperity and Sustainability are not possible without social, civic, and economic inclusion for people of all economic, social, and racial backgrounds.
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Now displaying: 2016
Dec 29, 2016

Topic:

How High-Wage Jobs Affect Affordable Housing

In This Episode:

01:22 Mike announces the Infinite Earth Lab training program.
02:52 Mike explains this episode of Infinite Earth Radio.
03:25 Dr. Chris Benner is introduced.
04:23 Chris shares his background and what draws him to issues of economic and social equity and inclusion.
06:40 Chris gives the importance of education for disadvantaged populations for our economic future.
07:09 Chris explains a study of job growth in the San Francisco Bay Area.
09:54 Chris gives information about the next study and how people can get access to it.
10:34 Chris shares the report findings of a lack of housing affordability is causing displacement of residents and long commutes.
12:53 Chris explains the report data of a significant number of low-wage jobs are being created but no new affordable housing units are being created.
15:04 What are the policy implications? What can we do to fix this problem of no new affordable housing?
18:18 Do you see any indication that there’s a movement to create inclusionary zoning or some kind of development incentives to create more affordable housing?
19:54 Are San Franciscans changing how they think of themselves since the city’s character seems to be changing and it now seems to be a city that people can’t afford to live in?
21:52 Chris explains, within a regional context, how residents are needed to have the basis for the sales tax to buy goods.
23:15 Chris shares how he was made aware of the dynamic of people in poor communities who are shopping in other places that are benefiting from the tax dollars being spent there.
24:28 Mike brings up the fact, and Chris agrees, that the poor pay more in regard to commuting time, cost of commuting, and quality-of-life and economic implications.
26:20 Chris explains how the job, inequality, and political crises play out in the context of housing affordability and the overall quality of life in the Bay Area.
30:14 Chris shares where people can go to learn more about his work.
31:14 Chris provides one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
32:26 Chris explains the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
33:24 Chris shares what the world looks like 30 years from now.

Guest:

Dr. Chris Benner is the Dorothy E. Everett Chair in Global Information and Social Entrepreneurship, Director of the Everett Program for Digital Tools for Social Innovation, and Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His research focuses on the relationships between technological change, regional development, and structures of economic opportunity, focusing on regional labor markets and the transformation of work and employment patterns. He is the author of multiple books including Just Growth: Inclusion and Prosperity in America’s Metropolitan Regions, co-authored with Manuel Pastor (Professor of Sociology and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California), which helps uncover the processes, policies and institutional arrangements that help explain how certain regions around the country have been able to consistently link prosperity and inclusion. His most recent book, also co-authored with Manuel Pastor is titled Equity, Growth, and Community: What the Nation Can Learn from America’s Metro Areas. Benner’s work has also included providing research assistance to a range of organizations promoting equity and expanded opportunity, including the Coalition on Regional Equity (Sacramento), Working Partnerships USA (San Jose), the California Labor Federation, and the Congress of South African Trade Unions among others. He received his Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisBenner

Chris’ email is cbenner@ucsc.edu

Organization:

The Everett Program – Digital Tools for Social Innovation at the University of California, Santa Cruz merges the enthusiasm of student leaders with information technology to promote structural social change by building social networking capacity across non-governmental and community-based organizations. Everett’s goal is create a new generation of “info-savvy” advocates using information technology to overcome informational exclusion–based barriers to civic participation and social justice. The learning goes both ways: While advancing the larger public good, Everett students accumulate valuable technical knowledge, while sharpening their leadership and project management skills.

Take Away Quotes:

“I got into this work…[had] sort of a broad interest in social-justice issues, both domestically and internationally, and for me that interest is really rooted in, just, I care about the future; and if you care about the future, you have to care about those populations that have been historically marginalized, because they are the future.”

“That commitment to education for disadvantaged populations is fundamental for our economic future because that is, in many ways, the current workforce as well as the future workforce.”

“We had 15,000 new low-wage jobs just in sort of a narrow categorization of industry categories like restaurants and other types of services. So you’ve got tremendous growth in those kind of jobs and just no new housing that’s available for that.”

“I think part of our challenge is the financing structure of local government, because in California…housing is a net drain on city resources. The cost of services to new residents in the forms of, you know, the water and sewage and electricity and garbage and fire and police and all the things going with that, the cost is higher than the local revenue that comes from property taxes.”

Resources:

Infinite Earth Radio Ep. 002 Equitable Development and Economic Growth with Dr. Manuel Pastor

Equity, Growth, and Community: What the Nation Can Learn from America’s Metro Areas

Get a free digital copy of the book

Find the book on Amazon

The Everett Program – Digital Tools for Social Innovation at the University of California, Santa Cruz

University of California, Santa Cruz – Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California

Dr. Chris Benner’s TED Talk

Just Growth: Inclusion and Prosperity in America’s Metropolitan Regions Find the book on Amazon

2017 New Partners for Smart Growth conference

Register for the Conference!

Get on the Infinite Earth Lab Waiting List!

Dec 22, 2016

Topic:

The Story of Turkey Creek: Self-Determination and Resilient Communities

In This Episode:

01:46 Derrick Evans is introduced.
01:55 Derrick shares his background, which led to the Turkey Creek Community Initiatives.
14:46 Derrick reflects on what it felt like when he first moved to Boston and what kept him there.
22:31 Derrick talks about the impact of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita on Gulfport and on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
31:59 Is the Gulf Coast Fund what Derrick meant by resilient communities?
32:48 Derrick discusses his definition of climate change.
36:03 Derrick agrees that people in Gulf Coast communities saw the climate changing.
37:34 Derrick describes the documentary film “Come Hell or High Water” and mentions the impact it’s had on Turkey Creek.
43:43 Derrick tells about the things that communities can do to make themselves better prepared to withstand or recover from climate impacts.
46:35 If environmental-protection responsibility gets pushed back to the states, what will that mean in terms of work with Gulf Coast communities around resilience and Mississippi DEQ? Are there good working relationships there?
49:08 Derrick adds his closing thoughts.
56:06 Derrick provides one change that would lead to more resilient, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
56:31 Derrick states the action that listeners can take to help build a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable future.
56:43 Derrick shares what resilient Gulf Coast communities look like 30 years from now.

Guest/Organization:

Derrick Christopher Evans is the director of Turkey Creek Community Initiatives and a managing advisor to the Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health. Since 2001 he has worked to help protect and revitalize his coastal Mississippi community and sister communities throughout the region. Prior to that he taught civil rights history at Boston College and social studies in the Boston Public Schools.

Take Away Quotes:

“My community went from being entirely undeveloped—swamplands—to being sort of a pastoral, forested, agricultural type of thing where people were subsistence farmers and fishermen to a community that was the site of multiple coastal timber-industry employments and facilities.”

“This is what, pretty much, TCCI’s m.o. has always been was to recognize the very long list of community ailments and challenges, turn those into an equally long, if not longer, list of possible prescriptions or remedies, including things that we had never thought of before, like coastal ecological restoration, which now is bearing fruit nearly twenty years later; historic preservation; even looking at a historic longstanding, uncleaned, EPA-toxic cleanup site and saying, you know what, that’s a historic site as well as a headache. Let’s use some creative visioning to frame this in such a way that it makes our circle bigger. When you have that list of possible solutions, it attracts from within the community and from without the community potential contributors to the problems that need to be solved.”

“I had a teacher once—the greatest teacher I ever had—who told me that is was no accident that the overwhelming majority of the most impactful ‘spokespeople’ for the race—the black race—historically, like, Frederick Douglass, Dr. DuBois, even Louis Farrakhan, and so forth and so on, had spent formative time and years in and around Boston, Massachusetts.”

“I remember when Hurricane Katrina hit, and my first thought was that this event is either going to…finish off Turkey Creek and its sister communities or open a door for their survival and transformation, particularly as the most not only impacted but instructive places on what not to do again.”

“We’re not resigned to injustice, we’re not resigned to the structuring of privilege and access and inequitable ways; but we will not be resigned at all to inefficacy on our own parts.”

Resources:

Bridge the Gulf

Come Hell or High Water – The Battle for Turkey Creek

Purchase the film, “Come Hell or High Water – The Battle for Turkey Creek”

A Brief History of Turkey Creek

Dec 15, 2016

Topic:

How Climate Change is Impacting Low-Income Communities

In This Episode:

01:56 Rachel Cleetus is introduced.
02:20 Rachel shares her background.
02:54 Rachel mentions what motivates her to do the work that she does.
03:44 Rachel defines the term “climate change.”
05:13 Rachel describes “climate equity” and “climate justice.”
06:38 Rachel differentiates between climate equity and climate justice.
07:46 Rachel explains the concept and some of the major findings in UCS’s “Surviving and Thriving in the Face of Rising Seas” report.
11:05 Rachel tells us about the case studies mentioned in the report, specifically Dorchester County in Maryland.
13:57 Rachel supplies where people can go to learn more about the report.
14:55 Rachel imparts what the phrase “resilient communities” means to her.
16:52 Rachel indicates some of the biggest barriers to enabling vulnerable communities to become more resilient in the face of climate-related disasters, and what preventative measures people can do.
21:10 Rachel gives her thoughts on how other areas in the world that have been impacted by weather can be resilient without support from the U.S. and other neighboring nations.
24:14 Rachel conveys what communities and local governments can do to make themselves better prepared to withstand or recover from climate impacts.
28:57 Rachel provides one change that would lead to more resilient, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
29:19 Rachel states the action that listeners can take to help build a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable future.
30:03 Rachel shares what our coastal communities will look like 30 years from now.

Guest:

Rachel Cleetus is the lead economist and climate policy manager with the Climate and Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). She designs and advocates for effective global warming policies at the federal, regional, state, and international levels. These policies include market -based approaches (such as cap-and-trade programs) and complementary, sector-based approaches (such as efficiency, renewable energy, and clean technology research and development). She also analyzes the economic costs of inaction on climate change.

Prior to joining UCS, Dr. Cleetus worked as a consultant for the World Wildlife Fund, performing policy-focused research on the links between sustainable development, trade, and ecosystems in Asia and Africa. She also worked for Tellus Institute in the energy and environment program, under the mentorship of Steve Bernow. Dr. Cleetus holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. in economics from Duke University and a B.S. in economics from West Virginia University.

Take Away Quotes:

“For me, climate change is one of the biggest threats we face as humanity, and it’s touching every aspect of our life. It’s not just an environmental problem; it is an economic problem, it’s a social problem, it’s a justice issue, because the impacts are already playing out around the world, and they are disproportionately affecting communities of color and low-income communities. So, for me, this work has always been about how do we make a better future for our kids and grandkids, and how do we do it in a way that’s inclusive, that brings people in to work towards a common purpose.”

“Climate change, as we all know, is something that—the climate change we’re experiencing right now is human caused. It’s primarily a result of carbon emissions from our burning of fossil fuels as well as cutting down tropical forests. These carbon emissions are accumulating in our atmosphere, and they’re creating a heat-trapping blanket, essentially, around the earth, and that’s making global average temperatures increase. We are seeing record impacts because of these temperature increases, and those impacts include changes in precipitation patterns. For example, we get these extreme rainfall events that cause flooding, we get heat waves, we get drought, we get wildfires. We’re seeing sea levels rising around the world, and here in the U.S., on the East Coast, we have some of the highest levels of sea-level rise globally that have been experienced.”

“We know that poorer communities, people who have fewer resources, are more extremely affected when extreme events happen. They’re disproportionately affected, and their ability to bounce back from these kind of events is also compromised because of the fact that they have fewer resources.”

“We have to make sure that our policy makers at every level of government are making policies on the basis of science. That just has to be a threshold of how we can do better going forward. We are almost unique in the global community to be still disputing the reality of climate change. It’s long past time to move beyond that.”

Resources:

Union of Concerned Scientists

Surviving and Thriving in the Face of Rising Seas (2015) –Union of Concerned Scientists

Climate Resiliency Toolkit

Dec 8, 2016

Topic:

One Year of Spurring Innovation for the Future of Sustainability and Equity

In This Episode:

01:19 Kate Meis is introduced.
02:04 Kate reflects on her feelings of how the podcast has been doing over the past year.
03:04 Mike adds to the conversation with his own perspective of the podcast.
03:33 Kate provides the question of how she sees the recent election impacting sustainability and equity efforts.
07:46 Mike comments on his interest in how sustainability efforts will play out over the next four years.
08:49 Kate mentions the area that advocates are paying attention to in the sustainability space.
10:49 Kate talks about the membership survey that was conducted before the election.
14:10 Mike supplies his thoughts about the survey results.
15:55 Kate speaks about some of the themes that were found in the survey results.
18:24 Mike mentions what he learned from the survey.
19:29 Kate tells of the split between urban and rural areas that she saw in the election.
21:18 Mike conveys that the suburban and rural voters feel disrespected by the urban voters.
22:02 Kate shares what’s being done to foster more innovation and progress at the local level.
23:38 Mike describes what’s coming up for “Infinite Earth Radio.”
27:37 Kate adds her thoughts on an upcoming plan for “Infinite Earth Radio.”
27:58 Kate shares some words of encouragement.

Guest:

Kate Meis is the Executive Director of the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kate is a champion for local governments, a recognized leader in local climate change adaptation, mitigation and clean energy efforts, and an ardent coalition builder. She obtained a Masters of Science degree in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis, and has a Sociology Bachelor’ s degree from California State University, Sonoma.

Organization:

For over 35 years LGC has connected cutting-edge leaders from across the nation. Together they are advancing transformative policies and implementing innovative solutions for sustainable communities. LGC works to build livable communities and local leadership by connecting leaders via innovative programs and network opportunities, advancing policies through participation at the local and state level, and implementing solutions as a technical assistance provider and advisor to local jurisdictions. With roots in California and a national reputation, LGC offers inspiration, information, and partnership for local and regional champions dedicated to building thriving communities that integrate civic engagement with environmental, social and economic priorities.

Take Away Quotes:

“Our mission, really, is to get the word out about great projects and policies that can be scaled and implemented in communities across the nation, with the goal of improving those communities, making them more livable and sustainable, so to be able to reach the number of folks we’ve reached through these podcasts has been really rewarding.”

“…the next four years will really determine whether or not we’re able to deliver on the Paris Agreement, so the next four years are going to be critical. So that is why we’re concerned about the signals we’re getting from the administration, but that said, climate-change leadership has always happened at the subnational level, so at the level of cities, regions, and states.”

“No matter what happens with the new administration, we are seeing strong signals that states are going to continue to lead, that cities are going to continue to lead…We are seeing leadership continue, and that’s going to be critical moving forward.”

Resources:

Sign up to attend the FREE training - Equitable Development in Practice– Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 1:30 Eastern

Register for the 2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference – February 2-4, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri! Add our brand new Infinite Earth Lab training to your conference registration and receive a special discount.

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 21: When a Climate Change HERO Comes Along, with Barbara Spoonhour and Dustin Reilich

Local Government Commission

Dec 1, 2016

Topic:

What You Eat Can Help Save the Planet

In This Episode:

01:47 John Roulac is introduced.
02:23 John tells about his background and how he became so passionate about the environment and regenerative agriculture.
03:35 John defines regenerative agriculture.
05:53 John discusses why more is needed than just reducing the creation of carbon.
08:44 John speaks to the common argument of needing big agriculture because the planet’s population is growing and people can’t be fed without modern farming approaches.
14:48 John explains the purpose of his article called “Starbucks, Destroyer of the Seas.”
17:38 John discusses the bee population, technology, and nature.
19:37 John describes his company, Nutiva.
21:18 John mentions what needs to happen to ramp up regenerative agriculture.
24:49 John shares how people can learn more about Nutiva and his work, and where to buy his products.
25:23 John expresses his thoughts on the impacts of not eating meat.

Guest:

John W. Roulac is the founder and CEO of Nutiva, the world’s leading organic superfoods brand of hemp, coconut, chia, and red palm superfoods. John founded Nutiva in 1999 with a mission to nourish people and planet. Through his leadership, Nutiva has become the fastest-growing superfoods company on the planet, with a 55 percent annual growth rate since 2002, and has for five years in a row been named one of Inc. magazine’s fastest-growing companies in America. This growth keeps bringing John closer to his dream of a world that places people above profits—one where people everywhere have access to wholesome, organic foods.

Learn More about John here

Learn More about John’s work

Find John on Facebook


Organization:

Nutiva® is the world’s leading brand of all-organic hemp foods, coconut oil, red palm oil and chia seeds. We’re a values-driven brand, dedicated to “Nourishing people and planet.” In a world where the industrialized food system has led us down a tangled path, where food choices have been reduced to the lesser-of-evils, and where distrust reigns, we are the champions of the greater good. Tireless seekers of pure and delicious foods that will nourish our bodies and our planet, we have devoted ourselves to a dream, a vision, a mission. We will revolutionize the way the world eats! And in so doing we will bring nourishment and balance, health and well being, sustainability and community to people and planet.

We know change is hard, but we want to make it easy. We went out looking for the kind of foods that packed a powerful amount of nutrition into every bite, so that you could make small changes to big effect. We found superfoods—nutrient-dense powerhouses that can also be grown and processed in a sustainable way. These are foods that are truly good for you and for the planet. They’re foods like hemp and coconut, chia and red palm. They’re organic, full of vital nutrition, easy to use and delicious additions to your diet.

We say food doesn’t have to be a choice between the lesser of evils.
We say let food lead us to a better world.
We say super people deserve superfoods.
We say, come join us in our mission.
Together, we can change the world.

Learn More about Nutiva

Nutiva’s Real Food Manifesto

Take Away Quotes:

“I think it’s part of our fixation with technology. We’re so into, like, that wind and solar will carry the day, or some new battery technology. And these are obviously important, and we need to stop burning coal and invest in renewables, but equally important is to use regenerative agriculture through a variety of practices such as composting; holistic grazing, which is a more intelligent way to raise animals versus putting them in a pen and cages; growing more diverse crops, cover crops; and the like can really help create more income for the farmers, reduce our inputs, and create a better quality of life for our communities and our globe.”

“Regenerative agriculture not only deals with climate change, it also deals with healthcare; it also deals with finance because healthcare is a huge expense for us.”

“Industrial agriculture will be responsible, along with the petrochemical energy industry, for our current pathway which, in my view, will result in 90 percent of all species on the planet disappearing by 2060—less than 50 years away. And the reason being is that all that carbon is going into the oceans, and the oceans can no longer absorb this.”

“We’re an ocean planet, not a land planet.”

Resources:

Nutiva

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 24: “The New Grand Strategy: Restoring America’s Prosperity, Security, and Sustainability in the 21st Century” with Joel Makower of GreenBiz, and Mark Mykleby of Case Western Reserve University

Starbucks, Destroyer of the Seas – EcoWatch

Why Are Climate Groups Only Focused on 50% of the Solution?– EcoWatch

The Solution Under Our Feet: How Regenerative Organic Agriculture Can Save the Planet (Part 1)–EcoWatch

Part II: How Regenerative Organic Agriculture Can Save the Planet – EcoWatch

Nov 24, 2016

In This Episode:

02:09 Paul Johnson is introduced.
02:46 Paul tells about his journey and how he personally became involved in the CivicSpark Encore program.
04:47 Paul gives details about the Encore program.
06:52 Paul shares how an Encore fellow is funded and who supports the program.
07:40 Paul describes what makes a good candidate for the program.
08:44 Paul answers the question of what a nonprofit needs so that it would make sense to get an Encore fellow.
18:58 Paul tells where nonprofits or late-career professionals can go to learn more about the Encore program.
11:31 Paul explains how the encore program overlaps with the CivicSpark program.
12:47 Paul talks about the work that he’s done as a fellow working with agencies or organizations.
15:16 Paul comments on the chance to interact with and mentor CivicSpark fellows.
16:54 Paul conveys the lessons that he’s learned while doing this work.
17:57 Does Paul see himself continuing this work?
18:46 Paul provides one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
19:34 Paul states the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
21:21 Paul discusses what the Encore program looks like 15 or 20 years from now.

Guest:

Paul Johnson is the President of Paul Everett Johnson and Associates (PEJ), a small business that provides consulting services to develop successful self-sustaining clean energy programs. Paul has over 40 years experience developing and managing clean energy programs and policies in the public, private, and nonprofit sector. During this period, he had 30 years of increased management experience at the US Department of Energy, capped by two years as the Acting Deputy Director of the Seattle Regional Office of DOE. Since 2005, he has served as President of PEJ and conducted a wide variety of consulting projects around the country. From 2007 until 2011, Paul served as the Executive Director of the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization, a non-profit organization focused on increasing the level of clean energy activity in the eight counties of the San Joaquin Valley. For the past few years Paul has worked to develop an Encore Climate Fellows program within the Encore program in several locations in the West to help communities be more resilient to deal with climate change.

Organization:

Encore Fellowships are designed to deliver a new source of talent to organizations solving critical social problems. These paid, time-limited fellowships match skilled, experienced professionals with social-purpose organizations in high-impact assignments. During the fellowship period (typically six to 12 months, half- to full-time), Fellows take on roles that bring significant, sustained impact to their host organizations. While they are working, Fellows earn a stipend, learn about social-purpose work and develop a new network of contacts and resources for the future.

Take Away Quotes:

“The Encore program is dedicated to leveraging human capital of very seasoned, adult experience to adult professionals to improve communities in this country and around the world…A program like this—strengthening nonprofits right on the front lines of dealing with environmental and climate challenges—it just seemed like a great opportunity, and I jumped into the program and have been working in the program in a number of capacities for about four and a half years.”

“The key component of the program that I work on is the Encore Fellowship Network, which refer to themselves as the proof point for the Encore concept. And the Encore Fellowship Network has been around since 2009, and they currently work with partner organizations in 13 different locations around the U.S. and Canada and match seasoned business leaders into fellowships with nonprofits.”

“The Encore program is partnered with the CivicSpark program. CivicSpark has a team approach that works primarily with AmeriCorps folks that delivers a broad array of efficiency, clean-energy services, climate services to jurisdiction partners in California. Encore provides senior-level, seasoned expertise of people who have had full careers to provide mentoring and support services, leadership, to these AmeriCorps interns. So it provides a complementary piece to CivicSpark, and it provides a really neat example of a multi-generational approach where you have people at the beginning of a clean-energy career, working with people at or near the end of their career to tackle climate and environmental needs of communities.”

Resources:

Encore Fellowships

Encore Fellowship Network 

Learn More about Encore Climate Fellows

Strategic Energy Innovations

CivicSpark

Local Government Commission (LGC)

Nov 17, 2016

Topic:

Food Justice and Self-Empowerment

In This Episode:

01:35 Justin Garoutte is introduced.
01:57 Justin describes where the Conejos Land Grant Region is and why it is important.
03:05 Justin tells who predominately lives in the region now.
03:25 Justin shares his background and how he came to have the job that he currently has.
04:36 Justin explains if food justice and food security is a big issue in his region.
05:37 Justin relays how receptive people are to growing their own food.
06:24 Justin conveys information about the Conejos Clean Water organization and its background.
07:36 Justin speaks of the things that he’s currently working on.
10:01 Justin expresses how Conejos Clean Water is funded.
10:41 Justin discusses how many people live in his region, the number of acres, and how the overall economy is.
12:10 Is the water from the Valley supplying any other regions?
13:09 Justin discusses if there is any financial support from people downstream.
15:07 Justin shares how people can learn more about his work.
15:33 Justin conveys how people can support his work.
16:38 Justin provides one change that would lead to safer, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
17:26 Justin states the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
18:02 Justin shares what the Conejos Land Grant Region will look like 30 years from now.

Guest:

Justin Garoutte is the Executive Director of Conejos Clean Water. Justin is an Antonito native who recently returned home to give back to his community and be closer to family. His family has been farming and ranching in Conejos County for multiple generations. At an early age, he was fascinated with traveling and took the first opportunity to get out and see the world. He was one of sixteen Americans chosen to be a citizen ambassador for the U.S. Department of State LINC Program in Tunisia in 2005. His experience in northern Africa inspired him to study abroad again, and he received a scholarship for a full-year of study in Germany on the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) program.

After returning from Germany and graduating high school, he headed off to Colorado College on scholarships from the Daniels Fund, Hispanic Annual Salute, and CC Presidential Fund. While at Colorado College, he explored his interests, including courses in Native American and Mexican American Literature. After another year abroad in Göttingen, Germany, Justin graduated cum laude with a BA in German Language and Culture in 2012. Immediately after graduating, he embarked on what would turn out to be a three-year journey to Germany and other European countries. While in Germany, he taught English at the University of Bremen and German for high school exchange students from the United States, Thailand, and China. In addition, he returned to Colorado College in 2014 to teach a month-long, intensive German Theatre course and direct Das letzte Feuer, a German theatrical production by Dea Loher.

Upon his latest return from Europe, Justin founded Valleybound, the Antonito School and Community Garden, which serves as an empowering educational space, offering a variety of activities for youth and adults alike. Educating and empowering community remains his main focus. Currently, he coordinates and teaches literacy and healthy choices at Guadalupe Elementary and serves as a mentor to at-risk youth throughout Conejos County.

Organization:

The mission of Conejos Clean Water (CCW) is to build public awareness and encourage advocacy and education around environmental, social, economic, and food justice issues in the Conejos Land Grant Region. CCW operates under the basic premise that water is our life source; therefore, protecting the water and fostering a healthy environment promotes public health and serves as a natural resource management system. CCW works to protect public health by promoting environmental justice. CCW views the environment as people: where we live, work, play, and learn. CCW views environmental justice as a convergence of civil rights, environmentalism, and public health. Environmental justice is multicultural and multiethnic, it is grassroots, and it increases links to global struggles. Therefore, CCW is focused on social justice and pollution prevention in order to reduce cumulative health impacts from the built, social, political, and natural environment.

Take Away Quotes:

“A lot of the counties here in the San Luis Valley and the Conejos Land Grant Region are, according to median household income, the poorest in the state, and so we have a lot of kids that don’t necessarily have a lot of food at home. Some families have lost a lot of their ties to having a garden in their backyard or foraging for some of the wild, edible plants that we have in the area. So, we have our school and community garden, known as Valleybound, and that’s where we really have tried to reconnect our community with our roots, teaching kids how to grow microgreens. We have a permaculture class for the seventh graders that we’re doing, cooking lessons out there, and just really trying to reconnect people with the fact that growing food is something that you can do, and you don’t have to rely on outside sources to get that for yourself.”

“We have weekly gardening sessions out there once a week, and the students at the school are the most receptive. And that’s something my dad told me, too, when I came back is, if you want to affect social change and really look at bringing people to self-empowerment, you have to start with the kids because those are the minds that are ripe for change. And that’s where we see the most interest, and the kids just running out there to the garden and learning about quinoa and purple potatoes and all these things that are so magical to them because they’ve never seen them before.”

“The Department of Energy, with Los Alamos Labs, started transferring this nuclear waste here in town, without talking to any of the local municipalities or the local people. People were angry, and people were afraid of their health and the environmental impacts that could have if it were to spill. People went door to door canvassing, gathering signatures, gathering a membership base for the organization. That’s how we [Conejos Clean Water] started. It ended up ending in the courts through litigation with a partner, the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council, and we were able to effectively halt the transfer of nuclear waste right here in town, a town of eight hundred people.”

Resources:

Conejos Clean Water

Donate to Conejos Clean Water

Valleybound - Antonito School and Community Garden

Río Grande del Norte National Monument Expansion

 

Nov 10, 2016

Topic:

Finance Strategies, Sustainable Development, and Future Benefits

In This Episode:

01:11 Shalini Vajjhala is introduced.
02:10 Shalini tells about the moment when the idea of re:focus came into existence.
05:27 Shalini shares what re:focus is and the work it takes on.
06:56 Does Shalini have a favorite project or a project that she thinks was particularly innovative or successful?
09:20 Shalini discusses if her favorite project has been built and how it was financed.
11:05 Shalini explains if the majority of RE.bound projects are in post-catastrophe situations.
16:24 Is there a catastrophe bond currently in place?
17:22 Shalini elaborates on the financial flow of the catastrophe bonds.
19:00 Shalini discusses the insurance-policy transaction.
21:40 Has the insurance industry been receptive or supportive?
23:10 How does this work impact low-income communities?
27:48 Are there any reports about who is still missing and who lost the most as a result of Hurricane Katrina?
28:55 Shalini shares where people can learn more about her work.
29:17 Shalini provides one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
29:52 Shalini states the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
30:35 Shalini shares what disaster preparedness and community resilience look like 30 years from now.

Guest/Organization:

Shalini Vajjhala is the Founder and CEO of re:focus partners. Shalini has an interdisciplinary background with over a decade of experience in green design, engineering, economics, and policy. Before starting re:focus partners, Shalini served as Special Representative in the Office of Administrator Lisa Jackson at the US Environmental Protection Agency. In this position, she led the US-Brazil Joint Initiative on Urban Sustainability (JIUS) announced in March 2011 by Presidents Obama and Rousseff. The JIUS was a signature initiative of the June 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), demonstrating how environmental protection can serve as a driver for economic growth and job creation in building the greener economies and smarter cities of the future.

Previously, Shalini served as Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Office of International & Tribal Affairs at the US EPA and as Deputy Associate Director for Energy and Climate at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. She joined the Obama Administration from Resources for the Future, where she was awarded a patent for her work on the Adaptation Atlas.

Shalini received her Ph.D. in Engineering and Public Policy and B.Arch in Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University.

re:focus partners are social entrepreneurs with expertise in public policy and sustainable development. They design integrated resilient infrastructure systems — including water, waste, and energy projects —and develop new public-private partnerships to align public funds and leverage private investment for vulnerable communities around the world.

Take Away Quotes:

“My work has taken a number of really interesting turns over the last few years, most of which look much more coherent in hindsight than I could have ever planned them out to be, but the common thread is actually working with communities on designing both policy systems and actual infrastructure services for the most vulnerable.”

“A lot of environmental mandates are really difficult to comply with for cities that are really trying to do the right thing. So take, for example, a city like Philadelphia that was dealing with a failing stormwater system—the systems that are designed to manage sewers and storm flows—and Philly did something really creative: they actually announced that they were going to try to move to 100% green infrastructure.”

“re:focus was really born out of trying to build a new approach for how governments could work with the private sector, with new investors, and with communities directly to provide safer and better services over time.”

“A lot of the work we do creates benefits that aren’t just about direct revenues, like building a toll road and collecting tolls; we design things that create future benefits as well.”

Resources:

re:focus partners

RE.bound Program

Follow re:focus partners on Twitter

Hoboken moves to acquire land for its 'largest' and flood-resistant park

Nov 3, 2016

Topic:

Transitioning Out of a Toxic, Unsustainable Industry

In This Episode:

02:09 The introduction of José T Bravo is given.
02:32 Jose describes the mission and goal of Just Transition Alliance.
03:40 What are the goals of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition and Californians for a Healthy & Green Economy (CHANGE)?
04:35 Jose explains what green chemistry means.
05:38 Jose tells why the gathering at the 2016 National Training and Resources Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities was significant.
06:29 Jose shares if measurable progress is being made in addressing the environmental and public-health challenges that are facing vulnerable communities.
07:33 Was there an avenue for the voice of impacted communities and workers to be a part of the TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act) reform process?
08:22 Jose supplies the message he brought to the Summit, from his stakeholder perspective.
10:16 Jose states what he was hoping to accomplish when he co-lead at the Summit.
11:08 Jose shares about the consumer campaign that Just Transition Alliance is helping to lead.
13:32 Jose conveys why we should all be working toward addressing the disproportionate impact of pollution and health threats to vulnerable communities and workers.
14:35 Jose provides one change that would lead to safer, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
15:51 Jose states the action that listeners can take to help build a more safe, equitable, and sustainable future.
16:29 Jose shares what chemical and toxic exposure looks like 30 years from now.

Guest/Organization:

José T Bravo is the Executive Director of the Just Transition Alliance. José is a leader in Californian and national chemicals policy reform work, and Green Chemistry as a member of Safer Chemicals Healthy Families and Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy (CHANGE). CHANGE is an alliance of health, environmental, labor, resource organizations and EJ organizations throughout California. Also, José is on the steering committee of the State Alliance for Federal Reform of Chemicals Policy (SAFER). SAFER is an alliance of organizations in key states working to create a pre-market testing system and regulation for all chemicals. José works directly with Environmental Justice (EJ) Communities and Labor (Organized and Unorganized). His work in social justice issues is rooted in his upbringing in the Southern California farm fields alongside both his parents. José has also worked on immigrant rights issues since his days as a student organizer in the 80s to the present. José has participated in the EJ movement since 1990 and over the years he has gained recognition as a national and international leader in the movement. José also serves on the board of Communities for a Better Environment.

The Just Transition Alliance was founded in 1997 as a coalition of environmental justice and labor organizations. Together with frontline workers, and community members who live along the fence-line of polluting industries, the Just Transition Alliance creates healthy workplaces and communities. They focus on contaminated sites that should be cleaned up, and on the transition to clean production and sustainable economies. The Just Transition Alliance is a 501(c)3 organization based in San Diego, California.

Take Away Quotes:

“For the first time, we were able to go and talk about what a regional economy looks like, what a safe job should look like, what a community-driven infrastructure should be looking like, and it’s so important to involve the communities in what goes in those communities.”

“We tested 164 products. We found products with—earrings for children, targeted to children, with over 4,000 parts per million of lead…At least 81% of the 164 products that we tested had one chemical of concern or more.”

“There’s liquor stores and dollar stores…But this is also putting us in a position, in an environmental justice position, that many of these chemicals are actually made in our communities, they’re put into products in our communities, they’re sold back to our communities, and they’re also dumped back in our communities. So we get a multi-fold of impact while many communities, many white communities primarily, they do have access to dollar stores, but, at the same time, they don’t have the whole myriad of impact that they pose in an environmental justice community.”

“What we believe in the environmental-justice movement is that if our communities are safer, society as a whole in the United States will be safer because we share and we put up with the disproportionate burden.”

Resources:

2016 National Training & Resources Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities –Moving Communities from Surviving to Thriving

Just Transition Alliance

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 43: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 4 –with Sharon Beard, NIEHS

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 42: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 3 –with Khalil Shahyd, NRDC

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 41: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 2 –with Gilbert Campbell, Volt Energy

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 40: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 1 –with Mustafa Ali, EPA

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 5: Environmental Justice and Smart Growth – with Mustafa Ali and Carlton Eley, EPA

Oct 27, 2016

Topic:

Worker Training and Workforce Development

In This Episode:

02:05 Introduction of Sharon Beard.
02:22 Sharon describes the Worker Education and Training Program at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
03:38 Sharon tells why there was a need for the Minority Worker Training Program at NIEHS.
06:18 Did Congressman Louis Stokes visit NIEHS?
06:56 Sharon identifies some of the most successful outcomes of the Minority Worker Training Program.
09:04 Sharon conveys the purpose of the 2016 National Training and Resources Summit for vulnerable communities.
10:50 Sharon answers the question of why it was important for NIEHS to co-sponsor an event like the 2016 National Training and Resource Summit for Vulnerable Communities.
11:43 Sharon gives her response to the criticism that says the federal dollars could be better spent elsewhere than in job training and workforce development.
14:37 Sharon explains if the target of the Environmental Career Worker Training Program is those who have been in the criminal-justice system.
16:37 Sharon gives information about the hourly wage of those who come through the program.
18:26 Sharon tells if there are any people, of the thousands who have been helped, who stick out in her mind.
20:02 Sharon communicates her hopes of what is accomplished at the National Training & Resources Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities and what the ongoing impact will be.
25:21 Sharon discusses one change that would lead to more effective, more dynamic, better-funded environmental work or training.
27:38 Sharon states the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable workforce.
29:12 Sharon gives information on how people can reach her program.
30:25 Sharon shares what federally supported environmental workforce development and employment opportunities look like 30 years from now.

Guest/Organization:

Sharon Beard is an Industrial Hygienist in the Worker Education and Training Program of the Division of Extramural Research and Training (DERT) at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), National Institute of Health (NIH) in Research Triangle Park, NC. As an industrial hygienist, Sharon is responsible for coordinating, evaluating, and improving the nation-wide worker education and training program especially in the area of the Minority Worker Training Program (MWTP) initiative. She uses her background in industrial hygiene to provide expert review, guidance, and leadership in managing a multi-million portfolio of worker training grants in the area of hazardous waste, emergency response, and nuclear weapons/radiation reaching communities all over the US. She has also worked within in DERT assisting with efforts to facilitate and coordinate translational research through the Partnership for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) Program. The PEPH program is an umbrella program that brings together scientists, community members, educators, health care providers, public health officials, and policy makers in the shared goal of advancing the impact of environmental public health research at local, regional, and national levels.

Building on her environmental and occupational health experience acquired while working in the Environmental Restoration and Industrial Hygiene & Safety Departments at Westinghouse Savannah River Company in SC, she is currently a member of the NIEHS Science Advisory Committee, HHS Environmental Justice Working Group and the Brownfields Federal Partnership Interagency Working Group. She is also a member of the American Public Health Association and ACGIH. Beard holds a Master of Science in Environmental Science and Management from Tufts University, Medford, MA where she received the prestigious Environmental Science and Management Fellowship from the National Urban Fellows, Inc. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with minor in Business from Western Carolina University, NC.

The major objectives of the NIEHS Worker Training Program are to prevent work-related harm by assisting in the training of workers in how best to protect themselves and their communities from exposure to hazardous materials encountered during hazardous waste operations, hazardous materials transportation, environmental restoration nuclear weapons facilities, or chemical emergency response, and to undertake brownfields and minority workforce development. A variety of sites, such as those involved with chemical waste clean up and remedial action and transportation-related chemical emergency response, may pose severe health and safety concerns. These are often characterized by the multiplicity of substances present, the presence of unknown substances, and the general uncontrolled condition of the site. A major goal of this program is to assist organizations with development of institutional competency to provide appropriate model training and education programs to hazardous materials and waste workers.

Take Away Quotes:

02:37-“The Worker Training Program at NIEHS is really focused on prevention. It’s a grants program that we fund organizations to conduct health and safety training for workers engaged in all different types of hazardous waste removal, containment, or chemical emergency response.”

03:51-“I think one of the major reasons why this program [the Minority Worker Training Program] was started is that we were noticing the major changes that were happening in urban communities, and primarily, this particular program was started because Congressman Stokes saw that there was a need to train urban, underserved workers who needed to have access to quality job training and have a way to help clean up their communities, and so he worked to get the program funded in 1994 so that we could start training in 1995.”

07:16-“Under the Minority Worker Training, we’re now calling that the Environmental Career Worker Training Program. We’ve actually trained over 10,000; we’re close to 11,000 workers under that program. And what’s unique about it is that we did it in partnership with community-based organizations.”

08:23-“We have been able to at least get a 70% job-placement rate since we started this program back in 1995. And even over the last five years, we’ve had job-placement rates that’s ranging from 70 up to 81 percent for some of these communities, and that’s pretty much unheard of when you think about what’s happening in workforce development right now.”

10:56-“One of the biggest things about being a part of this program is that communities do not understand all of the different types of benefits that these programs have addressed over the years, and what we’ve been able to do here at NIEHS is to really focus on building communities and wanting to share the successes and lessons learned across the board.”

13:20-“Most of the individuals who came out of this program [the Environmental Career Worker Training Program] receive higher earnings as a result of it; there were fewer workplace injuries and related costs; we had reduced crime-related costs, which is a reduction in recidivism of those who were going back to prison; we had all different types of benefits in reference to lowering hiring costs, and there are several other things that we were able to do.”

Resources:

2016 National Training & Resources Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities –Moving Communities from Surviving to Thriving

NIEHS Worker Training Program

NIEHS Environmental Career Worker Training Program

The Economic Impact of the Environmental Career Worker Training Program – NIEHS, November 2015

Minority Worker Training Program: Guidance on How to Achieve Successes and Best Practices –NIEHS, March 2014

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 42: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 3 –with Khalil Shahyd, NRDC

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 41: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 2 –with Gilbert Campbell, Volt Energy

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 40: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 1 –with Mustafa Ali, EPA

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 5: Environmental Justice and Smart Growth – with Mustafa Ali and Carlton Eley, EPA

Oct 20, 2016

Topic:

The Workforce-Development Component

In This Episode:

01:52 Introduction of Khalil Shahyd.
02:06 Khalil describes the Urban Solutions Program at NRDC.
03:27 Khalil shares the purpose and goal of the 2016 National Training and Resources Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities.
04:12 Khalil answers the question of why workforce development is such an important component at the Summit.
05:59 Khalil identifies some of the sessions he’s developing for the Summit in the workforce-development track.
07:21 Khalil expresses what he thinks of the workforce development that’s occurring now.
08:44 Khalil discusses how his hometown of New Orleans is doing in regard to the Summit’s theme of moving communities from surviving to thriving, after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
13:17 Khalil tells how energy inequality presents itself.
15:30 Khalil explains the connection between the reality of energy inequality and workforce development.
16:48 Khalil talks about the importance for people from vulnerable communities to attend the Summit.
17:56 Khalil provides one change that would lead to energy equity and more sustainable urban communities.
19:21 Khalil states the action that listeners can take to build a more equitable, energy-efficient, and sustainable future.
20:56 Khalil shares what urban communities look like 30 years from now.

Guest/Organization:

Khalil Shahyd, PhD is a Project Manager for the Urban Solutions Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Khalil’s work focuses on the Energy Efficiency for All Project, which aims to increase utility-funded energy efficiency programs in the affordable multifamily housing sector. He coordinates with NRDC’s affordable housing partners to advocate for efficiency investments in the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. As part of the LEED Neighborhood Development initiative, Shahyd also promotes the expansion of “green” communities in New Orleans. Prior to joining NRDC, he worked domestically and internationally in urban and rural community development and in economic and environmental justice organizing. He holds a master’s degree in sustainable international development from Brandeis University and is based in NRDC’s Washington, D.C. office.

Take Away Quotes:

“The Urban Solutions Program—we work, as the name suggests, with cities and municipalities to make cities, neighborhoods, communities, much more sustainable, walkable, and equitable. Our vision is working with cities where more than 70 percent of our population actually lives, also accounts for more than 70 percent of our carbon emissions that induce climate change, and so we feel that if we can tackle these issues at the urban scale then we can have a large impact in addressing climate change.”

“As you all know, our cities are also one of the leading sources, or scales, or locations, that are driving our rising inequality, both nationally but also around the world. Much of the gap in wealth, gap in income, gap in affordability, that is happening across our nation is really concentrated in our cities most heavily. And so we feel that attacking climate change and inequality have to be paired together, they have to come in tandem, particularly as we see cities being the major driver of each of those.”

“The goal of the Summit is really to…highlight what’s working in communities and to highlight those leaders at the local level that are actually driving that positive change and to be able to bring those communities, those leaders, those organizations, together to be able to talk about their experiences about what’s working, what’s not working, and then to come together with EPA and with others to begin to think about what additional resources, what support, can bring leverage at the national scale to really support what’s going on in communities across the country.”

“When you’re talking about how people experience environmental degradation, how they experience environmental burdens, how they experience climate change, the threat to livelihood is one of the most pressing concerns.”

Resources:

2016 National Training & Resources Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities –Moving Communities from Surviving to Thriving

Natural Resources Defense Council

Lifting the High Energy Burden in America's Largest Cities – Energy Efficiency For All
A review of 48 major U.S. metropolitan areas finds that low-income households devote up to three times as much income to energy costs as average households in the same city, and that energy efficiency is critical to closing the gap.

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 40: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 1 –with Mustafa Ali

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 41: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 2 –with Gilbert Campbell, Volt Energy

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 5: Environmental Justice and Smart Growth – with Mustafa Ali and Carlton Eley

Oct 13, 2016

Topic:

Opportunities Through Alternative Energy

In This Episode:

02:17 Introduction of Gilbert Campbell.
03:08 Gilbert describes Volt Energy.
04:29 Gilbert conveys his thoughts on the potential to create economic opportunities in the renewable-energy sector.
05:21 Gilbert relates why he’s involved in the 2016 National Training and Resources Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities.
06:31 Does Volt Energy’s business model address the seeming lack of focus on providing solar-power access to lower-income communities?
07:29 Gilbert shares if he thinks energy efficiency could be a strategy to reduce poverty and move communities from surviving to thriving.
08:06 Gilbert relates why it’s important for those who care about economic and environmental inequality to attend the Summit.
08:45 Gilbert provides one change that would lead to more energy-efficient, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
09:10 Gilbert states the action that listeners can take to help build a more energy-efficient, equitable, and sustainable future.
09:24 Gilbert shares how widespread solar and alternative energy will be and how widespread access will be for low- and moderate-income folks 30 years from now.

Guest:

Gilbert Campbell is a co-founder of Volt Energy, a renewable energy project development firm that builds, operates, and maintains state-of-the-art solar energy systems for commercial, industrial, government and educational institutions.

Gilbert was recently named to EBONY magazine's 2014 Power List, which recognizes influential achievements by African Americans annually. Additionally, under Gilbert’s leadership, Volt Energy is largely recognized as an emerging national renewable energy development firm. Volt is a 2014 recipient of Amtrak and The Washington Wizards Pioneer Award, honoring companies that have made a positive impact in their community. Gilbert is a member of The American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE), an Advisor to the US Department of Energy’s Minorities in Energy Initiative, and an Advisory Board Member of The Center for Energy Research and Technology at North Carolina A&T. Gilbert also serves on the Board of Directors for the Greater Washington Boys and Girls Club and is on the Ambassador Board for KIPP DC. Gilbert graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.B.A in Finance from Howard University and has done post-graduate leadership training at Harvard University.

Organization:

Volt Energy is one of the largest minority owned solar energy development firms that builds, operates, and maintains state-of the-art solar energy systems for commercial, industrial, government and educational institutions. Volt Energy offers its clients solar energy at significant savings through a solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), which requires no upfront costs. Volt Energy draws on the experience of its diverse project team of professionals in project finance, engineering, land use law, project management and business development to deliver quality solar solutions for its clients.

Take Away Quotes:

“Volt Energy, at its core, is a renewable-energy firm, and we really focus on innovative finance solutions…where we can bring solar, with no upfront cost, or it could be electric-vehicle charging stations, or it could be a combination of energy storage, where we’re helping organizations reduce their energy load, carbon footprint.”

“The solar industry…is growing twelve times faster than national economy. However, there’s room for improvement. When you look at statistics as far as minorities employed in the solar industry—and women is a little bit better, but it still has a lot of room for growth—it’s right around twenty percent, so the industry is growing very fast, but when you look at vulnerable communities, the jobs aren’t growing as fast as the industry.”

“There’s a lot of incentives promoting solar that really helps business owners and home owners being able to reduce their energy cost, and a lot of times in our vulnerable communities, we don’t know about it. So, when I say we show up, we really get engaged in the community, letting people know here are the benefits. That’s something that we, at our core, are really passionate about. But I do want to mention that under President Obama’s leadership, this is an issue that he’s outlined steps to address this.”

Resources:

2016 National Training & Resources Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities –Moving Communities from Surviving to Thriving

Volt Energy – Providing Green Power Solutions

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 40: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 1 –with Mustafa Ali

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 5: Environmental Justice and Smart Growth – with Mustafa Ali and Carlton Eley 

Oct 6, 2016

Topic:

Strengthening and Revitalizing Communities

In This Episode:

01:47 Introduction of Mustafa Ali.
02:22 Mustafa explains the purpose of the 2016 National Funding and Resources Training Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities.
03:25 Mustafa gives the dates and location of the Summit.
03:46 Mustafa tells who the primary audience is for this Summit.
04:22 Mustafa shares how listeners can learn more about the Summit.
04:41 Is there an intent to do this Summit annually?
07:13 Is this a culminating event for this administration to lift up the many resources it has developed to support the revitalization of vulnerable communities?
08:20 What are the biggest unmet needs that vulnerable communities and those living with environmental burdens face?
09:46 Mustafa talks about the change he has observed in the EPA’s approach to working with environmental justice and vulnerable communities.
11:53 Mustafa shares what kind of response he’s getting from the business community.
13:50 Mustafa addresses his viewpoint of the seeming notion that community revitalization has become a focal point of EPA’s environmental justice efforts.
15:22 Mustafa describes the Environmental Justice 2020 Action Agenda.
17:32 Mustafa speaks to the intent of the Action Agenda of eliminating childhood lead poisoning, and ensuring everyone has access to safe drinking water.
18:37 Mustafa explains how the Training Summit relates to EJ 2020.
19:12 Mustafa again shares how listeners can learn more about the Summit.
19:48 Mustafa gives his idea of what success of the Summit would be.
22:19 Mustafa shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable and less vulnerable communities.
22:47 Mustafa expresses the action that listeners can take to be supportive of the goals of the Summit.
23:57 Mustafa states what environmental justice communities look like 30 years from now.

Guest/Organization:

Mustafa Ali has been a national speaker, trainer and facilitator on social and environmental justice issues for the past 17 years. During that time, Mustafa has worked with communities on both the domestic and international front to secure environmental, health, and economic justice. He currently serves as Senior Advisor to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy on Environmental Justice and Community Revitalization.

Take Away Quotes:

“It’s pretty simple. It’s actually just a few words is what the real meaning, the foundation and goal and vision for this [the Training Summit] is, and that’s moving vulnerable communities from surviving to thriving, which is really grounded in the environmental justice movement, the social justice movement, civil rights, sort of the economic justice movement. All those various movements are all pointing in a similar direction, and it’s about strengthening and revitalizing communities, giving voice to the visions and the opportunities that exist in our most vulnerable communities.”

“When we say ‘vulnerable communities,’ we are talking about low-income communities, we’re talking about communities of color, and we’re talking about tribal populations, and those are the folks that we are currently focusing on to help them to be able to revitalize and address issues that are happening inside of their communities.”

“What we’re hoping to accomplish is that folks will be able to take this [the Summit event] and begin to do smaller, regional events that will be able to actually meet the needs of folks on the ground, even in a much more substantive way.”

Resources:

2016 National Training & Resources Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities –Moving Communities from Surviving to Thriving

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 5: Environmental Justice and Smart Growth – with Mustafa Ali and Carlton Eley

Sep 29, 2016

Topic:

Building Support and Communication

In This Episode:

01:57 Steve answers the question of how to build support and communications for the cap and trade program and other programs to fight climate change.
05:30 Kate describes if the environmental justice community is a group that needs to be brought on board to continue support for cap and trade.
06:52 Jonathan speaks to the involvement of the environmental justice community to support cap and trade.
08:08 Steve talks about the reduction of emissions in markets.
09:49 Steve discusses communities that are exposed to pollution and have low life expectancies.
11:02 Jonathan weighs in on the discussion of pollution.
16:07 Steve joins in on the topic of pollution.
17:26 Jonathan talks about the image of the climate movement and the largest factor of pollution.
19:17 Steve adds to the topic of pollution.
19:33 Jonathan speaks to getting a new brand.
19:56 Kate mentions a branding campaign to communicate the need for change.
21:28 Mike mentions the need for rethinking how communities and cities are built.
22:05 Jonathan identifies the biggest leverage point that would make a difference in climate impacts.
23:21 Steve identifies the biggest leverage point that would make a difference in climate impacts.

Guests:

Kate Meis is the Executive Director of the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kate is a champion for local governments, a recognized leader in local climate change adaptation, mitigation and clean energy efforts, and an ardent coalition builder. She obtained a Masters of Science degree in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis, and has a Sociology Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Sonoma.

Jonathan Parfrey is the Executive Director and Founder of Climate Resolve, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, founded in 2010, that is dedicated to creating practical solutions to meet the climate challenge while making Southern California more livable and prosperous today and for generations to come by inspiring people at home, at work, and in government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution, as well as prepare for climate change impacts.

Steve Frisch is President of Sierra Business Council and one of its founding members. Over the last 20 years, Sierra Business Council has leveraged more than $100 million of investment in the Sierra Nevada and its communities through community and public-private partnerships. Sierra Business Council also manages the Sierra Small Business Development Center focusing on advancing sustainable business practices and linking new and expanding businesses to climate mitigation and adaptation funding.

Organizations:

For over 35 years LGC has connected cutting-edge leaders from across the nation. Together they are advancing transformative policies and implementing innovative solutions for sustainable communities. LGC works to build livable communities and local leadership by connecting leaders via innovative programs and network opportunities, advancing policies through participation at the local and state level, and implementing solutions as a technical assistance provider and advisor to local jurisdictions. With roots in California and a national reputation, LGC offers inspiration, information, and partnership for local and regional champions dedicated to building thriving communities that integrate civic engagement with environmental, social and economic priorities.

Climate Resolve is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, founded in 2010, that is dedicated to creating real, practical solutions to meet the climate challenge while building a better city for Angelenos. Their mission is to make Southern California more livable and prosperous today and for generations to come by inspiring people at home, at work, and in government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution, as well as prepare for climate change impacts.

Sierra Business Council pioneers and demonstrates innovative approaches and solutions to increase community vitality, economic prosperity, environmental quality, and social fairness in the Sierra Nevada. In the Sierra Nevada, change and challenge create opportunities. Through innovation, integrity, and respect, Sierra Business Council harnesses these opportunities by implementing projects that model proactive change. Their goal is a diverse, inventive, and sustainable region where the economy is vibrant, the land is thriving, and the communities offer opportunity for all. They act as steward leaders of the region, taking responsibility for the care and responsible management of our place, guided by the triple bottom line that considers the economy, environment, and community simultaneously.

Take Away Quotes:

“Of course we need metrics. Of course we need data. We need to be demonstrating what the job-creating benefits are, what the ecosystem benefits are, what the water-yield benefits are, what carbon-sequestration benefits are of implementing all of these programs. But we need a really smart communication strategy that hits people in where their values really are.”

“Some people respond to the data. Some people respond to the story. Some people respond to the risk, the threat. But we have to be smart enough to put all of that together and deliver all of those messages and do it in a way that we tell people we can make a difference, we can make a change, we can solve this problem for the seventh generation.”

“I think one of the really interesting stories behind the cap and trade program so far is that it has been so remarkably successful. I mean, we really are on track to reduce our emissions by 20% by 2020, probably more than that. And it’s pretty clear that we can do 40% by 2030, and that benefits everyone, including disadvantaged communities.”

“There is a way to transition to an almost-zero carbon economy, but it really is going to take fifty years to really get there, to decarbonize industrial processes and all of the transportation networks and products and everything else. We’re really, at this point, dealing with the low-hanging fruit, which is switch to renewable energy and begin to create lower carbon fuels.”

Resources:

2016 Climate Adaptation Forum

Local Government Commission (LCG)

Climate Resolve

Sierra Business Council

Sep 22, 2016

Topic:

Finding Equity Around Funding and Financing

In This Episode:

02:15 Jonathan tells about the dynamic in Maryland, where the worst impacts are being felt by people who are not politically powerful.
05:43 Steve tells how he’s bringing the vulnerable populations into addressing climate-change resilience.
10:50 Steve describes if he’s been able to utilize funding in a way that addresses resiliency at the community level.
14:14 Jonathan weighs in on the subject of cool roofs.

Guests:

Kate Meis is the Executive Director of the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kate is a champion for local governments, a recognized leader in local climate change adaptation, mitigation and clean energy efforts, and an ardent coalition builder. She obtained a Masters of Science degree in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis, and has a Sociology Bachelor’ s degree from California State University, Sonoma.

Jonathan Parfrey is the Executive Director and Founder of Climate Resolve, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, founded in 2010, that is dedicated to creating practical solutions to meet the climate challenge while making Southern California more livable and prosperous today and for generations to come by inspiring people at home, at work, and in government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution, as well as prepare for climate change impacts.

Steve Frisch is President of Sierra Business Council and one of its founding members. Over the last 20 years, Sierra Business Council has leveraged more than $100 million of investment in the Sierra Nevada and its communities through community and public-private partnerships. Sierra Business Council also manages the Sierra Small Business Development Center focusing on advancing sustainable business practices and linking new and expanding businesses to climate mitigation and adaptation funding.

Organizations:

For over 35 years LGC has connected cutting-edge leaders from across the nation. Together they are advancing transformative policies and implementing innovative solutions for sustainable communities. LGC works to build livable communities and local leadership by connecting leaders via innovative programs and network opportunities, advancing policies through participation at the local and state level, and implementing solutions as a technical assistance provider and advisor to local jurisdictions. With roots in California and a national reputation, LGC offers inspiration, information, and partnership for local and regional champions dedicated to building thriving communities that integrate civic engagement with environmental, social and economic priorities.

Climate Resolve is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, founded in 2010, that is dedicated to creating real, practical solutions to meet the climate challenge while building a better city for Angelenos. Their mission is to make Southern California more livable and prosperous today and for generations to come by inspiring people at home, at work, and in government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution, as well as prepare for climate change impacts.

Sierra Business Council pioneers and demonstrates innovative approaches and solutions to increase community vitality, economic prosperity, environmental quality, and social fairness in the Sierra Nevada. In the Sierra Nevada, change and challenge create opportunities. Through innovation, integrity, and respect, Sierra Business Council harnesses these opportunities by implementing projects that model proactive change. Their goal is a diverse, inventive, and sustainable region where the economy is vibrant, the land is thriving, and the communities offer opportunity for all. They act as steward leaders of the region, taking responsibility for the care and responsible management of our place, guided by the triple bottom line that considers the economy, environment, and community simultaneously.

Take Away Quotes:

“Los Angeles is a county of about 10 million people, and a recent study found that over 50 percent of the population was at moderate or high vulnerability to climate impacts. So, in this one county, that’s over 5 million people that are at risk to climate impacts, and the vast majority of those people come from disadvantaged communities or low-income communities.”

“I do think that we need a more focused look at what constitutes a disadvantaged community or a disadvantaged person in California, and we need think about how we come up with a better way to take regional and geographic and different disparities into consideration.”

“All of these programs really should be focused at addressing an incredibly important problem in California, which is the raising gap between the rich and the poor, and poverty in California, which has increased dramatically in the last decade. If we can’t link poverty reduction and climate adaptation and mitigation, then I think we’re going to have some real problems implementing a policy in this state.”

Resources:

2016 Climate Adaptation Forum

Local Government Commission (LCG)

Climate Resolve

Sierra Business Council

Sep 15, 2016

Topic:

Effectively Communicate Climate-Change Issues to Diverse Audiences

In This Episode:

02:32 Jonathan explains the messages he uses that resonate with community members.
04:02 Steve describes the messages that resonate with his community members.
06:59 Steve speaks of the impacts of years-long drought, millions of dead trees, and wildfires are changing the conversation in the Sierra Nevada.
08:21 Jonathan shares his viewpoint of the climate impacts in his region.
10:35 Steve speaks about a communication strategy to make a difference.
11:57 Steve discusses how to communicate climate change in a way that people can understand how it impacts them.

Guests:

Kate Meis is the Executive Director of the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kate is a champion for local governments, a recognized leader in local climate change adaptation, mitigation and clean energy efforts, and an ardent coalition builder. She obtained a Masters of Science degree in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis, and has a Sociology Bachelor’ s degree from California State University, Sonoma.

Jonathan Parfrey is the Executive Director and Founder of Climate Resolve, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, founded in 2010, that is dedicated to creating practical solutions to meet the climate challenge while making Southern California more livable and prosperous today and for generations to come by inspiring people at home, at work, and in government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution, as well as prepare for climate change impacts.

Steve Frisch is President of Sierra Business Council and one of its founding members. Over the last 20 years, Sierra Business Council has leveraged more than $100 million of investment in the Sierra Nevada and its communities through community and public-private partnerships. Sierra Business Council also manages the Sierra Small Business Development Center focusing on advancing sustainable business practices and linking new and expanding businesses to climate mitigation and adaptation funding.

Organizations:

For over 35 years LGC has connected cutting-edge leaders from across the nation. Together they are advancing transformative policies and implementing innovative solutions for sustainable communities. LGC works to build livable communities and local leadership by connecting leaders via innovative programs and network opportunities, advancing policies through participation at the local and state level, and implementing solutions as a technical assistance provider and advisor to local jurisdictions. With roots in California and a national reputation, LGC offers inspiration, information, and partnership for local and regional champions dedicated to building thriving communities that integrate civic engagement with environmental, social and economic priorities.

Climate Resolve is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, founded in 2010, that is dedicated to creating real, practical solutions to meet the climate challenge while building a better city for Angelenos. Their mission is to make Southern California more livable and prosperous today and for generations to come by inspiring people at home, at work, and in government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution, as well as prepare for climate change impacts.

Sierra Business Council pioneers and demonstrates innovative approaches and solutions to increase community vitality, economic prosperity, environmental quality, and social fairness in the Sierra Nevada. In the Sierra Nevada, change and challenge create opportunities. Through innovation, integrity, and respect, Sierra Business Council harnesses these opportunities by implementing projects that model proactive change. Their goal is a diverse, inventive, and sustainable region where the economy is vibrant, the land is thriving, and the communities offer opportunity for all. They act as steward leaders of the region, taking responsibility for the care and responsible management of our place, guided by the triple bottom line that considers the economy, environment, and community simultaneously.

Take Away Quotes:

“One of the things that we’ve done that has been most successful is tying all of our program implementation, really, to trying to build local employment, local jobs, measuring the job creation from it.”

“I am noticing a dramatic culture shift, not just from that kind of relatively negative driver but also the positive driver of younger people coming up in the system, becoming decision makers and community leaders, even in rural communities, who want to make a change. It’s very, very encouraging.”

“Climate, by its nature, is an abstraction. It is an average of twenty or thirty years of weather. By its nature, weather is very direct, it’s experienced, it’s understood. But climate is something a little bit more vague. There is a former president of the American Meteorological Society had the following metaphor to distinguish between weather and climate. He said that weather is your mood—you’re sometimes up, you’re sometimes down, you’re sometimes a little misty—but climate is your personality; it’s kind of the way that you are all the time.”

Resources:

Path to Positive

Path to Positive Success Stories –Climate Resolve Brings Unique Voices to Build Climate Awareness

2016 Climate Adaptation Forum

Local Government Commission (LCG)

Climate Resolve

Sierra Business Council

Sep 8, 2016

Topic:
The Local Impacts of Climate Change


In This Episode:
02:05 Introduction of co-host Kate Meis.
03:17 Introduction of Steve Frisch.
03:53 Introduction of Jonathan Parfrey.
04:30 Steve describes his organization, Sierra Business Council.
05:56 Jonathan describes his organization, Climate Resolve.
08:53 Jonathan explains the governance of jurisdictional-boundary issues.
10:47 Steve and Jonathan discuss how he brings people together to think about issues of governance and building resiliency.
15:55 Steve and Jonathan speak about the opportunities to bring regions together to mobilize a unified voice around change.
21:21 Jonathan relates how he’s been able to locally engage people, as well as some of the efforts of The Path to Positive.


Guests:
Kate Meis is the Executive Director of the Local Government Commission (LGC). Kate is a champion for local governments; a recognized leader in local climate change adaptation, mitigation and clean energy efforts; and an ardent coalition builder. She obtained a Masters of Science degree in Community and Regional Development from the University of California, Davis, and has a Sociology Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Sonoma.

Jonathan Parfrey is the Executive Director and Founder of Climate Resolve, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, founded in 2010, that is dedicated to creating practical solutions to meet the climate challenge while making Southern California more livable and prosperous today and for generations to come by inspiring people at home, at work, and in government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution, as well as prepare for climate change impacts.

Steve Frisch is President of Sierra Business Council and one of its founding members. Over the last 20 years, Sierra Business Council has leveraged more than $100 million of investment in the Sierra Nevada and its communities through community and public-private partnerships. Sierra Business Council also manages the Sierra Small Business Development Center focusing on advancing sustainable business practices and linking new and expanding businesses to climate mitigation and adaptation funding.


Organizations:
For over 35 years LGC has connected cutting-edge leaders from across the nation. Together they are advancing transformative policies and implementing innovative solutions for sustainable communities. LGC works to build livable communities and local leadership by connecting leaders via innovative programs and network opportunities, advancing policies through participation at the local and state level, and implementing solutions as a technical assistance provider and advisor to local jurisdictions. With roots in California and a national reputation, LGC offers inspiration, information, and partnership for local and regional champions dedicated to building thriving communities that integrate civic engagement with environmental, social and economic priorities.

Climate Resolve is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, founded in 2010, that is dedicated to creating real, practical solutions to meet the climate challenge while building a better city for Angelenos. Their mission is to make Southern California more livable and prosperous today and for generations to come by inspiring people at home, at work, and in government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution, as well as prepare for climate change impacts.

Sierra Business Council pioneers and demonstrates innovative approaches and solutions to increase community vitality, economic prosperity, environmental quality, and social fairness in the Sierra Nevada. In the Sierra Nevada, change and challenge create opportunities. Through innovation, integrity, and respect, Sierra Business Council harnesses these opportunities by implementing projects that model proactive change. Their goal is a diverse, inventive, and sustainable region where the economy is vibrant, the land is thriving, and the communities offer opportunity for all. They act as steward leaders of the region, taking responsibility for the care and responsible management of our place, guided by the triple bottom line that considers the economy, environment, and community simultaneously.


Take Away Quotes:
“It was very clear from the first minute I was in business in the Sierra Nevada that we weren’t really properly valuing ecosystem function, the natural environment, people’s connection to nature as part of the system. Sierra Business Council was really founded around this idea that natural, social, and financial capital should be equally valued and that economies should serve nature and the community at the same time.”

“If you just tell people that there’re going to be these huge impacts from climate on a local region, people turn off, they don’t pay attention. You have to provide some tangible, real ways that are commensurate with the problem that they can help meet that climate challenge. And so even though climate change is global in nature, it really does come down to where people live, and so our organization decided to focus in on how Southern California can meet the climate challenge and also what can be done locally, what we can do to tangibly make things better within our own region.”

“We believe it’s essential to take this global issue and make it felt in a very tangible way at the local level, basically neighborhood by neighborhood and household by household.”

“I think one of our great challenges and great opportunities is really strengthening the connection between urban climate adaptation planning and rural climate adaptation planning, because we share the same ecosystem and we’re often working in the same ecosystem. And I think that’s an incredibly important part of what something like the climate adaptation forum can do is provide an opportunity to work across the boundaries that have traditionally divided us.”


Resources:
Climate Adaptation Forum
http://www.californiaadaptationforum.org/

Local Government Commission (LCG)
https://www.lgc.org/

Climate Resolve
http://climateresolve.org/

Sierra Business Council
http://sierrabusiness.org/

Sep 1, 2016

Topic:

Water Conservation with Inland Empire Utilities Agency and Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority

In This Episode: 

01:39 Introduction of Arya Moalemi.
02:25 Arya describes the CivicSpark program.
02:47 Arya tells about working on water issues in Southern California.
03:24 How much acreage is within the Inland Empire?
03:54 Arya elaborates on his work addressing water issues in Southern California.
05:35 Arya explains the challenge of Southern California drying out.
06:17 Arya shares the goal of the agencies he’s working with.
06:39 What does the future of water in Southern California look like?
07:40 Arya describes the impact of his work.
09:52 Arya shares when he decided he wanted to become a CivicSpark fellow.
11:21 Arya tells if he anticipates having an ongoing, networking relationship with the other CivicSpark fellows.
12:39 Arya explains what he’ll be doing after his CivicSpark fellowship ends.
13:11 Arya describes if his CivicSpark skills will make him a stronger job candidate and better professional.
14:01 Arya describes if his CivicSpark experience will make him a stronger job candidate?
14:36 Arya shares the advice he would give to someone who is interested in becoming a CivicSpark fellow.
15:12 Arya comments on the focus group of CivicSpark fellows looking at water issues and water infrastructure.
15:43 Arya shares where people can learn more about the CivicSpark program.
16:12 Arya shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
16:24 Arya states the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
17:11 Arya comments on the fact that there’s a demand and not enough supply of walkable places where people can live.
18:16 Arya says what the water-system resilience in Southern California looks like 30 years from now.

Guest: 

Before earning his masters' degree in City Planning and Regeneration at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, Arya Moalemi went to the University of California, Irvine and received his degree in International Studies. He has lived in Le Mans and Lyon, France and has since lived in Montreal, Canada. He is passionate about the field of urban planning.

Organization:

CivicSpark is a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management issues in California, administered by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. The mission of CivicSpark is to build capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management needs.

Each year, CivicSpark recruits 68 fellows—48 Climate Action Fellows, and 20 Water Action Fellows—who contribute over 65,000 hours to help California communities respond to climate change and water management needs. In collaboration with local government staff, CivicSpark fellows implement a needed climate or water-focused project, while also building long-term capacity to ensure the work is sustained after their service year is completed. Local governments get dedicated project support from a focused team of enthusiastic emerging professionals who receive specialized professional development and sector training.

Take Away Quotes:

“With IEUA [Inland Empire Utilities Agency], for example, I really appreciate how they have a really strong goal—and it’s the same as SAWPA [Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority] as well—of trying to be as self-sufficient as possible. And so that is putting a huge emphasis on groundwater storage and groundwater management as much as they possibly can because ground water doesn’t evaporate, it comes from us, it comes from the rain, and so that seems to be a big push, at least in the Inland Empire.”

“One of the hugest things that I have learned in the few months that I have been with these agencies is how closely tied water and energy are together and how one affects the other.”

“We have this notion that we need it—a car—and we really don’t in many respects. To be fair, it does depend on where you live, but if you can find a way to avoid that, I think that’s such a better and healthier way to live.”

Resources:

CivicSpark

Find CivicSpark on Facebook

Learn More about the Fellowship and Check out the 2016-2017 Fellowship Application!

Local Government Commission (LCG)

Aug 25, 2016

Topic:

Addressing Climate Change at the Los Angeles County Health Department

In This Episode:

01:26 Introduction of Sergio Avelar and Teresa Perez.
02:06 Teresa gives a description of the CivicSpark program.
02:41 Have the CivicSpark fellows just graduated from college, with a bachelor’s degree?
02:56 Sergio describes the projects he’s been working on.
04:08 Sergio explains what a cool roof is.
04:29 Sergio tells how to make a cool roof.
05:07 Teresa describes the project she’s been working on.
05:51 Teresa gives an example of how the public health impacts of climate change can be reduced.
06:26 Are there health impacts of climate change that are more long term or more chronic?
07:21 Teresa tells about the impact she hopes her work makes.
08:05 Sergio shares the impact he hopes his work makes.
09:31 Sergio describes if there is collaboration between the City of L.A. and the partner organizations to work on projects.
10:57 Teresa tells about the moment when she decided she wanted to become a CivicSpark fellow.
11:35 Sergio tells about the moment when he decided he wanted to become a CivicSpark fellow.
12:40 Are there a lot of people applying to be CivicSpark fellows?
13:18 Teresa shares what she expects to do after she completes her fellowship.
14:05 Sergio explains what he expects to do after he completes his fellowship.
15:05 Teresa describes how the CivicSpark-fellow experience impacted her and how it will serve her in the future.
15:52 Sergio describes how the CivicSpark-fellow experience impacted him and how it will serve him in the future.
17:13 Teresa shares the advice she’d give to anyone who’s interested in becoming a CivicSpark fellow.
17:46 Sergio shares the advice he’d give to someone who’s interested in becoming a CivicSpark fellow.
18:43 Teresa tells where people can go to learn more about the CivicSpark program.
19:04 Teresa and Sergio share one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
19:38 Teresa and Sergio tell the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
20:10 Sergio and Teresa share what Los Angeles County Health Department’s efforts to address climate change look like 30 years from now.

Guests:

Sergio Avelar is from Los Angeles, CA and has experience working in education, local government, and sustainability. He graduated from the graduating from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies.

Teresa Perez is from Whittier, California and graduated from California State University Long Beach with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science and Policy. She is passionate about educating the community in what it means to be sustainable and why it is important to live with an environmentally conscious mind. She is eager to learn about the dynamics in the public sector and how to work with a large number of people to create positive and effective change.

Organization:

CivicSpark is a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management issues in California, administered by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. The mission of CivicSpark is to build capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management needs.

Each year, CivicSpark recruits 68 fellows—48 Climate Action Fellows, and 20 Water Action Fellows—who contribute over 65,000 hours to help California communities respond to climate change and water management needs. In collaboration with local government staff, CivicSpark fellows implement a needed climate or water-focused project, while also building long-term capacity to ensure the work is sustained after their service year is completed. Local governments get dedicated project support from a focused team of enthusiastic emerging professionals who receive specialized professional development and sector training.

Take Away Quotes:

“I [Sergio] am helping the County develop an urban heat-island-reduction plan, which is a sort of climate mitigation plan, essentially to address the urban heat-island effect. For those who don’t know, the urban heat island is a phenomenon in which urban areas are slightly warmer than their surrounding rural areas. Most of that is because of typical materials used to develop urban areas, mostly roofs and pavements, they’re more heat-absorbent materials, and so on a really hot day they can really warm up the surrounding area.”

“Los Angeles County is very park poor, so we’re looking at how we can incorporate more green infrastructure, whether that includes building more parks or creating more access to existing parks. And, also, a big component is to try to increase the tree-canopy cover. Trees provide many benefits, and one, essentially, for cooling.”

“Climate change, especially in L.A., can have a major effect on people’s health.”

“Most people think of climate change as saving the polar bears because of global warming, but when you actually tell people, extreme heat can really have an effect later through your air quality, or if you are sick or a loved one is sick it could have many effects, so people really tend to listen to that more.”

Resources:

CivicSpark

Learn More about the Fellowship and Check out the 2016-2017 Fellowship Application!

Local Government Commission (LCG)

National Association of County & City Health Officials

Aug 18, 2016

Topic:

Environmental Justice, Equity, and Livability in California

In This Episode:

01:52 Introduction of Cyrus Keller.
02:31 Cyrus shares how working with CivicSpark compares with other job positions he’s held.
03:29 Cyrus explains his role in the CivicSpark program.
04:44 Cyrus tells what excites him the most about the CivicSpark program.
07:22 Cyrus describes the impact the CivicSpark program is having.
08:45 Cyrus shares his thoughts on the millennials’ values and work ethic.
09:47 Cyrus explains if there is a project that exemplifies the value that CivicSpark creates.
10:56 Cyrus shares how the program impacts the fellows and the communities that they’re working in.
12:14 Cyrus gives a sense of the projects that are being worked on in Northern California.
16:38 Cyrus discusses the ethos of sustainability, equity, and livability in the Bay Area.
20:57 Cyrus shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
21:13 Cyrus tells the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
21:36 Cyrus shares what the Bay Area and California will look like 30 years from now.

Guest:

Cyrus Keller is a career professional and social activist. He has over thirty years of combined experience in aerospace, technology and software, and education. His professional experience includes working with both the public and private sectors, enterprise customers, federal, state, and local government agencies, and managing global and virtual teams in a number of settings from start ups to Fortune 50 corporations. Combined with a lifetime of engagement in a wide range of community, social, and international issues, he brings a unique insight to the process of social change, activism, and organizing, as well as a wealth of managerial and training experience, to the CivicSpark and Encore programs.

Organization:

CivicSpark is a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management issues in California, administered by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. The mission of CivicSpark is to build capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management needs. Each year, CivicSpark recruits 68 fellows—48 Climate Action Fellows, and 20 Water Action Fellows—who contribute over 65,000 hours to help California communities respond to climate change and water management needs. In collaboration with local government staff, CivicSpark fellows implement a needed climate or water-focused project, while also building long-term capacity to ensure the work is sustained after their service year is completed. Local governments get dedicated project support from a focused team of enthusiastic emerging professionals who receive specialized professional development and sector training.

CivicSpark also includes retired professionals who share their project management expertise with the next generation. Encore Fellows serve as regional coordinators, providing day-to-day guidance for CivicSpark fellows and also act as project managers for the teams.

Take Away Quotes:

“I think more than 50 percent of the program [CivicSpark] this year are women, and of the fellows that I am working with, there are three that are men and four that are women, and that’s unusual for me. In most of my career, men have dominated the space…But it’s unusual for me in more the science and technical fields that I’ve had experience in to find that many women. So that’s really a sort of a refreshing and rewarding change, that there’re that many women in this program.”

“I think probably the most exciting thing for me was the coming to the realization that a lot of the community organizing I did actually does fall under the umbrella of environmental justice…So, for me, what was exciting about this was recognizing that I could connect a lot of the work I had to the environmental movement and then sort of working on those issues on this side as opposed to from the community grassroots-base side.”

“We want each fellow to actually get some program-management experience, so we ask them to take on a community-service project and manage it from cradle to grave, from inception to completion. So the activity is that they have to do a service project, the form it takes varies from place to place, but that would be the thing I would identify that I think exemplifies the real value, that we do service projects as a component part of the program, and each fellow does a service project, or the fellows in a region do a collective project.”

Resources:

Encore

CivicSpark

Local Government Commission (LCG)

Aug 11, 2016

Topic:

Supporting the Development of Sustainable Practices

In This Episode:

01:45 Introduction of Mackenzie Bolger.
02:16 Introduction of Mike Kloha.
02:45 Introduction of Bree Swenson.
03:20 What is the sustainability indicators project?
03:57 Mike gives more details of the project.
04:59 How many people are involved in this project?
05:47 What kind of project report will be issued?
07:19 When the project is complete, how will people access the information?
08:48 What impact are Bree, Mackenzie, and Mike hoping to see from the work that they’re doing as CivicSpark fellows?
10:02 Could this work produce healthy competition between municipalities?
10:41 Mackenzie, Bree, and Mike share when they decided they wanted to become a CivicSpark fellow.
12:41 Bree, Mike, and Mackenzie describe how they feel about the ability to have a significant impact on issues of sustainability and climate change.
16:28 Could municipal governments have a significant impact on sustainability if the right set of resources were in place?
17:32 Bree shares what’s next for her in her career and how the CivicSpark experience impacted that.
18:18 Mackenzie describes what’s next for her in her career and how the CivicSpark experience impacted that.
19:13 Mike explains what’s next for him in his career and how the CivicSpark experience impacted that.
21:00 What advice would be given to anyone who’s interested in becoming a CivicSpark fellow?
22:34 Where can people find out more about the CivicSpark program?
23:04 What is one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities?
23:23 What action can listeners take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future?
23:58 What will Southern California communities look like 30 years from now?

Guests:

Mike Kloha is from San Diego and is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) with a degree in Environmental Policy and a minor in Urban Planning. He is a former NCAA athlete in cross country and track. Mike developed a great interest for sustainable urban planning, and has also worked in local government for over a year. He hopes to learn more about the sustainability needs of Los Angeles and to actively be a part of addressing those needs throughout the region.

Mackenzie Bolger is a 2015-2016 CivicSpark Americorps Fellow located in Los Angeles, California. In 2015, she graduated with honors from Arizona State University’s School of Social Transformation with a Bachelor's degree in Justice Studies and a minor in Sustainability. She is committed to transforming Southern California into a socially just, environmentally healthy, and economically vital region that will model sustainability for the rest of the world.

A Southern California native, Bree Swenson graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a major in Anthropology and a focus on Global Health and Environment. She has worked on distributed energy policy, energy efficiency, and land use policy in St. Louis, DC, and Los Angeles and hopes to use her passion for environmental sustainability to continue this work in her hometown.

Organization:

CivicSpark is a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management issues in California, administered by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. The mission of CivicSpark is to build capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management needs.

Each year, CivicSpark recruits 68 fellows—48 Climate Action Fellows, and 20 Water Action Fellows—who contribute over 65,000 hours to help California communities respond to climate change and water management needs. In collaboration with local government staff, CivicSpark fellows implement a needed climate or water-focused project, while also building long-term capacity to ensure the work is sustained after their service year is completed. Local governments get dedicated project support from a focused team of enthusiastic emerging professionals who receive specialized professional development and sector training.

Take Away Quotes:

“The indicators, they span pretty much every topic you can imagine in sustainability. We’re looking at water conservation, renewable energy, climate action planning, greenhouse gas inventories. Basically, what we are trying to do is look at all the cities in the region and assess how well their policies and their actual performance on the ground is doing for all these various indicators.”

“It’s [the project] been ongoing for the past five years. Our manager here at SCAG has been sort of measuring progress and expanding the research over that time. Last year, SCAG had CivicSpark fellows also and so they’ve started working on this, and we’re continuing their work. We’re definitely not going to complete it in the time that we’re here; we’re setting it up to transition for the people who will work on it next.”

“We also are working with the mapping team here at SCAG to develop an interactive, web-based map, where anyone from the public will be able to click on various different indicators and see where their city falls as far as that indicator goes.”

Resources:

CivicSpark

Learn More about the Fellowship and Check out the 2016-2017 Fellowship Application! 

Find CivicSpark on Facebook

Local Government Commission (LCG)

Aug 4, 2016

Topic:

Advancing Racial, Social, and Environmental Equality

In This Episode:

01:23 Introduction of Robert Garcia.
02:30 Robert explains when he realized fighting for civil rights would be his life’s work.
04:00 Robert describes the victory of the Bus Riders Union versus the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
06:15 Robert shares why Title VI of the Civil Rights Act is an important tool in the battle for environmental justice.
10:47 If those who receive federal funding violate the agreement of Title VI, what can the federal government do?
14:43 Robert explains why The City Project is focused on equal access to natural resources.
19:23 Robert discusses his efforts to restore the Los Angeles River.
23:30 Robert shares what it was like for The City Project to be involved in creating new national monuments.
27:10 How will the communities with newly restored natural areas going to benefit from the investment and the restoration and not become displaced?
31:56 Robert shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
32:23 Robert describes the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
32:42 Robert explains what California, our national parks, our natural resources and monuments look like 30 years from now.

Guest:

Robert García is a civil rights attorney who engages, educates, and empowers communities to seek equal access to public and natural resources. He is the Founding Director and Counsel of The City Project, a non-profit legal and policy advocacy organization in Los Angeles, California. Robert graduated from Stanford University and Stanford Law School and is an Assistant Professor at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science.

Robert has extensive experience in public policy, legal advocacy, mediation, and litigation involving complex social justice, civil rights, human health, environmental, education, and criminal justice matters. He has influenced the investment of over $43 billion in underserved communities, working at the intersection of equal justice, public health, and the built environment. He served as chairman of the Citizens’ School Bond Oversight Committee for five years, helping raise over $27 billion to build new, and modernize existing, public schools as centers of their communities in Los Angeles. He has helped communities create and preserve great urban parks and preserve access to beaches and trails. He has helped diversify support for and access to state resource bonds, with unprecedented levels of support among communities of color and low-income communities, and billions of dollars for urban parks. He served on the Development Team for the National Park Service Healthy Parks, Healthy People Community Engagement eGuide.

Robert served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund. He received the President’s Award from the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice for helping release Geronimo Pratt, the former Black Panther leader, from prison after 27 years for a crime he did not commit. He represented people on Death Row in Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi. Stanford Law School called him a “civil rights giant” and Stanford Magazine “an inspiration.” Robert served on the Justice and Peace Commission for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles under Cardinal Roger Mahony. He is an immigrant who came to the U.S. from Guatemala at age four.

Mr. Garcia’s Publications

Mr. Garcia’s Major Cases

Organization:

The City Project, a non-profit legal and policy advocacy team in Los Angeles, California. The City Project works with diverse allies on equal access to (1) healthy green land use through community planning; (2) climate justice; (3) quality education including physical education; (4) health equity; and (5) economic vitality for all, including creating jobs and avoiding displacement.

President Barack Obama and federal agencies are catapulting The City Project’s work on green access to the national level. As the President recognized in dedicating the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, “Too many children, . . . especially children of color, don’t have access to parks where they can run free, breathe fresh air, experience nature, and learn about their environment. This is an issue of social justice.” Conservation isn’t about locking away our natural treasures. “It’s about working with communities to open up our glorious heritage to everybody — young and old, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American — to make sure everybody can experience these incredible gifts.”

The National Park Service and the US Army Corps of Engineers agree. Their studies on green access and the Santa Monica Mountains, the San Gabriel Mountains, and the Los Angeles River rely on The City Project’s analyses to document that there are disparities in access to green space for people of color and low-income people in Los Angeles, that these disparities contribute to health disparities, and that environmental justice requires agencies to address these disparities. The City Project worked with Ranking Member Raul Grijalva and the House Natural Resources Committee to organize the historic forum on environmental justice, climate, and health. The forum included seven Members of Congress and community advocates at the L.A. River Center in 2015.

Take Away Quotes:

“I am a civil rights attorney. I am an environmental justice and health attorney. We consider environmental justice the environmental arm of the civil rights movement, and we focus most specifically on equal access to parks and recreation—we have since we started The City Project in 2000—and many people wonder, how is that a civil rights issue? But, in fact, access to parks has been a central part of the civil rights movement ever since Brown versus Board of Education.”

“We’ve always recognized that equal access to public resources is a core part of the battle for justice and dignity for all.”

“Residential segregation contributes to many of the disparities that we see in cities and rural areas—disparities in fair housing, decent housing; disparities in health; disparities in access to green space; disparities in quality education; disparities in the kinds of jobs you have access to; disparities in transportation to get to the jobs and schools and parks; and in general, disparities in infrastructure.”

“It’s not only the parks that have been created—and there are many—and it’s not even the planning process and the compliance with the law—which is rewarding; ultimately, we measure success by the smiles on children’s faces from playing in parks and schools that did not exist before. And that’s what we’re the most proud of.”

Resources:

The City Project – Equal Justice, Democracy, and Livability for All

Donate to The City Project

Read The City Project’s Fact Sheet

Using Civil Rights Tools to Address Health Disparities - Policy Report, The City Project, 2014
Learn about civil rights tools and the 5-step compliance and equity analysis

The Loneliness of Being Black in San Francisco – NY Times

Jul 28, 2016

Topic:

The Experience and Work in the CivicSpark Fellowship Program

In This Episode:

01:44 Introduction of Mikael Matossian.
02:22 Mikael describes the CivicSpark program.
03:14 Mikael shares what he’s been working on for the city of Santa Monica.
04:44 Mikael elaborates on the reduction of Santa Monica’s carbon emissions.
05:57 Mikael explains if the new plan that he’s working on has a particular target and date?
06:59 Mikael shares the impact he hopes his work will bring about.
08:24 Is the report going to be available in other languages?
09:00 Mikael explains when he decided that he wanted to become a CivicSpark fellow.
10:54 Does Mikael’s experience as a CivicSpark fellow make graduate school more valuable to him?
12:17 Mikael describes his experience as a CivicSpark fellow.
14:00 Mikael shares if he would become a CivicSpark fellow again.
15:24 Mikael describes the advice he would give to someone who’s becoming a CivicSpark fellow.
17:51 Mikael explains that CivicSpark is still a new program but is expanding.
18:46 Mikael shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
19:13 Mikael describes the action that listeners can take to build a more equitable and sustainable future.
19:53 Mikael explains what the city of Santa Monica looks like 30 years from now.

Guest:

Mikael Matossian is a 2015-2016 CivicSpark AmeriCorps fellow in the City of Santa Monica's Office of Sustainability and the Environment, working on various climate action and energy initiatives. Mikael graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2015 with his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science. He plans to pursue a master's degree in energy systems at Carnegie Mellon University. His main research interests include the introduction of energy efficiency practices and renewable energy technologies in the Republic of Armenia.

Organization:

CivicSpark is a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management issues in California, administered by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. The mission of CivicSpark is to build capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management needs.

Each year, CivicSpark recruits 68 fellows—48 Climate Action Fellows, and 20 Water Action Fellows—who contribute over 65,000 hours to help California communities respond to climate change and water management needs. In collaboration with local government staff, CivicSpark fellows implement a needed climate or water-focused project, while also building long-term capacity to ensure the work is sustained after their service year is completed. Local governments get dedicated project support from a focused team of enthusiastic emerging professionals who receive specialized professional development and sector training.

Take Away Quotes:

“I’m working on climate action and energy projects. So, I have three major projects, the first one being a final report or a view of the city’s last climate-action plan… that has 15 measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions community wide of the city by 2015, compared to a 1990 level as a baseline…fortunately, we actually did achieve 15%—we kind of surpassed that. We’re at a 21.8% reduction from 1990 levels.”

“The city [Santa Monica], really, for decades has been kind of a bold leader in sustainability and taking innovative action. It was the first city in 1994 to adopt a sustainable city plan of that size, a really comprehensive plan, to look at how we’re going to enhance, protect our resources, preserve the environment, in all these sectors, in water, waste, energy, social equity, things like that.”

“I really hope that this product, the final report—and I do believe it will—communicate the bold action that the city, that the government, is taking to the public so the public can be reminded of how, you know, innovative and leading this city is in sustainability, and, hopefully, that will motivate them to take part in the next plan and become more sustainable themselves.”

Resources:

Listen to Infinite Earth Radio Episode 019: Taking Back the Power – Community Choice Aggregation

CivicSpark

Learn More about the Fellowship and Check out the 2016-2017 Fellowship Application!

Local Government Commission (LGC)

Jul 21, 2016

Topic:

Forests and the Water Supply

In This Episode:

02:19 Introduction of Laurie A. Wayburn.
02:39 Laurie shares when she realized forest and natural-resource conservation would be her life’s work.
04:28 Laurie elaborates on what she means by “wealth” in her quote, “Nature is central to our emotional, physical, and spiritual wealth and well-being…Nature is where our wealth comes from.”
06:23 Laurie describes the Pacific Forest Trust and what their mission is.
08:35 Laurie shares the extent of the drought and water crisis that western states are facing and if there is a connection between the drought and frequent wildfires.
12:12 Laurie confirms the accurate description of California’s water availability and population.
12:29 Are there regional inequities in terms of accessing available fresh water sources in California, and are there really water wars happening in the West?
14:25 What are the challenges in California of preserving the relationship with those with the water supply, and what’s being done to preserve that relationship?
17:17 Laurie explains what could be done for the landowners in order to compensate them in a way that would preserve the water supply.
20:34 Laurie addresses the EPA’s waters of the United States rule of which water bodies, including wetlands, need to be protected.
23:17 Why is the concept of a water fee or tax—which could accumulate into a very large fund—so controversial?
27:22 Laurie shares where people can learn more about her work.
28:03 Laurie shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
28:22 Laurie describes the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
28:36 Laurie explains what the forests in California look like 30 years from now.

Guest:

Laurie A. Wayburn is the Co-founder, Co-CEO and President of the Pacific Forest Trust. Ms. Wayburn is an accomplished forest and conservation innovator who advises policymakers at the state, regional, national, and international levels. She pioneers new approaches to develop sustainable resource economies using her deep experience in the fields of conservation, ecosystem services, and sustainability. A preeminent authority on the climate and ecosystem benefits of forests, she leads efforts enacting climate change policies that unite conservation and sustainable management with market-based approaches. She has received several highly prestigious honors bestowed for her leadership and is a frequent speaker, writer, and media commentator on working forest conservation.

Prior to co-founding Pacific Forest Trust with Constance Best in 1993, Ms. Wayburn worked internationally for 10 years in the United Nations Environment Program and Ecological Sciences Division of UNESCO. She later served as Executive Director of the Point Reyes Bird Observatory and was the Founder and first Coordinator of the Central California Coast Biosphere Reserve. Ms. Wayburn is a graduate of Harvard University and currently serves on the Northwest BioCarbon Initiative Steering Committee, the American Forest Policy Steering Committee, and the Land Trust Alliance Advisory Council.

Organization:

The mission of the Pacific Forest Trust is to sustain America’s forests for their public benefits of wood, water, wildlife, and people’s well-being, in cooperation with landowners and communities.

For more than 20 years, Pacific Forest Trust has epitomized innovation, daring, and a savvy understanding of market forces to create new economic incentives that reward private forest owners for conserving their lands and practicing sustainable forestry.

They are a visionary think-and-do tank of scientists, conservationists, policy wonks, entrepreneurs, and outdoor enthusiasts that have helped shape forest conservation and climate policy. Working closely with other forest stakeholders, from landowners to agencies to environmental nonprofit partners, they create and advance high-leverage, catalytic strategies that engage the commitment, imagination, and resources of many individuals, businesses, and organizations to make it easier and more rewarding to do good things for the forests—and forest landowners—on which we all depend.

The only conservation organization focused on private forests in California, Oregon, and Washington, they have conserved 250,000 acres of vital forestland regionally. Their work has been recognized for its excellence by government agencies, philanthropies, and non-profit organizations.

Take Away Quotes:

“It is both scientifically and empirically shown that being in forests makes you feel better. And it does; it really does raise the body’s own ability to fight infection and disease.”

“Our [Pacific Forest Trust] big mission is to sustain America’s forests for all their public benefits of wood, water, wildlife, and well-being, in cooperation with landowners, managers, and communities.”

“…We [Pacific Forest Trust] said, well, gosh, is there a way we can marry how people earn money, with stewardship and protecting the public benefits of those forests; and so we really wanted to create an organization that pioneered and developed new sources of financial return for landowners who managed for the public benefit and stewarded and protected their forests.”

“Twenty-five thousand, fifteen thousand years ago we had about double the rainfall in California that we have today in Southern California. A significant drying trend has been rapidly accelerated with the rise of global warming and the increase in these global-warming gasses.”

Resources:

Learn why forests matter to EVERYONE

Support the Pacific Forest Trust

Sign up to receive monthly updates about Pacific forests, conservation projects, and more from the Pacific Forest Trust

Pacific Forest Trust

Follow Pacific Forest Trust on Twitter

Jul 14, 2016

Topic:

Bringing New Economic Opportunities to Disadvantaged Communities

In This Episode:

02:04 Introduction of Trevor Wilson and Mitchelle De Leon.
03:05 Trevor and Mitchelle share what the CivicSpark AmeriCorps program is all about.
04:13 Mitchelle shares the moment he decided that he wanted to become a CivicSpark fellow.
05:10 Trevor shares the moment he decided that he wanted to become a CivicSpark fellow.
06:08 Trevor describes the application process.
07:27 Mitchelle explains his application experience.
07:41 Trevor describes his experience of what it’s like to be in the program.
09:13 Mitchelle shares his experience of being in the program.
10:37 Mitchelle explains the project he’s working on.
11:51 Trevor shares the project he’s working on.
12:53 Mitchelle and Trevor tell what’s next for each of them.
14:28 Trevor and Mitchelle describe how the CivicSpark experience has impacted them and how it will serve them in the future.
16:40 Trevor and Mitchelle share the advice they would give to someone who is interested in becoming a CivicSpark fellow.
18:57 Mitchelle and Trevor share one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
19:59 Trevor and Mitchelle describe the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
20:53 Trevor and Mitchelle explain what California-San Joaquin Valley looks like 30 years from now.

Guests:

Mitchelle De Leon recently graduated from California State University, Bakersfield with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a concentration in Finance. During college, he engaged his fellow students on environmental justice issues in Kern County. He aspires to work on policies on state and federal levels, ensuring fair and equitable solutions to climate change. In 2016, he plans to start a nonprofit organization focused on building youth leaders' capacity to address climate change

Trevor Wilson grew up in the middle of Michigan and moved on to Michigan State University, where he received a Bachelor's degree in International Relations. He focused on renewable energy policy and sustainability. Trevor’s senior thesis paper was on Germany's energy transition to renewables, leading him to a summer internship with an environmental protection organization in Berlin, Germany.

Organization:

CivicSpark is a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management issues in California, administered by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. The mission of CivicSpark is to build capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management needs.

Each year, CivicSpark recruits 68 fellows—48 Climate Action Fellows, and 20 Water Action Fellows—who contribute over 65,000 hours to help California communities respond to climate change and water management needs. In collaboration with local government staff, CivicSpark fellows implement a needed climate or water-focused project, while also building long-term capacity to ensure the work is sustained after their service year is completed. Local governments get dedicated project support from a focused team of enthusiastic emerging professionals who receive specialized professional development and sector training.

Take Away Quotes:

“Fellows complete eleven months of service, working on a variety of climate-change-related projects, from developing climate action plans, increasing electric-vehicle infrastructure, to completing greenhouse gas inventories for cities. You can think of us foot soldiers for local climate action throughout California.”

“CivicSpark is really about showing passionate young people what the reality of climate action looks like, so taking all of these very passionate, ideological young people and turning them into goal-oriented doers instead of thinkers; and so I [Trevor] think that, really, the goal is to create these local champions throughout California and throughout the world.”

“During college I [Mitchelle] grew increasingly passionate about climate change and the disproportionate impacts of climate change on disadvantaged communities. Having lived half my life in the Central Valley and another half of my life in the Philippines, climate change is an incredibly personal issue for me. And throughout college my theory of change centered around advocacy and grassroots organizing, and I saw CivicSpark as an opportunity to identify different leverage points to take action on climate-justice issues, and so when I learned that my primary focus for CivicSpark would be water then I knew that was a perfect opportunity to take action.”

“It’s hard to tell just from an online posting exactly how impactful a job will be, but this one was just worlds beyond what I [Trevor] was expecting.”

“Climate action is for everyone. Climate action really involves every type of every field of work. It involves every major in college. It really is an overall problem to tackle.”

Resources:

WE CAN (Water-Energy Community Action Network) — San Joaquin Valley

CivicSpark

Learn more about the Fellowship and check out the 2016-2017 Fellowship Application!

Local Government Commission (LCG)

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