The Community Environmental Council is a powerful voice for climate change in our community. Rightfully so, since Santa Barbara is the birthplace of the modern environmental movement, stemming from the 1969 oil spill in the Santa Barbara Channel.
Many agree with environmental lawyer, Robert Sulnick, that “it’s time for Santa Barbara to create a national climate change movement, alerting the country to the pending dangers of an overheating planet.”
The CEC website reminds us that “the White House has officially declared we are in a climate emergency. The most notable scientific body in the world has declared Code Red for Humanity.” They advise that “it’s time to lean into local solutions like never before — and that means unrelenting, focused, and inclusive climate action on the California Central Coast.”
CEC organizes its climate work around six areas: Energy, Equity, Waste, Food and Transportation.
CEO, Sigrid Wright reminds that “We are living in this amazing blue planet at such a fragile moment.” “The times are calling on us to really get clear on what it means to protect our home at a visceral level — body, heart and mind. To successfully navigate the urgent and overwhelming threats of climate changes, we will need to use our intellects, but also our imaginations.
“This is what art does for us: it challenges us to look at things differently, to experience the emotion, to engage our other senses. “
» Local nonprofits collaborate to make a difference.
It all began with the severe pandemic. Many museums were forced to close their doors for good, seemingly indefinitely. Their very existence was in danger, and no one knew how to save them. A few local museums joined forces to exchange ideas, share information, and learn from each others. Soon, many more joined the meetings.
The group grew to include 14 local museums, and they began to meet in person regularly. They named the group the Environmental Alliance of Santa Barbara County Museums. This kind of unique partnership has never been seen before.
Their first collaboration was focused on raising awareness about environmental issues. Impact: Climate Change & the Urgency of Now is a multidisciplinary project aimed at building a greater collective responsibility for limiting the effects of our planet’s rising temperature.
The alliance includes 12 museums and a zoo. “We are 14 institutions with one shared vision,” said Steve Windhager, executive director of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.
“We believe that our collaborative work will inform and engage the public, while being a force multiplier for positive change.” The alliance has planned exhibits, events, and programs through September 2022 and beyond.
Each organization will highlight climate changes in a way that is consistent with their mission. For example, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum(SBMM), presents a program about whales in the Santa Barbara ChannelThe title is Whales are Superheroes!
CEO, Greg Gorga explains: “Whales are large creatures, so they poop a lot. Phytoplankton then becomes krill and then CO2 is absorbed through photosynthesis and converted into oxygen. Our oceans actually have more oxygen than the trees on this planet. Whales’ movement in the water column means that they bring more nutrients to the surface. This leads to more CO2 being converted to oxygen.
“Finally, when these large creatures die, they drop to the bottom of the ocean, taking all the CO2 in their bodies down with them.”
The alliance membership includes: UCSB’s Art, Design & Architecture Museum, Elverhoj Museum of History & Art in Solvang, MOXI, Museum of Contemporary Art, Old Mission Museum, Botanic Garden, Historical Museum, SBMM, Museum of Art, Museum of Natural History, Sea Center, Trust for Historic Preservation, Santa Barbara Zoo, and Wildling Museum of Art & Nature in Solvang.
» Local governmental agencies are working to address climate change issues.
In his recent Noozhawk column, Robert Sulnick explains that “climate change has unequivocally changed life on Earth as we have known it. Unless governments around the world act to stop climate change by midcentury, we will reach the 1.5 C (2.7 F) tipping point in global temperature rise, after which our climate will no longer resemble anything we’ve ever experienced in relationship to drought, storms, wildfires, ecosystem declines and human displacement.”
Thankfully, both our county and city government agencies are paying attention.
Sulnick informs us that the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors has directed staff to develop a zero emissions plan aimed at carbon neutrality by 2045. This includes expanding the county’s electric vehicle fleet to include all new sedans and light duty vehicles, installing 120-130 electric vehicle chargers, strengthening energy efficiency in new developments, and educating the public on the urgency of addressing climate change.
Santa Barbara City Council also addresses transportation and building. GHG emissionsIt is available in its Climate Action Plan. Santa Barbara was the first country city to adopt the. Architecture 2030 Challenge, a national movement for the environment and its transformation carbon neutralBy 2030
The city also has a vehicle fleet which includes hybrid and alternative fuels. This helps reduce vehicle trips for city employees. To encourage plug-in electric vehicles, the city has built 30 new charging stations for electric vehicles on the roof of the downtown Granada Building.
» One local nonprofit is addressing the effects of agricultural practices on climate change.
The Living Earth Foundation has established regenerative learning centres that offer professional research, development, educational services, and other support to farmers and ranchers who want to make a quick and profitable transition to organic certification. Their goal is to make regenerative, organic agriculture the primary method for producing our food, cleaning our ecosystems and restoring the climatic equilibriums.
Founder/CEO, James McMath, explains the situation this way: “The greatest challenge of our time is addressing the root causes of global warming. The current land-use practices of conventional agriculture are quickly depleting the world’s fertile topsoil and account for nearly 25% of the total greenhouse gas emissions — which are leading to an unprecedented climate crisis.
“The widespread use of agrochemical applications has been increasingly destroying the microbial cultures that keep the airborne carbons in check. How do we move past high-impact farming and create a healthier, more sustainable way of growing our foods that is beneficial for our ecosystems?”
The solution, he says, is “learning how to consistently apply nature’s own regenerative systems, which focus on the resourceful application of beneficial microorganisms for restoring the health and resilience of the soil’s dynamic food web — thus creating healthy living soils.”
» You can do your part to achieve climate change goals.
The newly formed Environmental Alliance’s website lists 10 things you can do now to address climate change. They remind us that inaction is a contributor to the status quo and that even the smallest act can help save our planet.
Other suggestions include: reducing your carbon footprint by eating more plants, composting food scraps and recycling, rethinking how you transport your goods, making sure your home has enough energy, installing solar power, conserving money, landscaping with drought resistant native plants, as well as speaking up in your community to encourage environmental stewardship.
Please visit these museums, zoos, and Botanic Gardens now that the pandemic restrictions are lifted. These creative organizations will benefit greatly from your support. It will be a great experience.
— Dr. Cynder Sinclair is a consultant to nonprofits and founder and CEO of Nonprofit Kinect. She has been a leader in nonprofits for over 30 year and holds a doctorate of organizational management. Visit her blog. Click here. For her previous articles, click here Click here. You can reach her at: 805.689.2137 [email protected]. These opinions are hers.