HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION
- Purchase regionally-produced food or grow your own. When you support local farmers, you are making an investment in your food security and strengthening food resilience in your region. Growing your own food provides a healthy activity for the entire family and builds food resilience within your immediate community.
- Telecommute as a longer-term strategy. If you’ve set up a home workstation during the COVID-19 pandemic, consider keeping this as a regular option going forward. See if you can work at home one or more days a week to help reduce your carbon footprint.
- Get to know your neighbors. Having an idea of who in your neighborhood might need support – elderly, disabled, food insecure, or otherwise – can create critical lifelines during times of crisis.
- Pair solar with home energy storage. Solar-paired energy storage is a powerful tool to keep your home or business running when the grid goes down instead of relying on fossil-fuel-powered generators.
- Support and engage in local planning efforts. Local land use and infrastructure planning discussions will define our future. As our cities and counties update their general plans, safety elements and hazard mitigation plans, it’s important they include strong adaptation strategies to ensure community resilience. Look for opportunities to engage in public workshops and hearings on sea level rise, climate action plans, general plan updates and more at both the city and county level.
- Speak out against structural racism and inequities. Listening and learning from people who have been marginalized or left out of the climate conversation is critical to becoming an advocate and ally. Participating in marches, rallies and events highlighting these conditions will help deepen your understanding of and commitment to social and racial justice.
WHY CLIMATE RESILIENCE MATTERS
Climate resilience is community resilience – a whole community approach that ensures everyone’s well-being is considered. It requires deep thinking and surfacing of issues such as social and economic inequities and structural racism, and long-term integrated planning among agencies and jurisdictions so we do not continue to operate the same old ways in a world that has changed.
The intersection of climate change, public health and social and economic justice has risen to the forefront of our thinking. For people already socially or economically vulnerable – low-wage workers, people with health conditions or socially marginalized populations – climate disasters and global pandemics inflect a disproportionate burden. Having a holistic community lens ensures that historically vulnerable, marginalized, and discriminated populations are part of the resilience vision as we pivot and adapt to climate change. We will never achieve climate resilience without community resilience for all.
We must each do the work toward this goal. Consider your own resilience and well-being during climate-related disasters such as fires, floods, and debris flows that close roads, schools and businesses and disrupt the power grid and food supply chains. What do you need to be better prepared and what can you do to ensure less disruption for you and your family in the future? Now consider the needs of your friends, neighbors, and the entire community. How can you be of assistance to others by volunteering, donating, or showing up in support?
Not only do we face disruptions to society from climate impacts, we are also at risk of losing the beaches, open spaces and habitats that support other species and provide us solace. When our ecological system is out of balance, we too cannot survive.
WHAT CEC IS DOING
In recognition of current and future climate impacts, CEC is convening a series of roundtables that address climate resilience and adaptation issues in Santa Barbara County. The roundtables are organized around the identified threats from the Fourth California Climate Change Assessment: sea level rise, heavy precipitation events, temperature increase, increased wild fire, drought, and decreasing snowpack and water supply. Together with community leaders and partners, we are examining these threats through the lens of public and mental health, social justice, economic impacts, infrastructure vulnerabilities, and natural systems and working landscapes.
We are gathering the bold ideas and solutions that emerge from each roundtable. You can view these in the Opportunity Matrix created from each event. From these community-driven solutions, we’ll begin framing a community vision for climate resilience and adaptation for Santa Barbara County with potential actions and strategies. It is our hope that this will serve as an incubator for community-generated climate resilience initiatives and projects. By the end of the roundtable series, we will see more trust, collaboration and alignment to work together toward a more resilient Santa Barbara County.