“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
To public meeting novices and veterans alike, I hope you will consider participating in the City of SLO Climate Action Plan workshop on May 16. This is why:
- You will have an opportunity to influence the City’s climate actions.
- You will not be required to stand at a podium or speak into a microphone.
Let’s discuss item one first.
Climate Action Plan
You are probably aware that the San Luis Obispo City Council has made an exciting and ambitious commitment for the City to be carbon neutral by 2035.
This demonstrates to me that the City’s leaders are serious about addressing the climate crisis and taking action now. This is a big deal! We are joined in this effort by cities all over the country and around the world.
Setting the goal for 2035 carbon neutrality was the easy part. Now, we all need to come together to share what we are doing and figure out what else needs to be done to achieve this goal.
“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.”
― Alan Lakein
Fortunately, the City got a head start in 2012 when it created the first Climate Action Plan and began working on things like reducing greenhouse gas emissions and expanding the use of clean renewable energy.
The City’s Climate Action Plan is undergoing a significant update during 2019 to incorporate the 2035 carbon neutrality goal.
This is where item two comes in.
Your Voice Matters
If you are an old hand at attending public meetings and making public comments, after reading item two you probably thought something like, “Really, what is the big deal about podiums and microphones?”
Well, if you are shy or feel uncomfortable speaking in public, a podium and a microphone can be intimidating and even prevent you from fully taking part in public meetings.
The thing is that everyone’s voice is important.
Apparently, the City of San Luis Obispo thinks so, too, because the upcoming workshop is designed to engage the public in a variety of ways.
Climate Action Plan Workshop
Last Friday, I spoke with Chris Read, the City of San Luis Obispo’s Sustainability Manager, to get the rundown on the workshop because I wanted to write a piece to encourage public meeting novices, like me, to attend.
My theory is once you take the first step, the next one becomes easier, and before you know it you are a regular public meeting participant.
I was pleased to learn that Chris is the one who will be using a microphone. He will kick off the workshop with some opening remarks and a few slides.
In this photo, Chris Read (on the left) is thanking Bryan Iwamoto and Francisco Pares for their hard work organizing the recent SLO Climate Solutions Series Kickoff Celebration held on April 30 at SLO Brew. About 250 people attended to learn and have fun. Photo credit Mike Horgan.
After Chris’ introduction, the workshop will move to an open house format. You will have an opportunity to look around, listen to conversations, ask questions, write stuff down, and talk with people face-to-face. Surely, one or more of these activities appeals to you.
The Climate Action Plan focus areas include:
- Green Energy
- Active and Clean Transportation
- Green Buildings
- Zero Waste
- Open Space (Sequestration)
After the workshop, the information and ideas collected will be posted on the City’s website. The Open City Hall site allows you to submit ideas online. You can sign up to receive email notifications about the Climate Action Plan and many other City activities by clicking here.
Throughout the year, the City will host other events to disseminate information, engage the public, and obtain community feedback.
Chris told me that the City wants you to share what you are already doing to reduce your own carbon footprint and to share your ideas about what actions you think the City should take. At this point, all ideas, big and small are on the table. I believe he is sincere.
So, let’s take Chris up on his offer and join other community members in crafting a plan that will tackle the climate crisis while protecting this beautiful place for the people who live, work, and play here now and the people who will come after us.
“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”
― Gloria Steinem
Featured Image at Top: Kids drawing climate crisis solutions on butcher paper – photo credit iStock/FatCamera
- It is Your Community, Go to a Public Meeting (Green Groundswell post)
- SLO Climate Coalition – Our Kids are Counting on Us
- SLO Climate Solutions Series – Kickoff Celebration
- Tech Guys are Tree Huggers, Too
- City Kicks Off Climate Action Plan Update with Public Workshops
- City of San Luis Obispo Climate Action Webpage
- City of San Luis Obispo Climate Action Plan Webpage (sign up for e-notifications, share your ideas online at Open City Hall, and find information about public workshops)
- City of San Luis Obispo 2012 Climate Action Plan
About the Author: Linda Poppenheimer researches and writes about environmental topics to share information and to spark conversation. Her mission is to live more lightly on Earth and to persuade everyone else to do the same. She writes as The Unlikely Environmentalist at Green Groundswell.
Carter McGowen says
I was wondering if you had an outline of your plan so far available? You should look into electrifying the city transportation fleet mostly buses and police vehicles. Also, offering solar installation programs like the city of Berkeley did would be a great first step. We should also look into large scale battery storage. Do you have a plan to offer incentives to commuters for purchasing ev’s? What about adding more chargers in the city? I would love to see your plans and help in any way possible.
Linda Poppenheimer says
These are good questions and suggestions. I like your enthusiasm. I am including a link below where you can submit your ideas to the City online as well as download the City’s original 2012 Climate Action Plan. This is the place you will find the draft updated plan when it is available. I believe the next public workshop is scheduled tentatively for July 17. Have you been to an SLO Climate Coalition meeting, yet? Our next meeting is tomorrow, June 6 at 6:30 at the Ludwick Center.
City of SLO Climate Action Plan
Justin Bradshaw says
Carter, here is a quick rundown on your questions based on what I know:
– The city is looking into electrification of their vehicles, but that is a ways off right now.
– Buses are managed by RTA and they have a state mandate to start deploying electric buses by 2025 but are having trouble with charging infrastructure for them.
– Solar: The city is not offering any solar installation incentives like Berkeley but our Community Choice program, Monterey Bay Community Power will begin to represent SLO in 2020 and they have a n0-cost solar program for income qualified homes. https://www.mbcommunitypower.org/project-sunshine/
– Storage: MBCP is likewise looking into grid storage and microgrids as they seek to procure more renewable energy. They are looking at solar+storage and wind power. I personally think they should be looking at zinc oxide batteries if not also sodium batteries for grid level storage.
– EV incentives: Again, MBCP is offering add on incentives for EV purchasers, once their city has joined their program. I think it’s $1,000 for anyone and up to $4,000 for income qualified homes. These are on top of the federal, state and PG&E incentives that exist already. It’s truly a great time to buy an EV. https://www.mbcommunitypower.org/electric-vehicles/
– The City of SLO just installed 19 new Level 2 ChargePoint chargers in the Marsh St Parking lot and have priced it very reasonably ($1.50/hr, 6.3kW) and they’re planning to have several, if not a ton of chargers in the new Palm St/Nipomo parking lot when and if it ever gets built. More of these are very much on their radar.
Keep the ideas coming. Some of these things are really mature already and have momentum, some are just in planning stages and need passionate people to step up and help! We’d love to see you at the next Coalition meeting to discuss these things.