Sunday, December 10 , 2017, 10:41 pm | Overcast with Haze 50º


UCSB Hopes Central Coast Sustainability Summit Will Produce ‘Action Plan’

After bringing together people from sustainability organizations throughout the Santa Barbara area a year ago, UC Santa Barbara sustainability leaders are raising the bar this year for a second Central Coast Sustainability Summit.

The summit, to be held next Thursday, Oct. 25, at UCSB’s Loma Pelona Conference Center, will gather representatives from area governments, community organizations and schools to create action plans that will focus on renewable energy and product stewardship. The event runs from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Among the officials expected to attend are Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, three county supervisors and Roger Aceves, the mayor pro tem of Goleta.

“In last year’s summit, we were incredibly successful in developing partnerships that have carried over into this year,” said Katie Maynard, sustainability coordinator for UCSB’s Department of Geography and the conference organizer. “We shared wonderful best practices and information. We got to meet each other.”

But, Maynard said, there was never a sense of what specific actions were taken as a result of the first summit.

“So this year, we decided to propose two themes –– renewable energy and product stewardship,” she said. “These themes are an opportunity for us to focus our post-conference action, and to really show how the summit can be a core driver for action.”

The morning and afternoon keynote speeches will focus on the two themes. The morning keynote, starting at 8:30 a.m., will be delivered by Heidi Sanborn, executive director of the California Product Stewardship Council. Sanborn founded the CPSC in 2007 to change the way product waste is managed in California.

Also speaking in the morning session will be Megan Birney, energy programs manager for the Community Environmental Council. Since 2007, Birney has helped Santa Barbara decrease dependence on fossil fuels through energy conservation, energy efficiency and making the switch to renewable sources of energy.

The welcoming remarks will be followed by a World Café: a multi-table discussion with nine representatives from the county, city and schools at each table.

“Each table will have three discussion questions,” Maynard said. “The first question is, what are current barriers to multijurisdictional partnerships and how can we overcome those barriers? Then the next two questions go into specific things related to one of the two themes.”

Conference organizers are hoping that the participants set a goal of collectively supporting a renewable energy development.

“It could be either solar or wind, and it could be an incentive program, or it could look like a specific renewable energy farm,” Maynard said.

The same idea applies to the other theme of product stewardship.

“It’s a basic concept of thinking about all of the products that we use, not just from the point at which we use them, but from where they came,” she said. “How was it manufactured and created? How do we use it? What do we do with it when we’re done with it? And where’s it going? How does it become a new product?”

After the World Café, the summit will separate into concurrent sessions that will include topics such as green business, best practices in renewable energy, plug-in Central Coast, and collaborating for water efficiency in Santa Barbara County.

The closing keynote will be delivered at 2:45 p.m. by Rick Cole, former Ventura city manager.

“There’s going to be a call to action by Cole, saying that we’ve got to get out there, we’ve got to do this,” Maynard said.

The summit also provides an opportunity for UCSB faculty members to discuss their research. “It’s taking the research we do at the university and making it publicly available, and hopefully putting it into place,” said Mo Lovegreen, sustainability director at UCSB. “So it’s cutting-edge research making it into the market and making that transition happen in the community.”

You never know what might come out of the summit, according to Maynard. “At Arizona State University they developed a major solar project after a similar summit,” she said. “We’re going to come up with ideas and brainstorm during this summit. We want this to be the driver on coming up with a plan of action.”

The event is co-organized by the City of Carpinteria, the City of Goleta, the City of Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara County, the Community Environmental Council and UC Santa Barbara. The summit is not open to the public.

Click here for a full schedule of events.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Cimme Eordanidis
"Since I truly enjoy doing what I do, interacting with people and representing them during one of life's most exciting events is very rewarding."

Full Profile >