Santa Barbara County is launching two new planning efforts under the One Climate Initiative, which was started in 2020, to highlight interrelated efforts to address climate change.
The Environmental Justice Element is a new initiative to identify strategies to reduce pollution exposure, improve air quality, promote access to public facilities, healthy foods, safe and sanitary homes, and physical activity, promote civic engagement in the public decision-making process, and prioritize improvements and programs in environmental justice communities experiencing persistent environmental health disparities.
The Housing Element also will assess the county’s housing potential inventory of undeveloped or underdeveloped parcels, and update zoning policies and housing programs to ensure the county can meet future regional housing needs for all income levels.
“The One Climate Initiative highlights the broad range of important community issues the county is leading through a lens of climate change,” said Third District Supervisor Joan Hartmann, chair of the Board of Supervisors. “Community participation is vital as these plans will shape our region’s future to be more equitable, more resilient and environmentally conscious.”
Throughout 2021, the county engaged the community on the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment, 2030 Climate Action Plan and Active Transportation Plan. Hundreds of community members participated in six workshops, 12 town halls, four listening sessions and 24 stakeholder meetings, and provided comments through the One Climate website.
In addition to conventional engagement activities, the county is also leveraging more creative approaches to involve the community, such as the three examples below.
In 2019, the county formed an Equity Advisory and Outreach Committee (EAOC) comprised of individuals representing environmental and social justice organizations and historically marginalized communities. The EAOC has provided guidance, input and feedback to various projects within the One Climate Initiative.
In 2021, the county announced an Environmental Justice Community Art Showcase in collaboration with the Santa Barbara County Office of Arts & Culture to issue a call for art expressing what environmental justice means to people residing in Santa Barbara County.
Artists of all skills were invited to share their perspectives on what environmental justice means to them. Entries are under review following the Jan. 10 deadline to submit.
The county partnered with the city of Santa Barbara and the Tri-County Regional Energy Network to expand its engagement efforts with Spanish and Mixtec-speaking residents and businesses by working with the Santa Barbara County Promotores Network.
The collaborative effort will train community-based outreach workers in sustainability and urban planning issues and deploy them throughout the county to increase community awareness and participation with local plans and programs.
Over the course of 2022, there will be a variety of opportunities to engage with these projects. The public can learn more about the One Climate Initiative and the various projects by visiting countyofsb.org/oneclimate and by signing up for the One Climate Newsletter.
Learn more about the One Climate Initiative and sign up to receive updates in a monthly sustainability e-newsletter at countyofsb.org/oneclimate.