The Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary is in the process of being designated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as a sanctuary that would protect marine and cultural resources along 140 miles of Central California Coastline.

350 Santa Barbara will host an online community conversation with a guest speaker from the NOAA National Sanctuaries West Coast Region, 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27. Community members will have an opportunity to ask questions about the marine sanctuary and the designation process. Register here to receive a Zoom link for the event.

The Northern Chumash Tribal Council began its campaign to create a federal marine sanctuary in 2013. Nearly a decade later their vision may soon become a reality.

According to, the sanctuary would: “Preserve our unique and irreplaceable coastal ecosystems and safeguard thousands of years of Chumash cultural heritage by protecting sacred sites Strengthen the tourism-based economy of the Central Coast by generating an estimated $23 million in economic activity and creating 600 new jobs Stop the threats of offshore oil expansion and acoustic testing and provide funding for much needed local marine research.”

The proposed marine sanctuary would also help in the climate crisis. In his book “Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation,” environmentalist Paul Hawken cites marine protected areas as a key climate solution:

“Through extensive experimentation, scientists have concluded that if 30 percent of the planet’s seas can be protected by 2030 — what is called the 30 by 30 approach — there will be more fish, not fewer, carbon dioxide will be drawn down and sequestered, and oxygen levels from phytoplankton will increase for us terrestrial creatures. (One of every two breaths we take originated in our imperiled seas.)”

Santa Barbara is hosting this series of Community Climate Conversations from now through June. In February the focus of the conversation will be on sustainable urban planning with speakers from Eco Vista, a project to reimagine and re-green Isla Vista. Every month the series will feature a local climate solution.

To register for the January event, visit tZAvc-2pqjIoHNcBvrKIoyVz3zmnC9aP87ad.

For more information, email 350 Santa Barbara Steering Committee member Carol Millar,