San Rafael, CA – Marin County’s own coordinated initiative to reduce and reverse climate change at the grassroots level is gaining traction both with enthusiastic human involvement and in funding sources.
The Drawdown: Marin Steering Committee, shown at its first meeting, is spearheading an effort to make Marin a carbon-free community by 2045.
The planners and environmentalists behind Drawdown: Marin
, a collaborative movement that helps inspire all cities and towns, organizations, and individuals to work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions released locally, have made steady progress the past year. Recent achievements include:
- The creation of Drawdown: Marin vision and goals;
- The formation of four collaboratives to design local solutions in 6 focus areas such as renewable energy, carbon sequestration, and transportation (two more are taking shape this winter);
- The preliminary endorsement of two hyperlocal solutions (Drive Clean Marin and Marin Carbon Farming Initiative) by Drawdown’s executive steering committee;
- Funded by the Marin Community Foundation, the launch of a process to more deeply include diverse populations in Marin.
There’s much more to report, said Alex Porteshawver, a senior program manager with the Marin County Community Development Agency’s Sustainability Team and the point person for Drawdown: Marin within the County government.
“We’ve seen inspirational advocacy from people of all ages, spurred on by ominous scientific evidence of climate change and the desire to make a difference locally,” Porteshawver said. “In Marin, we are encouraged that more of our residents understand that excess carbon in the atmosphere has reached an unsustainable level, and reducing the main culprit, greenhouse gas emissions, is of critical importance.”
Drive Clean Marin, which advocates for electric vehicle use, was the first proposed solution to receive preliminary endorsement. Driving a vehicle can account for up to 50% of a person’s carbon footprint, but that can be drastically reduced by committing to riding in an electric vehicle or on an electric bicycle. Drive Clean Marin, which connects people to EV discounts, is associated with the nine-county Drive Clean Bay Area movement and the Marin-based nonprofit Cool the Earth.
The second endorsed solution, the Marin Carbon Farming Initiative, helps local farmers and ranchers implement sustainable practices that sequester carbon. Carbon farming maximizes agriculture’s potential for removing excess greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere and storing them into the soil and vegetation, building fertility, productivity and resilience.
The County’s commitment to climate action planning dates to 2002 when the Board of Supervisors signed a resolution to join the United Nations-backed Cities for Climate Protection Campaign. As of 2017, countywide emissions are 24 percent below 2005 levels. In recent years, the Board of Supervisors has made sustainability one of its most urgent priorities. But, given the dramatic changes in weather and the environment, the realization is more clear that the local work has only begun.
Drawdown: Marin kicked off in October 2017 with a Board of Supervisors resolution and a community event that brought together hundreds of environmental champions, student leaders, business leaders, government officials, and other interested parties. It was then when Drawdown: Marin was launched as a countywide climate action campaign with the bold vision of making Marin a carbon-free community by 2045.
Drawdown: Marin was awarded a $126,451 grant from the Marin Community Foundation to implement a process designed by Marin community-based organizations to more deeply engage people of color in this initiative, elevating existing community priorities. The process offers compensation for participation at all levels, seeks to recruit community ambassadors that can raise awareness of climate change and local actions at the neighborhood scale, a storytelling training, a full-day equity training for Drawdown: Marin participants, and an open town hall to feature and ultimately fund community priorities.
Residents can take action by visiting www.drawdownmarin.org. Actions are listed in each of the six focus areas. Anyone who would like to help get the word out about the countywide effort is encouraged to join the Community Partnership Council and serve as a community ambassador by contacting Porteshawver. Make a pledge for the next generation at www.deartomorrow.org.