San Rafael, CA – Marin County is designing local solutions to climate change that create a resilient and equitable future. In 2019, a Marin Community Foundation (MCF) grant enabled the County to work with community-based organizations on the next key steps of a grassroots movement called Drawdown: Marin.
The Drawdown: Marin collaborative movement is gaining steam in 2020, recruiting ambassadors in various local neighborhoods.
Now in 2020, the MCF support is facilitating a collaborative process that encourages residents from all backgrounds to meaningfully participate in the Drawdown movement. Through January 10, 2020, organizers are searching for existing community leaders in the Canal neighborhood of San Rafael, Marin City, West Marin, and parts of Novato who want to educate friends and family about climate change.
The primary goal is to engage people about Drawdown: Marin, designed to inspire all local cities and towns, organizations, and individuals to work together to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, capture carbon, and increase community resilience to climate change impacts.
The Marin County Community Development Agency (CDA) is leading the collaboration with the Canal Alliance, Marin Multicultural Center, West Marin Community Services, and Marin City Community Development Corporation.
“To create an equitable future, we need to listen to community leaders who already know and understand their peers’ priorities and concerns,” said CDA’s Alex Porteshawver, Drawdown’s Senior Program Coordinator. “We hope these leaders will be inspired to become Drawdown ambassadors and help us include more individuals in our decision-making process. That will ensure that local solutions are designed for everyone, not just those with the time and resources to attend Drawdown meetings.”
Ideal ambassador candidates are organized, personable, confident public speakers, and fluent in one or more of the following languages: English, Spanish, Vietnamese, or Farsi. Those selected will be compensated for their efforts and also be offered storytelling training (a seven-week online course launching January 21) so they are more empowered to share information with decision-makers throughout the County. Ambassadors will be asked to describe Drawdown: Marin at social gatherings and collect opinions about the types of local climate solutions Drawdown should consider.
“We want to make sure residents of color, those from lower-income households, our aging population, and young people are involved in this movement because their priorities matter and these individuals may be most impacted by climate change even though they are least responsible for causing it,” Porteshawver said. “We want to identify people who are committed to informing and empowering their neighborhoods to understand and act on climate change.”
The Marin Community Foundation, which awarded its $126,451 grant in June 2019, shares the County’s goal of making climate change planning and solutions implementation an inclusive process, not just for certain populations.
“We are proud this project is involving people from those communities who are the most directly and immediately impacted, for example, by sea level rise and other climate change impacts,” MCF President Thomas Peters said in a statement. “We are delighted to have their voices, suggestions and solutions at the main table of discussion.”
The Marin County Board of Supervisors received a Drawdown: Marin update on December 17 (a staff report and accompanying presentation describing progress so far and future plans were placed on the County’s website). Drawdown: Marin planners from CDA’s Sustainability Team reported to the Board about achievements and challenges during the first year of the initiative and opportunities for 2020.
Residents can learn more by visiting www.drawdownmarin.org. Individuals can sign up to be a Drawdown ambassador or enroll in the seven-week online storytelling training. Email CDA’s Allie Hoff with questions.