Donors & local leaders in conversation

On the Table: Local Climate Change

(Photo: Attendees of On the Table got to know each other under the beautiful gray skies.)

The skies were gloriously gray on Earth Day 2022 in Santa Cruz County and as a spring rain fell, local leaders, donors, and Community Foundation staff gathered in conversation about local climate change impacts and solutions.

In a county plagued by drought and wildfires and the threat of sea-level rise, coastal erosion, and decreased agricultural production, our collective worries are big. Not to mention the global scale of climate change. It feels so scary and everything we hear is that it’s practically too late.

But what is actually happening in our community? What plans have cities and the county made? How can we break apart the hugeness of climate change and think and act locally?

Speakers from left to right: Tiffany Wise-West, Jackie McLoud, Jonathan Pilch, Sarah Newkirk)

As a community, we’re at a critical time where we need innovative, community-driven, local solutions. At the center of lasting solutions are strong relationships. Our On the Table event is a series of participatory mealtime conversations that connects our community of donors to current issues and each other.

For the conversation on climate change we invited:

(Photo credit: Jeremy Lezin)

Our Land Can Protect Us

These civic and nonprofit leaders shared their expertise about land protection and management; building resilience that meets community needs; educating the next generation of climate stewards; and taking a regional and collaborative approach to climate change.

Jonathan and Sarah in particular reminded us that as we work to protect the land, the land actually protects us. Our coastal redwoods capture more carbon dioxide (CO2) from our cars, trucks, and power plants than any other tree on Earth. And our wetlands provide shoreline erosion control, carbon capture, and important species habitats as well as maintaining surface water flow during dry periods.

Jackie and Tiffany shared the work that is being done by the climate action plans of Santa Cruz and Watsonville, in particular focus on equitable access to green transportation, electrification efforts to move away from natural gas, and watershed management.

We Can Take Action

At the end of the discussions, the entire group reconvened to brainstorm in collective actions we can take. Some were big ideas about making sustaining donations to local nonprofits working on climate change initiatives and investing in land protection and management. Other ideas were to attend a tree planting event, visiting and supporting our local parks and wetlands, and being an ambassador about climate change within the county, with peers, and our elected officials.

There are key actions we can take locally to support climate resilience.

Learn more