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Sustainable City Commission Discusses Climate Resilience

Release Date: 2017-01-31

The Aquarium of the Pacific and CSULB Sustainability presented on their climate resiliency community efforts, and we heard an update on the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) at the Sustainable City Commission meeting last Thursday. The Commission engaged with each presenter, asked questions, and committed to supporting the work to create a more resilient Long Beach. The full video of the meeting is available to watch online.

David Bader, Director of Education for the Aquarium of the Pacific, was first to present. He made a point to engage with Commissioners and the public by asking questions throughout his presentation such as, “What does it mean to be resilient?” The Aquarium defines a climate resilient city as “a city able to continue to function in the face of challenging circumstances due to climate change, and to recover quickly from disruptions.” In 2015, the Aquarium assessed the climate impacts facing Long Beach in the Climate Resiliency Assessment Report. The Aquarium is currently creating a Citizen’s Guide to Climate Resilience that seeks to engage and educate residents on simple adaptation actions they can take now. “If we’re prepared, then the City of Long Beach is going to be a much better place to live,” Bader said.

Next, the Commission heard a presentation from CSULB Sustainability staff members Holli Fajak and Lily House-Peters. CSULB has many impressive sustainability achievements under its belt, including a new building beginning construction this year that will be the first net zero building in the CSU system, as well as the first in Long Beach. The campus is committed to climate neutrality by 2030 and 90% waste diversion by 2020, and is also developing a Clean Energy Plan to increase the use of renewable energy. Increasing climate resilience is also a priority, and CSULB is creating a Campus-Community Coalition to bring local leaders together on this issue. Some of the goals of this coalition are to assess the work being done and facilitate partnerships between organizations. “We see ourselves as a brain trust and innovation engine for the community,” House-Peters said.

The Climate Action and Adaptation Plan update was presented by Christopher Koontz from the Planning Bureau of the City of Long Beach Department of Development Services. Complementing the work discussed in the other two presentations, Koontz said: “The task we have been planning is to take all that positive energy and that public engagement and come up with a plan for the entire city.” In November 2015, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia signed an official commitment to the Compact of Mayors, a global coalition created to collectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance resilience to climate change. Long Beach joins over 600 cities around the world in this effort, and the CAAP is the first step to fulfilling the City’s commitment. For more information on the CAAP, visit http://www.lbds.info/climate/.

Join us at the next Sustainable City Commission meeting on February 23rd, 2017. Check the Sustainable City Commission page or follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updates on meeting topics and presentations.