CAP Update Embraces Equity and Environmental Justice During Public Workshop
Over the last few months, the County has heard from members of the public and the Board of Supervisors that they are concerned about the disproportionate effects of climate change on our most vulnerable communities and the importance of emphasizing equity in the Climate Action Plan Update (CAP Update) process and outcomes.
On June 2nd, the sustainability planning team held our first equity-focused workshop, facilitated by Mixte Communications. This was the third virtual public workshop this year and the first formal equity-focused conversation. The event drew 60 attendees, ranging from residents, community-based organizations, advocacy groups, business and industry organizations, farmers, and non-profits. The workshop, designed as a listening session, placed emphasis on learning from the public about how the CAP Update can best address equity and environmental justice. Throughout the workshop, attendees were engaged in the discussion through interactive polling questions, and staff answered questions throughout the presentation and during an open discussion session at the end of the event.
Per the Board of Supervisors direction on January 13th (Item 5) and 27th (Item 3) of this year, the CAP Update will emphasize environmental justice and equity and be shaped by community input. Environmental justice and equity will guide the County’s approach to outreach and engagement and greenhouse gas emission reduction measures and priorities. The June 2nd workshop acted as the CAP Update’s first of many equity-focused conversations with the broader public
The equity-focused workshop had four primary goals:
- Listen to attendees
- Learn from attendees
- Begin collaborating with attendees; and
- Find out who else the County can include in the process.
Following a brief overview of the CAP Update progress, Mixte Communications led a series of poll questions relating to everything from demographic information, perception of the CAP, equity, and health impacts of climate change, concerns and suggestions people have, and preferred modes of communication, to barriers and cultural nuances the County should take into consideration when engaging with people in the unincorporated county.
Extensive feedback – like the 85% of respondents who said yes to the question, if “you or your community are experiencing public health issues” related to climate change – will be closely tracked by the sustainability planning team and incorporated into the CAP Update, as well as incorporated in the approach to public engagement and measure and co-benefit development moving forward.
What is next?
The next CAP Update workshop will take place on June 30, 2021 and will focus on the development of a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)-compliant environmental document, called a Supplemental Environmental Impact Report, or SEIR, that will evaluate the environmental impacts associated with implementing the CAP Update. The SEIR will also include an analysis of cumulative impacts and project alternatives resulting in “smart growth” alternatives that could ultimately incentivize development in specific parts of the unincorporated area. The County will include at least one smart growth alternative that will place an emphasis on reducing vehicle miles traveled.
We look forward to seeing you there!