December 2015
A Look Into Our 2015-2016 Projects

CivicSpark's 2015-16 cohort is officially full and off to a great start! From a pool of over 315 applicants, 48 outstanding candidates were selected to serve as CivicSpark fellows for our second service year - an applicant-to-hire ratio of 6.5 to 1. As a program, CivicSpark fellows will be engaging in 42 distinct projects and helping a total of 109 beneficiaries. Fellows are now diving into their projects, conducting interviews, attending city council meetings, researching CAP measures, and more! Here's a little more about what our fellows are working on this year, learn more here



Regional Spotlights
Sierra Water Resiliency
The Sierra Nevada water resiliency team, including fellow Alyssa Collins, assisted Sierra Business Council in facilitating a week-long leak detection training for Placer County Water Agency. As a result of the training, staff developed skills and confidence to pinpoint leaks in underground water pipe systems. In addition, staff identified 14 leaks, equating to approximately 67.25 gallons per minute of water loss and an extra cost of $40,000 annually for the water agency. Sierra Business Council is currently planning an additional training with a another water agency to be held in March.

Climate Action Planning in the Bay Area
Clifford Wang is working in Walnut Creek to implement various community measures in its Climate Action Plan, including residential solar, energy efficiency programs, and expansion of alternative transportation. Earlier this month, the City Council approved sending a letter to Contra Costa County showing interest in a county-wide Community Choice Energy (CCE) program. We will revisit Council in February 2016 for the adoption of a CCE ordinance. 

Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Los Angeles Region
Earlier this year, the Santa Monica Office of Sustainability & the Environment set out to produce a robust 2030/2050 climate action and adaptation plan that includes aggressive greenhouse gas emission reduction strategies in the energy, transportation, and water sectors. This month, with the assistance of fellow Mikael Matossian, City staff researched and evaluated proposals from potential consultants. The City is now preparing to enter an 18-month partnership with the consultant team during which the plan will be produced.

Fellow Spotlights
Question of the Month: "When someone says the word 'environmentalist', what's the first thing that pops into your mind? Do you consider yourself one?"
Lauren Lum, Bay Area Region
A: " When I think of the term environmentalist, I think of the words of Terry Tempest Williams, who says environmentalists are actually reflective activists because they, " between reflection and action, passion and patience". As for me, I view myself as an aspiring environmentalist, for I strive to be a person for, and with, others and work to ensure the preservation of the Earth for many generations to come."

Growing up on an almond farm in Vacaville, Ca, Lauren's family's history of farming and agriculture prompted her interest and passion for the environment. Prior to CivicSpark, she worked for the Solano County Water Agency, as a water conservation intern, promoting water conserving practices to homeowners.

Rebecca True, Central Valley Region
A: " When I hear the word "environmentalist" the first thing that I think of are historical figures such as John Muir or Rachel Carson, people who were leading activists in their day for the preservation of nature. Although, more broadly, you do not have to be a writer or even an avid hiker to recognize the importance of protecting the earth's balance. In that case, I consider myself to be an environmentalist because saving the earth is saving ourselves."

A Sacramento native, Rebecca studied the environment and public health in a magical place called Boulder, Colorado. During her study-abroad experience in Sweden, which prompted her to focus on sustainable development in regards to design problems and the built environment.
Alex Economou, Central Coast Region
A: " When I hear the word environmentalist, I think of the environment being an integral part of life. To me, the most important part of life is happiness, and there is no way to achieve true happiness without protecting and being a part of the environment around us. I consider myself to be an environmentalist because the environment is an intrinsic part of who I am and acts as a daily inspiration for who I want to be and what I want to achieve in life."

Alex grew up in a small suburb of Chicago called Western Springs, Illinois as an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys running, hiking and camping among other adventures. He hopes to pursue a career working with renewable energy and energy efficiency and to one day own a small, local business.

Upcoming Events
REGISTRATION IS STILL OPEN - for the nation's largest smart growth and sustainability event! The theme for the 2016 conference is "Practical Tools and Innovative Strategies for Creating Great Communities," underscoring a stronger emphasis on implementation tools and strategies, and new technologies that will help communities NOW! 

The program will feature a dynamic mix of over 80 sessions, workshops and trainings for veteran experts to smart-growth novices, also including optional tours of model projects and networking opportunities. Regular registration rates are available through January 21st! Visit for more details!

The Center for Climate Protection, the Local Government Commission and the Local Government Sustainable Energy Coalition is organizing an all-day symposium to accelerate California's shift to a clean energy economy, driven by local government and business. The Symposium provides a forum to exchange ideas about Community Choice Energy programs, and to learn about current energy policy, regulations, markets, and technology. Help accelerate the wave of local renewables sweeping California. Please join us on March 4, 2016 in San Jose for the Business of Local Energy Symposium.

March 10-13, 2016

LGC's 2016 conference, Think Like a Startup: Private-Sector Solutions for Public-Benefit Projects, will look at how government and partners can stay ahead of the resource curve the way the private sector does. Invited speakers will talk about the role of entrepreneurs in meeting evolving housing, travel, and mobility needs, how local governments can do more to respond to market needs, and what they can do to work with the private sector to optimize community benefits. There will also be ample opportunities for insightful dialogue and valuable networking.

More details and registration at

Save the date and stay tuned for more details on the 2nd biennial  California Adaptation Forum ! This forum reflects the diverse needs and challenges facing California, bringing together leading voices from around the state to share insights about how we can most effectively respond.
About CivicSpark
CivicSpark is a statewide Governor's initiative AmeriCorps program implemented by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Governor's Office of Planning and Research. Eight regional hubs host 48 Fellows across California, building capacity for local government agencies to address climate change. The 2015-16 service year started in Oct. 19 th , 2015 and will go through Sept. 2016.