February 2016
AmeriCorps Week 2016

Every day across the nation, AmeriCorps members are tackling America's toughest problems, working in areas such as: Disaster Services, Economic Opportunity, Education, Environmental Stewardship, Healthy Futures, and Veterans and Military Families. Each year during AmeriCorps Week, the Corporation for National and Community Service recognizes the commitment of AmeriCorps members and alums by highlighting the extraordinary impact AmeriCorps makes across our nation. This year, AmeriCorps Week will be celebrated across the country on  March 5-12.
This year's theme,  #AmeriCorpsWorks, reflects AmeriCorps' triple bottom line return on investment - for the recipients of service, the people who serve, and the larger community and nation. As an AmeriCorps program, CivicSpark is making AmeriCorps Work by building capacity for local governments to address climate change in California, giving CivicSpark fellows professional development training and work experience in the climate change field, and helping our state and country overall move towards a more sustainable future. From now through  March 12th, follow LGC on social media to learn about how CivicSpark is showing that #AmeriCorpsWorks. 
Partner Annoucements
The State of California is working on a number of initiatives that will affect CivicSpark members and host jurisdictions, as well as informational documents to help support work happening around the state. Documents of interest include: 
  • "California Jurisdictions Addressing Climate Change" (DRAFT) outlines which jurisdictions around the state have climate change related documents. A final version will be available next week at  www.opr.ca.gov
  • CEQA Guidelines update related to transportation emissions (SB743)
    • Please send in document comments by February 29, 2016
  • AB32 Scoping Plan Update draft due out shortly (sign up at the CARB website to get notified)
  • OPR General Plan Guidelines will be ready in final form in June, including initial updates on data,  SB379 (climate change impacts in the safety element), a minor update to the  Adaptation Planning Guide, and more. 
OPR needs your help for our "Annual Planning Survey", in which we compile information about what local governments are doing to address specific issues, as well as understand long-term trends in land use and planning issues. An example of an output of this survey is here. Sign up for the OPR general email list to get information and updates on all of the topics above. As always, please contact me if you have questions about any of OPR's or State products or guidance. 

Sincerely ,

Michael McCormick, AICP
Senior Planner, California Governor's Office of Planning and Research. Michael.McCormick@opr.ca.gov
Regional Spotlights
Energy Efficiency in Davis
Working with Cool Davis has so far been an extremely rewarding experience for Sacramento fellow, Alex Sauerwein. The organization has many working groups focusing on various projects that are moving the city of Davis towards a sustainable future. Since Alex's start with Cool Davis, he has been working in collaboration with many of these working groups. Recently, Alex has been working on a data project that will analyze the energy efficiency upgrades of Yolo County apartments in order to provide a good, better, and best worksheet for landlords looking to upgrade their apartment buildings.

Drought Training in the Central Valley
In January, fellows Mitchelle De Leon and Trevor Wilson worked on a series of training seminars geared toward drought issues in California. Mitchelle focused on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014. Trevor focused on community-based water conservation. His seminar included a presentation from Action Research's Jennifer Tabanico on community-based social marketing in order to teach municipality staff how to effectively promote behavior change at the community level and involve community members in water conservation. Mitchelle and Trevor produced the bulk of seminars' content, promoted the event, and gave lengthy presentations during the seminars. These seminars provided an excellent opportunity to not only showcase their expertise and knowledge on the subject, but also to demonstrate the early success and further potential of programs like CivicSpark.

Climate Action Planning in Long Beach
The City of Long Beach is preparing for the development of a comprehensive Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP). Fellow Carrie Metzgar contributed to the initial planning process by conducting a city-wide climate action review in which she reached out to nearly 60 cities to learn about their climate action planning experiences. The highlights from the review were then presented to her Long Beach colleagues. Carrie is now assisting the City in writing its RFP seeking consultant services for the CAAP and is looking forward to being a part of the consultant selection process.

Fellow Spotlights
Question of the Month: If you could convince the government to invest heavily in only one climate change solution, what would it be and why?
Alyssa Collins, Sierra Nevada Region
A:  "The one climate change solution that would yield the biggest impact that the government should invest in is stopping the burning of fossil fuels and committing to renewable energy resources. Climate Change is fostered by the anthropogenic addition of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, so eliminating fossil fuels would be a huge step in mending the detrimental effects humans have had on the planet."

Alyssa was raised in Truckee, and recently graduated from UC Irvine with a Bachelor of Science in Earth System Science and two minors in Global Sustainability and Biological Sciences. Throughout college, she was involved in numerous environmental service programs, which inspired a passion for climate change response. She is interested in a career in Earth Sciences and sustainability.

Matthew Anderson, Bay Area Region
A: "If I could convince the government to invest heavily in only one thing, it would definitely be people. I'd love to say hyperloops, green roofing or methane digesters, but I think the power of any single technology is vastly outweighed by an informed and motivated populace collectively working on climate change issues. That's where I'd put my money at least. That or methane storage safety laws but heh, that's a different matter."

Matthew is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Madison where he majored in Environmental Studies and International Relations. Having worked in several non-profits on sustainable agriculture and pesticide management issues, he is excited to tackle greenhouse gas emission reductions on a city-wide level. When not at work he can be found cooking in the kitchen, playing ultimate frisbee, or playing in his backyard jungle of a garden.

Jennifer Truong, Southern California Region
A: "I would convince the government to focus on increasing urban tree canopy cover, since large populations living in major cities today are vulnerable to the urban heat island effect that can be amplified by climate change. Besides reducing ambient temperatures in the city, urban trees also help people connect directly to nature without having to travel far to remote areas to do so. Another benefit is that they can act as carbon sinks, having the potential to help remove excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere."

Originally from Garden Grove, CA, Jennifer Truong recently graduated from UCLA with a degree in Environmental Science and a minor in conservation biology. Prior to joining CivicSpark, she worked as a GIS intern for Orange County Parks. 

Upcoming Events

The Center for Climate Protection , the Local Government Commission , and the Local Government Sustainable Energy Coalition  are 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. http://climateprotection.org/symposium-2016/

Infinite Earth Radio  i s a weekly podcast produced by Skeo, in association with the Local Government Commission  and the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference.

Each week they interview visionary leaders, dedicated government officials, savvy businesses and forward thinking individuals who are working to build smarter, more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous communities through social and economic inclusion that values the contribution of all citizens and seeks meaningful lives for everyone.

The Infinite Earth Radio Contest Deadline has been  EXTENDED  to February 25, 2016!

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. For local officials ONLY.

More details and registration at  http://www.lgc.org/yosemite-2016

7th Annual Statewide Energy Efficiency Forum

The 7th Annual Statewide Energy Efficiency Forum is taking place from June 15-16, 2016 in Riverside, CA (with pre-forum events taking place on June 14th). This year's forum will feature up to 16 interactive breakout sessions that highlight innovative and practical frameworks, projects, and tools to help you advance your community's energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives, as well as updates from key state agencies and plenty of networking opportunities. Registration will open in late March - stay tuned for more details! 

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 on Oct. 19 th , 2015 and will go through Sept. 2016.