Berkeley Climate Action Coalition

We're all in this together!
We're all in this together!
Quarterly convenings build skills and resources to address climate change
Quarterly convenings build skills and resources to address climate change
BCAC brings residents, community organizations, schools, faith-based groups, and local government together
BCAC brings residents, community organizations, schools, faith-based groups, and local government together

The Berkeley Climate Action Coalition (BCAC) is a strong and growing network of local organizations and community members joining together to help implement the City of Berkeley’s ambitious, forty-year Climate Action Plan. We include residents, non-profits, the City of Berkeley, neighborhood groups, faith based organizations, schools, businesses, UC Berkeley, and others!

The BCAC initiates projects that address climate change on a wide variety of issues — energy, water, food, waste, the built environment, and transit. We are working toward a future that includes clean air and water, energy efficient housing, and food, energy and transportation that is local, affordable, accessible and safe.

Learn more about the intersection of climate change, social justice, and local action in this video, created by members of the Coalition:

The Berkeley Climate Coalition is organized around several Working Groups, each dedicated to carrying out an action that aligns with the Climate Action Plan. Projects include:

  • Advancing Community Choice Aggregation
  • Water Conservation and Efficiency
  • Land Use (Transitioning Vacant Lots to Community Gardens)
  • Transportation Infrastructure for Cyclists, Pedestrians, and Public Transit Riders

Learn more about the Working Group Projects and how to get involved!

BERKELEY CLIMATE ACTION PLAN

In 2006, Berkeley voters overwhelmingly endorsed Measure G, a ballot measure that mandated that Berkeley reduce our entire community’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80% below 2000 levels by 2050. The ballot measure directed the City to develop a Climate Action Plan to achieve that target. After a lengthy community planning process, the Berkeley City Council adopted the final plan on June 2, 2009.

The plan is designed to reduce community wide greenhouse gas emissions 33 percent below 2000 levels by 2020, and 80 percent by 2050. The vision for Berkeley is a bold one:

  • New and existing Berkeley buildings achieve zero net energy consumption
  • Public transit, walking, cycling, and other sustainable mobility modes are the primary means of transportation for Berkeley residents and visitors
  • Zero waste is sent to landfills
  • The majority of food consumed in Berkeley is produced locally
  • Our community is resilient and prepared for the impacts of global warming
  • The social and economic benefits of the climate protection effort are shared across the community

Read the Berkeley Climate Action Plan’s Executive Summary and Full Report on the City of Berkeley’s website.


ABOUT THE COALITION

Formed in the spring of 2012, the Coalition is convened by the Ecology Center and supported by a grant from the San Francisco Foundation. The Ecology Center works closely with the City of Berkeley’s Office of Energy and Sustainable Development, and an array of organizations and individuals who make up the Coalition’s Steering Committee and membership.

To learn about the Coalition governance structure, visit this page.

If you have questions about the Berkeley Climate Coalition or would like to get involved, contact:

Debra Berliner
Ecology Center, Climate Action Coordinator
Phone: (510) 548-2220 x 240
Email: debra@ecologycenter.org

Marna Schwartz
City of Berkeley, Office of Energy and Sustainable Development
Phone: (510) 981-7473
Email: mschwartz@cityofberkeley.info


WORKING GROUP: COMMUNITY CHOICE ENERGY

Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) allows cities and counties to pool, or aggregate, the electric load of their residents, businesses and institutions and purchase electricity on their behalf. Utlimately, this gives communities the power to decide where their energy comes from, and to purchase clean energy from renewable sources, ideally produced locally. The CCE Working Group advocates for the establishment of an Alemeda County Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program, in which the City of Berkeley would participate. The Working Group is developing educational materials, organizing community forums, and delivering presentations to detail existing and developing California CCA programs and identify the benefits – environmental, economic, and social – of establishing a CCA program.

The Working Group has recently made some major progress toward establishing a countywide CCA Program. In collaboration with others, they successfully advocated for Alameda County Supervisors to pursue a feasibility study — the first step towards creating a viable CCA program.

To learn more about how a Community Choice Aggregation program could work in Alameda County, check out “East Bay Community Choice Energy: from Concept to Implementation”.

To get involved or to invite the Working Group to present on CCA to your community, contact: Erica Etelson, ericaetelson@gmail.com


WORKING GROUP: WATER

2013 was California’s driest year on record, and 2014 isn’t panning out to be much better. The Water Working Group is responding to the urgency of the drought and longer term water insecurity by identifying key ways Berkeley residents and institutions can reduce their drought footprints. Participate in their fall We LOVE Water event, with demos and information on rainwater and graywater harvesting, drought tolerant landscaping, and celebrating our watershed. Event will be held on Saturday Sept. 27th, from 10am-3pm in Civic Center Park, in downtown Berkeley.

To get involved, contact: Matt Freiberg, heymatt212@gmail.com or Femke Oldham, femke.oldham@gmail.com


WORKING GROUP: Land Use

Many climate change impacts, including drought and water shortages, directly impact food production. Rising food prices and diminished food security are just some of the predicted outcomes. Maximizing urban food production is a key climate change adaptation strategy.

The goal of the Land Use Working Group is to establish clear, replicable processes by which residents can establish new community gardens on public and privately owned undeveloped land. The group is working to identify local vacant lots and prepare one pilot site for a community garden, develop criteria for prioritizing vacant lots, compile community garden waiting lists, and create protocol for testing soil for contaminants.

The Land Use Working Group has created a Berkeley Community Gardening Handbook, which reflects its growing body of knowledge on how to establish community gardens in Berkeley. This is a living document, which will be updated and expanded as the Working Group learns more.

To get involved, contact: Shawna McCarroll, shawna.mccarroll@gmail.com


WORKING GROUP: TRANSPORTATION

Climate action involves envisioning novel ways to use our streets. The Transportation Working Group is developing a guide for local businesses to participate in the City’s pilot parklet program, which aims to convert select parking spots into gathering spaces, like cafes and performance areas. The Working Group is also collaborating with parents, administration and students to reduce traffic congestion and car-drop offs around Berkley High School.

To get involved, contact: Sandra Hamlat, sandra.hamlat@gmail.com


GET INVOLVED

Participation in the Berkeley Climate Action Coalition is open, and we welcome all who would like to contribute to the implementation of the Climate Action Plan. There are two levels of involvement:

  • General Members agree to stay up to date and aware of Coalition activities, and participate in quarterly meetings or calls. They have access to the listserv and digital resources. They offer support with occasional advising, specific skills, and other resources as available.
  • Active Participants agree to attend quarterly meetings and participate in a Working Group to carry out at least one action from the Berkeley Climate Action Plan. They may also assume positions of leadership, either in the Coalition Steering Committee or in a particular Working Group. They have access to the listserv and digital resources. They offer support to the general Coalition and to their Working Group.

To join the Berkeley Climate Coalition or get involved with one of the Working Groups, complete the Member Form and send it to one of the contacts below:

Debra Berliner
Ecology Center, Climate Action Coordinator
Phone: (510) 548-2220 x 240
Email: debra@ecologycenter.org

Marna Schwartz
City of Berkeley, Office of Energy and Sustainable Development
Phone: (510) 981-7473
Email: mschwartz@cityofberkeley.info