A local church hopes to make climate change easier to understand for people in and out of Santa Monica. With a little financial help from the City Council, the Church in Ocean Park might be taking one step closer to its goals.
At the request of Mayor Pro Tem Terry O’Day and Council members Ted Vazquez and Ted Winterer, Santa Monica’s elected panel approved a $5,000 allocation to the Church in Ocean Park last Tuesday to support its “California Climate Change Exchange,” or CCCX.
“It is an education program that broadens our understanding of climate change,” O’Day said.
The Church in Ocean Park created the organization last month “to produce several broad-based community forums on climate change, to disseminate information to individuals who want to address climate change and to match those individuals to nonprofits according to their specific interests and concerns.”
“Climate change is a very serious problem. Many people start freaking out about it,” Valerie Griffin, who presented about 30 PowerPoint slides on behalf of the Church in Ocean Park, told council members. “We are providing a new organization that will help people learn about and deal with climate change.”
The new group will host forums at the church, including one scheduled for Oct. 27 at 1 pm.
Katherine King told council members about 20 people are already involved with the organization, including 11 interns and some students from SMC.
According to City staff, the goal of CCCX “is to facilitate people ‘coming to grips with Climate Change’ by hosting, free of charge, a series of forums at the Church in Ocean Park and developing a one-stop online educational resource linking individuals, through the use of a questionnaire, to organizations dealing with climate change.”
For its first event set for Oct. 27, CCCX sought out co-sponsors and requested the City allocate $5,000 to the forum.
Santa Monica’s Task Force on the Environment (ETF) is also involved.
The $5,000 allocation is, according to O’Day, a “seed grant.” O’Day added the total need is $10,000, so the council’s allocation is basically fronting a 1-to-1 match.
City Hall is attempting to address climate change through the Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) and Sustainable City Plan.
According to language in the LUCE, Santa Monica addresses climate change and the overall environment by trying to create more opportunities for “smaller-scale” and “local-serving” land uses, connecting new development to mass transit, and promoting “a multi-modal transportation system that incentivizes walking, biking and transit, and encourages local-serving retail within walking distance.”
On the State level, the legislature in 2006 passed AB 32 – the California Global Warming Solutions Act – which “commits (California) to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.”
Two years later, SB 375 was passed and tied the State’s transportation funding decisions to land use.
The LUCE states SB 375 is the implementing mechanism “to achieve the GHG emission reduction goals through better transportation and land use planning.”
“It requires metropolitan planning organizations to create a Sustainable Communities Strategy to reduce GHG emissions and requires that funding decisions for regional transportation projects be internally consistent with the strategy. In essence, SB 375 ties state transportation funding decisions to land use and links regional planning efforts for transportation and housing,” the LUCE continued.