Last year Sebastopol adopted a climate action framework to help guide the city’s transition away from fossil fuels. To help with Sebastopol’s green transition the City's Climate Acton Committee set up a series of community meetings to spur public involvement, starting January 26th.
Flyers for Third Act, the nonprofit that helps organize Americans over 60 to fight for progressive change, sat alongside copies of Sebastopol’s Climate Action Framework as a mostly older crowd of about 50 people gathered at the Sebastopol Cultural Community Center for the meeting.
They shared pizza slices and talked about the varied contributors to the city’s greenhouse emission inventory.
Josho Simone, a climate action committee member and permaculturalist, led a breakout group focused on land use and carbon sequestration within the city.
He said Sebastopol has taken some common sense steps like installing solar panels on some city property and letting lawns go unwatered during the summer.
Simone said the city still runs up against a major issue facing local governments in their fight against climate change.
"It's a small town," Simone said. "There's not a lot of staff time, not a lot of extra money. So they're all looking for suggestions about what to do further."
Sara Camnasio is a Sebastopol resident and volunteer with the City's Climate Action Committee.
"We have to involve the community, and so can we set an example as Sebastopol for one way to do that?" Camnasio said "Can we get inspired by other towns?"
Camnasio said she sees community involvement as central to decarbonizing Sebastopol, and hopes to see the energy and ideas from the meeting, and from the community as a whole, push the city to take needed action.
"Because of the impact climate change has on everything, on every layer of society, it's going to be so important to involve community members," Camnasio said. "I think we're at a stage where in many places, plans are getting put together behind closed doors by experts and launched. If we are to address the urgency of this crisis in the timeliness it requires, we need to break those barriers down. We need to democratize."