SoCo Community Action Plan.

I attended the first public forum last night for the community action plan being created for Sonoma County to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2015:

The Community Climate Action Plan is the third step in a five-step program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout all of Sonoma County. The program is being following by all nine Sonoma cities, the County and the Water Agency.

The first step, completed by the Climate Protection Campaign in 2005, was an inventory of Sonoma County’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Step two was to set a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target. In 2005, all nine cities in Sonoma and the County adopted the country’s boldest target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25% below 1990 levels by 2015.
Step three is the Community Climate Action Plan, the blueprint to help Sonoma County achieve this emissions target.
Step four will be the implementation of actions in the Community Climate Action Plan.
Step five will be an on-going monitoring process to ensure we meet our reduction target.

These type of community processes are interesting and a challenge. How do you create consensus on a challenging issue like this, to which people bring in a full spectrum of knowledge about the issue and a whole set of personal biases? How do you create continuity when the process is lengthy and not everyone participates for the duration? Climate Protection Campaign (full disclosure: these guys are our fiscal sponsor) is trying to address this, I think, by forming smaller community groups to delve more deeply and serve as representatives for the community.

The issue, of course, is who do they represent? The already engaged and concerned, of course. Not to mention people who have the flexibility and freedom to volunteer 20 hours a month for the next few months. This can’t be helped. But while the community groups may come up with some interesting ideas, CPC is already deeply aware that the crux of the community action plan is creating public will to meet this ambitious goal. How well will these representatives develop ideas and a plan to build the will of those not already engaged will be the ultimate test. The actual strategy is not simple, but the solution is: It’s all about the message. The message. The message. The message.

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