AmeriCorps Platoon To Fight Climate Change

Statewide Climate Response Program Coming to the North Coast

It was announced this week that CivicSpark – a Governor’s Initiative of AmeriCorps – will launch across California and that the Redwood Coast Energy Authority will be acting as a regional partner, helping to coordinate the program for the North Coast.  Over the next three years, approximately $2 million in grant funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service will bring much-needed cost-effective services to California Communities. For the North Coast, CivicSpark expects to recruit, train, and support three to six AmeriCorps Members to pursue clean energy projects, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard against climate change impacts, and implement sustainable community strategies.

Eureka, CA – With a new AmeriCorps program announced May 7, California is poised to take the next step in its efforts to tackle the effects of climate change by mobilizing 48 AmeriCorps Members annually to implement innovative local climate change projects in communities across the state.

“CivicSpark,” a new statewide Governor’s Initiative for AmeriCorps, is being led by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the State of California - through the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and CaliforniaVolunteers - along with a network of regional organizations that includes the Redwood Coast Energy Authority.

americorps_logo_big_000The partnership will receive nearly $2 million over three years from the Corporation for National and Community Service to bring much-needed cost-effective services to California communities. At the local level, CivicSpark will work alongside the Redwood Coast Energy Authority to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate climate resiliency by building capacity in the communities that need it most.

“Climate change is a global challenge that requires strong, sustained local action,” said California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. “This program gets young people into communities across California to help reduce emissions and boost energy efficiency.”

California is a pioneer in addressing climate change through robust greenhouse gas emissions reduction and climate change resiliency policies and programs. However, the State cannot achieve long-term climate-change goals alone.

“Local governments have been recognized as instrumental in meeting state climate and energy goals aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Kate Meis, executive director of the Local Government Commission, the California-based nonprofit that will be organizing the CivicSpark initiative.

“As the closest level of government to Californians, local governments are able to make a significant impact by engaging businesses and residents in our communities on energy and climate-action efforts,” said Matthew Marshall, executive director of Redwood Coast Energy Authority. “CivicSpark will catalyze programs and projects that provide North Coast communities with a range of benefits that develop our economy, improve our air and water quality, reduce consumption of natural resources, and divert more of our waste.”

Starting this May, CivicSpark and the Redwood Coast Energy Authority will begin to identify local government participants and projects on the North Coast, then work through the summer to select local projects and recruit AmeriCorps members. Selected projects are expected to launch in local communities in mid-September.

“CivicSpark leverages the unique power of national service to build local government climate capacity statewide. Its’ AmeriCorps members will act as a critical bridge helping local governments develop the programs, relationships and skills needed to mobilize California’s climate change response,” said Karen Baker, Chief Service Officer of CaliforniaVolunteers. “They will also have the opportunity to grow as environmental stewards committed to the values of service and knowledgeable about local needs and responses.”

Through CivicSpark, the Local Government Commission will work with the Redwood Coast Energy Authority to recruit and place three to six AmeriCorps Members to implement sustainable community strategies, respond to climate change and advance clean energy initiatives throughout the region. Regional Members will provide capacity-building support to local governments through research, planning and implementation activities, while simultaneously supporting volunteer engagement.

Statewide, 48 CivicSpark members will contribute over 60,000 hours of support to at least 100 local climate action projects throughout California each year.

“The program provides a unique opportunity for emerging professionals to work with local governments and communities on essential climate response efforts," said Ken Alex, director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research.

“The Local Government Commission is proud to partner with the Redwood Coast Energy Authority, the State of California through the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and CaliforniaVolunteers, as well as the Corporation for National and Community Service on this innovative program that will stretch from San Diego to the North Coast,” said Kif Scheuer, the LGC’s climate change program director.

Local governments, California’s cities, counties, and other regional public agencies, are well positioned to be the leading change agents.

“Because the Redwood Coast Energy Authority is already engaged in existing climate efforts and has broad stakeholder networks we can provide regional understanding and support to member teams,” Matthew Marshall said. “We are pleased to be a partner on this program as it engages our local governments, facilitates sharing of experiences and information, and leverages resources and opportunities to increase our collective response to the challenge of creating a prosperous, sustainable energy future for our region.”

CivicSpark will not only provide benefits to the North Coast, but also to the AmeriCorps Members who participate. The program will focus on projects that fill key local gaps, provide foundational information and spur further sustainability initiatives, ranging from educating community members about climate change, benchmarking commercial building energy use, and conducting electric vehicle readiness planning to inventorying greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, participating local governments will develop capacity for sustainable communities and response to climate change, a pipeline for future sustainability efforts, and a workforce with local expertise in climate change, energy and sustainability. CivicSpark will also help create a state-local network for sharing information and expertise, and provide access to affordable resources for hands-on training.

For more information, visit the CivicSpark Website:   www.civicsparkca.org

Download the CivicSpark Flyer:
http://www.lgc.org/wordpress/docs/resources/climate-change/civicspark-flyer-5-14.pdf

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Redwood Coast Energy Authority (www.redwoodenergy.org): The Redwood Coast Energy Authority is a local government Joint Powers Agency whose members include the County of Humboldt; the Cities of Arcata, Blue Lake, Eureka, Ferndale, Fortuna, Rio Dell, and Trinidad; and the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District. The Energy Authority's purpose is to develop and implement sustainable energy initiatives that reduce energy demand, increase energy efficiency, and advance the use of clean, efficient and renewable resources available in the region.

Local Government Commission (www.lgc.org): A California-based nonprofit with over 30 years of broad expertise in supporting local government policies and projects, the LGC is CivicSpark’s overall program manager, providing statewide program infrastructure and overall member and local government support, coordinating training, and ensuring that performance goals are met.

California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (www.opr.ca.gov): The Office of Planning and Research serves the Governor and his Cabinet as staff for long-range planning and research, and constitutes the comprehensive state planning agency. OPR will work to ensure that CivicSpark aligns with state goals and project teams are using the cutting-edge tools and resources.

CaliforniaVolunteers (www.californiavolunteers.org): This State office manages programs and initiatives aimed at increasing the number of Californians engaged in service and volunteering.

Corporation for National and Community Service (www.nationalservice.gov): The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than 5 million Americans in service through its core programs – Senior Corps, AmeriCorps and the Social Innovation Fund.

 

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