Increasing Resilience and Equity: West Marin Climate Action


April 22, 2024

Environmental Health
Nature and Ecology

by Jim Quay, Steering Committee, West Marin Climate Action

Here's the challenge: "If you were to design a problem that the mind is not equipped to deal with, climate change would fit the bill. It's distant, it's abstract, it's contested." —Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman
Here's our answer: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."  —Cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead

West Marin Climate Action is a group of 22 volunteers whose aim is to inform and mobilize the West Marin community to adapt to and help mitigate the effects of climate change. Massive wildfires burning in California in 2017 and 2018 showed us that climate change threatened the present as well as the future. A group of West Marin residents organized a community meeting in November 2019 and asked attendees to name their highest priorities for climate action. From these responses, West Marin Climate Action founders identified three immediate areas for local action: consumption and waste reduction, local food resilience, and renewable energy.  

We seek to increase resilience and equity here in West Marin and thereby contribute to similar efforts by people and organizations around the world. We are committed to building a local network that identifies problems and advocates for solutions to ensure climate-resilient communities in West Marin. To be inclusive, we offer most programs in both Spanish and English. Current partners include Commonweal, the County of Marin, the Environmental Action Committee, ExtraFood, Innovative Health Solutions, Resilient Neighborhoods, Ride and Drive Clean, Sustainable Marin, Tomales High School, West Marin Fund, and West Marin Community Services.

Our activities are focused on its three original action areas.

Consumption and Waste Reduction

Our extremely high demand for goods, especially the ever-increasing demand for plastic goods and packaging, contributes to carbon emissions through fossil fuel extraction and production of plastic. Our Consumption and Waste Reduction action group has organized a public screening of Microplastic Madness, followed by a panel discussion, a local clothing exchange, and the creation and distribution of eco sorting tations at five sites in West Marin.  

Local Food Resilience

In order to ensure access to healthy food in a time of growing climate disruption, we need locally grown food and systems that serve people equitably.  Our Local Food Resilience action group has sponsored tours of local edibles gardens as well as educational events such as the July 2023 "Agriculture and Climate Resilience" forum. We support networks for gleaning and food sharing in partnership with Innovative Health Solutions and ExtraFood.  We are assisting local Latino agriculturalists to develop a cooperative farming project and have placed guest columns in the Point Reyes Light, illustrating how local food systems and actions can be part of the climate solution.  

Renewable Energy

Homes and transportation are the largest contributors to Greenhouse gas  (GHG) emissions. Solar power and house batteries can reduce GHG emissions and bring greater energy resilience to a community at risk for energy disruptions from wildland fires. Our Renewable Energy action group has conducted webinars on how to reduce household energy consumption and how to switch to clean energy sources.  We are actively promoting electric vehicle, e-truck, e-bike, and e-tool adoption through webinars and an annual electric vehicle-expo in Point Reyes Station. In addition to these activities, we're currently exploring the feasibility of building microgrids in West Marin villages.

We are a small organization, with one part-time office assistant and nearly two dozen volunteers. Our challenge is global and local, idealistic and practical. We'd welcome more volunteers and any financial support you might be able to offer. You can view our many webinars and learn more about West Marin Climate Action at our website.

In closing, we'd like to express our heartfelt appreciation to two of WMCA's founders, Eleanore Despina and Bing Gong, who are moving to Oregon. They have been wellsprings for our initiatives and sources of crucial counsel in our organization's early years. West Marin Climate Action would not be the organization it is today without their energy and wisdom. We will miss them both as valued colleagues and as cherished neighbors.

Thanks for your interest in West Marin Climate Action.

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