CivicSpark, a partnership of California’s Local Government Commission and the Governor’s Office of Planning & Research is an AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity in local governments to address climate change. They are now recruiting team members for the 2015-16 service year. Follow on Facebook and Twitter @LGC_media.
CivicSpark: Climate Leaders
If you are interested in joining the next generation of climate leaders, building your already considerable skills and creating a meaningful and lasting impact, now is the time to start the application process.
CivicSpark members work on projects that provide local governments with the support they need in their climate and sustainability initiatives. (Local governments can also propose projects at this time and volunteer support is welcome.)
CivicSpark: Think Global, Act Local
Wade Crawfoot, Deputy Cabinet Secretary and Senior Advisor to the Governor recently said,
CivicSpark is creating a model of climate action in the state of California. We are looking and expecting [CivicSpark members] to move the needle and take California to the next stage of its climate action.
Local governments will continue to take a leading role in California’s response to climate change. However, budget constraints and limited technical familiarity with emerging tools and practices pose significant challenges. CivicSpark helps California communities improve their ability to respond to the defining crisis of our time – the economic, environmental and social impacts of climate change.
CivicSpark: The Projects
Each year, 48 CivicSpark members, organized in regional teams, work with a range of local and regional project partners such as cities, counties, regional agencies, school districts, MPOs and NGOs, helping them implement climate-smart projects, such as greenhouse gas inventories, streets plans and water-conservation campaigns. By executing targeted research, planning, or implementation projects, supporting volunteer engagement and providing valuable regional and state resources, CivicSpark provides the support needed to develop new programs, enhance staff skills and expertise, and engage stakeholders to respond to climate change quickly, effectively and equitably.
Strong leadership and innovative policies put California at the forefront of national and global efforts to tackle climate change — landmark legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 and Governor Brown’s executive order issued less than 4 months ago that establishes the most aggressive greenhouse gas reduction target in North America to name a few. CivicSpark is a unique tool for local government agencies to support the achievement of ambitious state goals.
In its first year, CivicSpark has assisted 88 local government agencies, completing mitigation and adaptation projects on topics including sustainable transportation, energy efficiency, solar procurement, urban forestry, sea level rise, climate action plan implementation, and more.
Members have provided over 40,000 hours of service to California’s communities supporting a wide range of actions including 8 climate or energy action plans; 17 climate action policies; 10 vulnerability assessments; 8 greenhouse gas inventories; 12 community workshops, and energy benchmarking for 4 cities.
- CivicSpark members supporting the Business Energy Tune-Up program in Fresno County presented benchmark reports and energy saving recommendations to 25 businesses. So far, two businesses are implementing lighting upgrades, resulting in an annual savings of 41,816 kWh.
- CivicSpark members working with the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency hosted the Silicon Valley Water Conservation awards and Expo, providing education on water savings and highlighting best practices.
- CivicSpark members working with the San Luis Obispo County Air District to advance climate action plan measures have provided training to permit staff, leading to the adoption of solar permit checklists in 3 cities.
- CivicSpark members supporting the implementation of Los Angeles County’s Climate Action Plan conducted research and identifed $3 million in annual water and energy savings potential for county buildings.
CivicSpark: Meaningful Work
According to Olivia Hara, Sierra Nevada Region CivicSpark Member,
So far the opportunity that CivicSpark has provided in networking and developing professional skills has been invaluable. The experience of volunteering in our communities, sharpening our knowledge and skills of our field, and creating professional connections– all while leveraging our passion for proactive change in our communities– has proved a truly advantageous experience.
The application for the CivicSpark program is accepted on a rolling basis. Interested recent college graduates and young professionals are encouraged to learn more and apply.
CivicSpark: Volunteers Also Welcome
There are many ways you and your organization can get involved with CivicSpark and its local projects. We hope one of them fits your interests.
- Sponsorship Can Make It Happen
- Strategic Planning – Join Our Network Of Advisors
- Individual Pro-Bono Help / Sabbatical Rotations
- Mentor And Recruit Next Generation Leaders
- Act Locally – Volunteer In Your Community