Petaluma Starts Climate Conversations
The Petaluma Equitable Climate Action Committee (PECAC) helps bring diversity and equity to an arena of public policy otherwise dominated by white voices as the city continues to advance its ambitious climate goals.
Petaluma made international news earlier this year for enacting the nation’s first ban on new gas stations. The city of 60,000 in southern Sonoma County also moved this year to prohibit natural gas in nearly all new construction, and hasn’t allowed new drive-thrus since 2008. It aims to be carbon neutral by 2030.
But mitigating climate change involves more than just ending old habits; it also requires building new ones. That’s part of the impetus behind PECAC, pronounced “peacock” in the local parlance, says Kerry Fugett of the Petaluma-based nonprofit Daily Acts. Her organization is helping to coordinate the new committee, which was established in the wake of the city’s passage of a Climate Emergency Framework in January. “We designed the PECAC to help advance the implementation process of this framework so that it had more voices of color in that process,” Fugett says. Six residents with past experience in community and social activism (but not directly tied to climate) were chosen from among 30 applicants to serve on the committee for six months.
Representing Black, Latinx, and Asian-American communities in Petaluma, and a range of socioeconomic perspectives, the committee members — half of whom are under 25 — are supported by a small stipend and tasked with reviewing the Climate Emergency Framework for relevance to their own community, leading outreach and listening circles, and reporting back to the city council with recommendations for prioritizing policies and addressing climate equity issues.
Though modest, the program is one step toward bringing more people into the climate conversation, “which historically has not always felt inclusive,” Fugett says. “We are hoping that this can feed into how [the Climate Emergency Framework] is woven into the general plan process, and potentially future budgeting decisions.”
Other Recent Posts
After a car crash, Janet Byron switched to an e-bike. Now she is a bike evangelist — and the City of El Cerrito is listening
Scientist and coastal engineer Kris May shares her views on global versus Bay Area climate experiences in 2023, and the Fifth National Climate Assessment.
A new practical guide called Ecology for Health will help planners and designers enhance both biodiversity and human health in urban settings.
Bay Area schools, hospitals and other institutions are taking a close look at their food procurement practices to balance the needs of their communities and the environment. A new roadmap provides them with a values-based framework.
With climate change, forests across California seem doomed to retreat, but maybe not everywhere. In at least one coastal county, there’s hope of keeping valued woodlands healthy, provided past mistakes can be corrected, fast.
Churches are well -positioned to respond to the impacts of climate change and build climate resilience, especially in hard-to-reach communities or communities of color.
San Francisco’s new Environment Department director, Tyrone Jue, aims to help his city achieve net zero emissions by 2040.
Like Russian dolls, Bay Area preparations for sea level rise finally began fitting together this fall.