CivicSpark selected as a Finalist for the American Climate Leadership Awards!

Out of an initial field of 300 applicants, and 34 semifinalists, CivicSpark has been selected as one of the 10 finalists for the American Climate Leadership Awards! (ACLA). This award recognizes individuals and local and national organizations for their demonstrated success in mobilizing public support and political will on climate among key constituencies to help accelerate the replication of important climate action nationwide.

LGC’s Executive Director Kate Meis and CivicSpark Program Director Kif Scheuer will be attending the American Climate Leadership Summit to celebrate, connect with other leaders, strengthen coalitions, and share the work.

This is a wonderful recognition of CivicSpark’s collective impact and contribution to the field of local climate action and emerging leadership. A huge thank you to the whole CivicSpark family: Fellows and Partners both current and former, along with our amazing staff and our many allies and supporters!

Santa Barbara County Regional Climate Collaborative Officially Launched

CivicSpark Alumni and County of Santa Barbara’s Climate Program Manager Garrett Wong, announced the official launch of the Santa Barbara County Regional Climate Collaborative at the Climate Resilience Roundtables on Sea Level Rise on March 4, 2020.

The Santa Barbara County Regional Climate Collaborative is a new multi-sector network of organizations working together to advance climate mitigation and resiliency efforts in Santa Barbara County. The Collaborative advances regional scale climate solutions through coordination and partnership.

Organizations are invited to submit their interest in membership and apply to join the Steering Committee and/or Subcommittees here.

Fellows attend Green Cities California Strategy Convening

2019-20 CivicSpark Climate Fellows Shivali Gowda, Yeymi Rivas and Laima Diaz Vepstas attended the Green Cities California Strategic Convening in February and were able to share their experience:

“Green Cities California (GCC) is a network of sustainability leaders and innovators in 18 cities across California. At the GCC Strategy Convening in Sacramento, Fellows had the opportunity to participate in meetings with several important state agencies, including the Office of Planning and Research, CalRecycle, California Energy Commission, Strategic Growth Council, and even met with the Secretary of the CalEPA, Jared Blumenfield.

From our conversations with the state agencies, we learned that they need local governments to provide more support for ongoing struggles at the state level, such as for fuel efficiency standards to remain high. They communicated that testimonials and letters of support from our cities prove to be critical in the fight as their case is stronger with our input. It was exciting and refreshing to know that they rely on us as much as we rely on them. In fact, many of the cities involved in GCC are in the process of implementing reach codes – local building energy codes that “reach” beyond the state minimum requirements for energy use in buildings, helping lead the way in climate solutions. Many of these reach codes, if successful, inspire the updates on the energy codes applied to the state. In addition, we discussed our data concerns and needs with agencies, and learned that the access to data is an ongoing battle that can be frustrating at times, as it follows an archaic process. On the second day, the cities convened and discussed our strategies going forward.

Attending GCC gave us a glimpse of the exciting ways that local governments and state governments can support each other and we hope to use these skills in the future!”


Become a CivicSpark Partner!

We’re looking for partners who want to assistance with their environmental or social equity research, planning and implementation projects from our highly motivated emerging leaders.

Second priority deadline closes April 3rd.

Visit our websitedownload a flyer or sign up for a 1-hour informational webinar to learn about CivicSpark’s 5 year track record of helping California communities tackle their biggest challenges while fostering the next generation of leaders and what it takes to become a CivicSpark partner!

Become a CivicSpark Fellow!

Priority application period closes March 15!. We are looking for candidates who want to gain real-world experience, launch a social purpose career, and make a lasting impact!

Apply now to be part of the movement!

Visit our Fellow page to learn more! Questions? Check our Fellow FAQ page or email

Now Accepting Proposals for SEEC 2020

Submit a Proposal for the 11th Annual SEEC Forum! Call for session & poster proposals (CFSP) are open from March 4th to March 27th. Session tracks this year include: Leading with Equity & Community Engagement; Energy Resilience; Integrated Planning to Action; and Decarbonization Pathways. Check out the forum website for additional guidance and submission forms!

Fellow Spotlight

Question of the Month“What drives your passion for sustainability work?”

Serena Pelka | San Diego
“For those engaged with environmental work, it is difficult not to feel paralyzed by the scale of the issue and to ever feel like you’re truly doing enough to make a difference. Knowing that there is no “one way” to solve this issue drives innovation in the field and reminds me that every effort counts. This is what fuels my dedication to sustainability work and pushes me to keep striving for more impactful, creative, and equitable climate action.” 

Gabriela Elliott | Sac Sierra
“The passion I have for sustainability is really my commitment to others and a belief that a better world is possible. I see how issues of poverty and oppression are connected to sustainability and it drives me to know that there are existing solutions that are actually attainable. I am also aware that these solutions are not usually implemented because of a lack of willpower. So, I am motivated to push towards making this world a reality, because I know that “Power concedes nothing without a demand.”

State Corner

Review and Comment Period for California Adaptation Planning Guide 2.0 is now live.

Second public review draft of the California Adaptation Planning Guide (APG) is now live for review and comment through March 31st. The APG supports local jurisdictions in addressing the unavoidable consequences of climate change. Cal OES is currently updating the APG to adequately reflect developments in the climate adaptation space and to further assist jurisdictions in creating and incorporating climate strategies specific to their region by:

Join the Cleantech Network on Empower Innovation

Launched by the California Energy Commission, Empower Innovation is a professional networking platform to help diverse communities and businesses identify funding and partnering opportunities to advance a clean energy future for all. If your community is interested in piloting new technology, reducing energy costs, or improving air and water quality, Empower Innovation is a good place to learn about solutions that can meet your needs. On Empower Innovation, local governments, clean technology developers and funders can communicate directly over shared interest, create mutually beneficial partnerships to respond to funding opportunities, and explore hundreds of curated resources and tools. Click here to sign up, create an organization profile, and join the growing cleantech network, with over 800 members and 300 organizations, today.

Upcoming Events

3CREN Regional Forums: Achieving Resilience in Wildfire Areas Through Energy Codes.
March 12, 2020| UC Santa Barbara

California has entered a new era of increased wildfire and power outage risks – but our homes and businesses still need to adapt to become more resilient. How can Central Coast buildings offer continued safety and power reliability in the face of these challenges? The event will explore the intersection between these phenomena, energy code and regional resilience – with a focus on designing, building, and operating more resilient and responsive buildings.

Panelists will highlight building trade actions in response to wildfires and Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS); best practices for building shell, HVAC, mechanical, electrical, and energy storage for a resilient home or business; and ways to encourage adoption of energy efficiency measures alongside fire-hardening and energy storage measures.Sign up and find out more about the forum here!

11th Annual Statewide Energy Efficiency Forum: Promising Solutions for a Clean Future
June 22-23, 2020| Sacramento, CA

SEEC Forum provides learning, sharing, and networking opportunities to help local governments save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their communities, and catalyze climate action.

This year’s theme, Promising Solutions for a Clean Energy Future, aims to highlight concrete strategies, case studies, tools, and resources to support local government agencies in responding to rapidly evolving trends while continuing to meet their communities’ energy needs. Session tracks have been organized to help share these stories and highlight promising solutions for equity and community engagement, energy resilience, integrated planning to action, and decarbonization pathways.

Sign up and find out more about the SEEC here!

2020 California Adaptation Forum:August 18 -20, 2020 | Riverside, CA

The biennial California Adaptation Forum gathers the adaptation community from across California and beyond to foster knowledge exchange, innovation, and mutual support to create resilient communities and tackle our state’s most pressing climate change challenges. The Forum offers a series of engaging plenaries, sessions, workshops, tours, networking opportunities, and more to support our transition from adaptation awareness and planning to action on the ground.

CivicSpark Fellows and Alumni can apply for volunteer opportunities! For more information regarding volunteer opportunities send an email to You will receive further instructions within the weeks following your inquiry. Find more about the California Adaptation Forum here!