Ch-Ch-Changes: What’s Coming Up at ClimatePlan in 2016

January 19, 2016
By Carey Knecht, Director

(We couldn’t help the David Bowie tribute headline. A pleasant earworm, we hope.)

ClimatePlan has some exciting news for 2016 about our people and our priorities. Please join us in welcoming our new staff!

ClimatePlan People


New Associate Director

We are delighted to announce that our new Associate Director will be Chanell Fletcher.

Chanell brings extensive relevant experience — she was previously at ClimatePlan for five years, most recently as Policy and Engagement Manager, before leaving last year to join the Safe Routes to School National Partnership as their Senior California Policy Manager. There, she has led state campaigns to increase transportation funding for active transportation.

Chanell brings both a wealth of institutional knowledge and fresh new energy and ideas. Welcome back, Chanell!

Chanell’s first day will be next Monday, and she will be based in our Oakland office.

Christopher_Escarcega_photo_webNew Program Associate

We’re also very pleased to welcome our new Program Associate, Christopher Escárcega. Christopher was most recently the Executive Assistant and Board Liaison for our partner and fiscal sponsor, TransForm, and will be based in our Sacramento office. He’s already begun improving our database and email system (phew) and planning our March meeting. Thanks, Christopher!

We’ve had to bid farewell to Jackie Cole, who is going back to school full time to finish her sociology degree. Best of luck, Jackie!

These experienced folks will help ClimatePlan hit the ground running in 2016.

Director on Leave

This is a good thing, because if you haven’t heard — I will be out for a while on parental leave, as I welcome someone new myself!

My leave starts next month; I’ll return in August.

I am glad to be able to leave the organization in these capable hands, as well as those of our consultants, Elizabeth Stampe, Odin Zackman, and Julie Snyder — and of course our all-star Steering and Executive Committees as well as our entire network of partners.

And what will all these talented folks be doing? So glad you asked!

ClimatePlan Priorities for 2016

After an excellent planning retreat in December, we’ve already leapt into action:

Promoting sustainable, equitable transportation funding

ClimatePlan and partners will continue our advocacy to shift the state’s transportation funding to support sustainable communities and underserved communities, and away from projects that damage public health, natural landscapes, and working farms. Full house

We held a very well-attended legislative briefing last Thursday with an excellent line-up of experts from partner organizations. This helped decision-makers understand how they can make transportation funds more effective at meeting the state’s goals around climate as well as health and equity.

We’re looking forward to following up on that as the state decides on priorities for the budget and the transportation improvement program (STIP) this spring.

Supporting sustainable communities across the state

We are working to support stronger state targets for greenhouse gases, and to ensure that Sustainable Communities Strategies reflect cutting-edge strategies to benefit local communities. Much has changed since 2010 – from new sources of transportation and sustainable communities funding, to the emergence of car- and bike-sharing – and the targets should reflect this.

We’re also aiming to make the target-setting process support disadvantaged communities, using Governor Brown’s recent directive that the state EPA analyze the benefits and impacts on these communities.

We’re continuing to support our regional partners in their advocacy for the creation and implementation of strong Sustainable Communities Strategies, especially in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. There’s exciting work going on in both regions, as we’ve seen recently in the Sacramento region as well.

Tackling displacement and rural issues

At our recent retreat, partners identified important priorities for the work this year. Some of these, above, continued the work ClimatePlan is known for. New and timely topics came up as well, including new team efforts to promote investment in rural areas and prevent displacement. These two issues have emerged as areas where significant work is needed if investment in sustainable communities is to benefit all California’s people, as well as the lands we depend on.  

Many thanks to our team leaders!

Strengthening the movement

And of course we will continue our network support for all our partners, bringing powerful advocates together from all over the state to share strategies, wisdom, and encouragement.

This year we’re particularly focusing on strengthening ClimatePlan’s ability to serve as an ally to equity partners and campaigns.

We are starting this year with great energy and excitement. I’m sorry to miss part of it, but I won’t be far — and I’m looking forward to returning in August to see all that ClimatePlan and its partners have achieved.

Happy new year, everyone! Look out, you rock and rollers.

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