What We Do

COMMITTEES

CLIMATE CHANGE

This new committee will make climate change a primary focus for ECOS advocacy, and a pivot point for its land use, transportation, green building, and environmental justice teams. This interdisciplinary group will meet monthly to discuss issues and plan advocacy related to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction. Teams may meet more frequently to conduct their work as part of the plan.

Three approaches will be embraced:  

GET IN EARLY – to influence landowners, developers, and elected officials, before a project is formed and an application for review is submitted to the jurisdiction.

FACILITATE COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION FLOW — to be a bridge between staff, executive staff, and elected officials to ensure decision makers fully understand policy implications; to highlight differences in policies among candidates running for office.

BRING IN NEW VOICES – to bring experts, academics and practitioners from elsewhere to share with elected officials their methods for handling problems similar to those we face.

The Climate Change Committee and its teams will advocate for the City and County to meet their commitment to carbon neutrality by 2030, and for all jurisdictions in the region to take actions that until now were inconceivable, such as financial incentives to allow households to go all-electric and ordinances to give certainty to businesses and investors. This committee and its teams will advocate for consistency across jurisdictions in inventorying emissions, setting targets, evaluating climate action methods, verifying GHG reductions, and meeting climate change related laws, regulations and guidelines.

The transportation sector is responsible for forty to sixty percent of GHG emissions in the Sacramento region. Areas of focus for the Transportation Team are the expansion and filling-in of the transit network so that transit becomes convenient to more people; the retrofit of streets to prioritize walking and biking; battling against highway expansions and low density development that produces lots of car trips; the equitable distribution of electric vehicle charging stations; and mitigation of poor air quality in residential areas near industrial sites.

Development patterns have a huge impact on GHG emissions production, so the Land Use Team will advocate for the use of planning tools to achieve more dense development around transit and to keep open areas open. The tools include upzoning, eliminating parking minimums, establishing parking benefit districts, and transferring development rights, among other things. The Land Use Team will focus on infill projects near existing community assets; walkable neighborhoods with connected streets, pedestrian paths and bicycle routes; inclusionary zoning for affordable units in all new developments; regionally responsible planning that retains existing habitat, agriculture, and ranchlands.

The building sector is responsible for about forty percent of the emissions in the County and City of Sacramento. The Green Building Team will advocate not only for electrification of buildings but for advanced sustainability standards for materials, construction, and operations to be incorporated into California building codes and jurisdictions’ ordinances. It will bring creative solutions to the difficult problem of converting the existing building stock from gas to electric.

The Environmental Justice Team will bring together experts in housing equity and the effects of institutional racism in planning. It will advise on advocacy and outreach strategies; help to ensure vigorous and effective public participation in Sacramento area jurisdictions’ planning; participate in the anti-displacement activities of Sacramento Investment Without Displacement (SIWD) in the Aggie Square community benefits agreement (CBA) and other future CBAs. This team will also address homelessness, food security, and public health issues as well. It will engage young people and, with the Organizational Development, start ECOS YOUTH for the next generation of ECOS leaders.

The Climate Change Committee invites people willing to put their minds and their energy to the issues above. 

HABITAT

Preserving our Natural and Agricultural Legacy

The ECOS Habitat Committee is Habitat 2020, a coalition that works to protect the lands, waters, wildlife and native plants in the Sacramento region. The great Central Valley of California has been identified by the World Wildlife Fund as one of North America’s most endangered eco-regions. Preserving its remaining open space and agricultural land is essential for sustaining native plants and wildlife and ensuring a high quality of life for ourselves and future generations. 

The Habitat Committee has one subcommittee, Habitat Acquisition and Protection.  Water was also a subcommittee until recently when it became its own ECOS committee. 

The California Heartland Project is a comprehensive conservation plan for the Sacramento region. Habitat 2020 developed it in response to the neglect that the many natural treasures of the Sacramento Valley have received. More information.

WATER

The Water Committee focuses on water-related climate change impacts such as drought, reduced snowpack, and flooding risk; changing capacity in surface and ground water; water conservation; protection of floodways and water habitats; protection of groundwater basins from development and general over usage of water supplies. The Committee will push for improved forecasting of water supply and demand, and for the long-term adequacy of water supply to be a key threshold for the approval of future large-scale development projects.

The Water Forum Update
Groundwater Sustainability Plans
Monthly analysis of water purveyor usage as collected by State of CA (to be linked)

ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

The Organizational Development Committee (ODC) is focused on membership recruitment, leadership development, and succession planning.  ODC offers orientation sessions to introduce new members to our work and to learn about members’ interests and talents. The Committee seeks enthusiastic, knowledgeable, experienced (and inexperienced!) people who are willing to work in the areas of events, fundraising, policy analysis, communications, and administrative support. Is there a “Greta” in town who is looking for a place to concentrate their efforts? Through the ODC, a new ECOS YOUTH will be established to help create the next generation of ECOS leaders.

In addition, ODC participates in overseeing ECOS’ advocacy activities, office space, staff responsibilities; and with the ECOS treasurer, the budget.  ODC also handles fundraising and events including: 

  • The end-of-year letter describing ECOS’ accomplishments
  • Big Day of Giving campaign through the SacRegion Community Fdn
  • Sacramento Earth Day at Southside Park
  • Environmentalist of the Year awards
  • Field trips

STRATEGY

The new Strategy Committee has two primary goals: to help ECOS to evolve into a more effective advocacy organization, and to benefit the Sacramento region through the advancement of a few critical issues for 2022 through a united advocacy front of ECOS and its partner organizations. The Strategy Committee is a deliberative group that makes recommendations to the ECOS Executive Committee for its approval. When a recommendation is approved, the day-to-day work and decisions of ECOS committees will reflect it.

The external focus of the committee will be regional issues, identification of priorities and goals, and establishment of strategies for action. Through collaboration with partner organizations, with power in numbers, and pooling our resources, we will ideally implement the strategies on a few issues of regional importance.

The internal focus of the committee will be to build a deeper bench within ECOS in the areas of climate change, land use, transportation, green building, environmental justice, environmental science and law, and in the organizational development areas of events, fund raising, communications, and administration.

For both areas of focus, we will discuss with each ECOS committee its priorities and suggested strategies for action. We will reach out to ECOS member organizations, individual ECOS members, our partner organizations, professional groups, and others for their input.