What We Do

INTRODUCTION

ECOS has been a powerful advocacy organization in the Sacramento region, working for over fifty years to curb sprawl and protect open space and habitat; and promote transit, walking, and biking. However, with the climate crisis escalating, we need to be even more effective in our advocacy. We need to persuade our local and regional leaders to take bold, difficult, and even unpopular steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

We need to make sure the public understands the consequence of poor land use decisions, and who is responsible; how wasteful land use planning and rising greenhouse gas emissions go hand-in-hand — that carbon is a symptom. The problem is land exploitation. We need to explain what and when is the “tipping point” in the climate crisis; and how important it is for the public to elect representatives who will act with urgency.

We need to collaborate with labor, landowners, and environmental justice leaders to exert influence before decisions are made about land parcels. By the time there are project documents to review, the development train has not only left the station, it is going fast down the track. Speaking of trains, many cities in Europe have a forty to sixty percent transit/bike/walk mode share, whereas in our region, the range is 3 to 11 percent depending on income level.  Money is scarce for transit expansion and we make slow progress on creating walkable communities while big-dollar highway widenings and expansions continue apace.   

We need to be more energetic in fund-raising to make ECOS’ and our partner organizations’ positions heard, and to support our office and staff. We also need funds to litigate when greenhouse gas emission reductions are not credible, verifiable, or happening fast enough either on plans or in reality; and when jurisdictions’ policies and procedures make sprawl inevitable.

ECOS has recently re-organized to reflect the increased importance of climate change, and the need to better coordinate our work on transportation and land use, green building and environmental justice; to better prioritize action and strategize effective methods both internally and with our partners; and to focus on water-related climate change impacts such as drought, reduced snow pack, and flooding risk. We hope these changes will strengthen ECOS, create a more synergistic approach to our work, and attract a new generation of enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and dedicated people – who are frustrated with the status quo, rightfully fearful about our future, and ready to get to work.