Implementing Equity in Climate Action Planning: A Case Study of Austin, TX

Cities across the United States are implementing equity in their climate action plans. Celine Rendon and Phoebe Romero from the City of Austin Office of Sustainability will provide an overview of the steps the office took to implement equity in its climate plan revision—including developing a Community Climate Ambassadors Program—and facilitate a panel discussion with key community members who are helping to shape the plan. The panel will include, Susana Almanza, Founding Member and Director at PODER, Rodrigo Leal, Senior Consultant at Guidehouse and Sayuri Yamanaka, Community Engagement Manager at Sustainable Food Center + Community Climate Ambassador.

We will be reviewing the successes, challenges, and opportunities in the future of city climate action planning, see you there! Please register in advance.

About Our Panelists

Susana Almanza is a founding member and Director of PODER (People Organized in Defense of Earth and her Resources), a grassroots environmental, economic and social justice organization. Susana has overcome poverty, prejudice, and segregated schools to face down some of the world’s most powerful transnational corporations. She is a longtime community organizer, and educator, mother and grandmother. Susana participated in the civil rights movement as a Brown Beret taking up issues of police brutality, housing, quality education and equity in school systems and health care as a right not a privilege. Susana Almanza is a proven leader and nationally recognized environmental justice activist.

Rodrigo Leal is a Senior Consultant in the Energy, Sustainability, and Infrastructure Practice at Guidehouse, where he develops and implements sustainability and resilience initiatives in collaboration with government officials, non-profit organizations, and community members. He has also been involved in local community-based efforts to improve engagement and awareness around the issues facing low-income communities of color, including health inequities, access to parks and open spaces, flood mitigation, and displacement. Rodrigo is a first-generation graduate of Harvard University and a proud native of the Rio Grande Valley.

Sayuri Yamanaka was born in Mexico, flourishing her consulting career with binational organizations working with youth and teachers focus on climate change & ecocentric paradigm initiatives including earth systems, deep ecology, and biomimicry. She has a master's degree in Environmental Sciences of Tech de Monterrey, and she started here in Texas as a community organizer for Green Gate Farms! At the Sustainable Food Center Sayuri is in charge of managing and leading tactics to engage Central Texas families with Double Up Food Bucks promoting local seasonal food with culturally-appropriate strategies.  She is an active member of the language access team in Central Texas and the equity team at SFC.  Sayuri is part of the first cohort of Climate Ambassadors supported by the Office of Sustainability. Sayuri ‘s community engagement skills extend to designing community outreach models,  producing bilingual materials that address Food Access as well as lead social media communications campaigns for Spanish speakers.

Celine Rendon assists with the development, implementation, and coordination of various activities to promote, support and integrate community involvement into the climate plan revision process. Celine is a recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Environmental Science. She has worked and volunteered with PODER focusing on environmental, economic, health, and cultural impacts of land use and community development. During the summer of 2018, Celine was the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Fellow for the City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability, working towards the development of an equitable community resilience plan.

Phoebe Romero works on air quality and climate change planning with the City of Austin Office of Sustainability. She is currently focused on creating an equitable climate action plan that improves residents' quality of life while reducing environmental impact. She was formerly a Program Manager at CLEAResult, where she implemented utility energy efficiency programs for large commercial and institutional organizations across Texas. Prior to CLEAResult, she was an Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps Fellow tasked with evaluating energy and water conservation initiatives at Huston-Tillotson University. She has a BA in Political Science and Latin American studies from Brown University and a joint Professional Science Master's in Environmental Management and Sustainable Development from St. Edward’s University and Université catholique de l'Ouest.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

3:00 PM EST/12 PM PST

1 hr session

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