Irvine and Los Angeles each win $1M Cool Cities Grant

  • Posted on 27 October 2021
  • By mgoodwin
Thanks to hundreds of people who have signed up as Cool Block captains, the cities of Irvine and Los Angeles are about to get a whole lot cooler. 
The Cities of Los Angeles and Irvine have been chosen as two of three CA cities to participate in the Cool City Challenge to create a climate moonshot strategy — an ambitious, exploratory, and ground-breaking approach to reach communitywide, inclusive sustainability. 
Both Cities partnered with over 25 community organizations and registered more than 200 volunteers each, including many Sierra Club folks, who are interested and committed to local climate action. Cool Block teams will meet, discuss, and implement sustainability concepts on topics related to energy efficiency, water conservation, emergency preparedness, social justice, and more.
Irvine Cool Block leaders are meeting on Nov 2nd to plan next steps. Irvine recruited leaders through the commitment of many Home Owners Associations and plans to use its grant money to staff up the sustainability department at the city. 
The Los Angeles Climate Emergency Mobilization Office partnered with the Neighborhood Council Sustainability Alliance and many other groups including the Sierra Club. The LA City Council even passed a motion requesting that every Neighborhood Council name two Cool Block leaders. Angelenos can still sign up to join and learn more.
The effort includes hyper-local climate mitigation through a program of energy efficiency, water conservation, emergency preparedness, and community empowerment. Piloted by LA in 2016-2017 across more than 20 neighborhoods, Cool Blocks also reduces utility bills. Joining LA in the winner’s spotlight were Irvine and Petaluma. The awards are a result of a rigorous, months-long application process involving over 40 California cities.
California Governor, Gavin Newsom, described the Cool City Challenge as “an exemplary how-to guide for local communities to make a significant impact on climate change.” He added, “It demonstrates the untapped potential of citizens to engage in an effective and achievable way.”
“I’m so impressed with the City’s commitment to climate solutions and response to this call to action,” said Irvine Mayor Farrah N. Khan. “Without the support of Irvine residents, we would not have exceeded our goal of 200 volunteers and been awarded this competitive grant. This community support, coupled with our work to develop a comprehensive Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, gives the City of Irvine a strong lead in the fight against climate change. I can’t wait to see what our community does next to help reach our carbon neutrality by 2030 goal.”
"We see an opportunity to organize ourselves at the most local level, train leaders, and build the broad-based movement we need to achieve carbon neutrality," says Angeles Chapter Director Morgan Goodwin. "It's so exciting to knock on the doors of your neighbors and invite them to join in something meaningful."
"I am excited to be partnering with Irvine's Cool Block Program that builds community and empowers residents to join with their neighbors to learn and implement choices for more sustainable lifestyles.  We look forward to joining with Cool Blocks in Los Angeles and Petaluma to show how individual lifestyle choices to reduce carbon emissions can reduce our carbon footprint at the individual household level, at the block or neighborhood level and at the city level," said Margo Finlayson Angeles Chapter Political Committee and Orange County Group member. "If you have any doubts that an individual or family can make an impact on climate change, I encourage you to check out the Cool Block Program."
The Cool City Challenge builds on decades of innovative behavior and social change work by David Gershon, CEO of Empowerment Institute, author of “Social Change 2.0: A Blueprint for Reinventing Our World,” and creator of the CCC.
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