Tatum Becker, El Camino High School (ECHS); Joe Yahner, Environmental Services Supervisor City of Ventura; Zayan Reza, ECHS; Sophie Nguyen ECHS; Ventura City Councilmember Cheryl Heitmann; Summeya Islam,ECHS; Olivia Loorz,ECHS and Sierra Manske,ECHS.
by Karen Helen Szatkowski
Recently six young women from El Camino High School presented to the Ventura City Council what was a less than congratulatory report card on the city’s efforts to combat climate change. The report card is the result of iMatterYouth and their consultation with some of the most knowledgeable people and organizations on information that is science based and publicly available . The range of such consultation is broad and deep, from local governments for Sustainability USA to Natural Capitalism Solutions. The kid’shave been committed to covering all of the bases.
IMatter is now a national organization and the founder, Alec Loorz, is a young man raised and educated in Ventura: “I worked with a group of about 50 of my fellow middle schoolers to design and install poles along the beach and we met with the City of Ventura to get their cooperation. The poles are still up today, five years later, and have helped the City Council to include sea level rise in their planning. Now there are poles in several other cities as well, and one of the original poles can be seen at the Museum of Natural History in NYC.”
An A-F grading system evaluates Ventura’s action (or inaction) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to levels needed to end the climate crisis. These are their grades.
Zero Emissions: Climate Action Plan: Measures when the city’s Climate Action Plan gets to net zero human emissions D-
Renewable Energy: Measures when the percent of renewables used to generate a city’s electricity is more than the national average, and the percentage is rising. A+
Waste: Measures when the amount of waste per person is decreasing and the percent of that waste that is recycled or composted is increasing. B-
Carbon Removal: Measures when there is some kind of a program that will result in more carbon being removed from the atmosphere. F
Youth Involvement: A bonus area that rewards a half grade for having youth involved in advising on or setting climate change related policies and plans. None
Ventura’s overall grade is a C- which means a lot needs to be done to bring the city’s efforts on our carbon footprint to a more effective standpoint. The fact that the City Council made time to listen intently to the presentation shows the seriousness they assign to the efforts of the young activists. Many Councilmembers expressed their appreciation for the professional presentation and the kid’s commitment to the wellbeing of Ventura. For more information on IMatter, contact Larry Kraft, Executive Director, larry@iMatterYouth.org