Community Strategies for Sustainability and Justice: CSSJ Program Monthly Updates

Below is a list of meetings and events Community Strategies for Sustainability and Justice staff participated in. 

June 2014

Oakland Leaders Self-Care Training Builds Resilience in Communities Impacted by Climate Change
The Community Strategies Program co-hosted an Oakland Leaders Self-Care and Resiliency Training in June at the First Unitarian Church with the Oakland Climate Action Coalition, the Trauma Resources Center, the Resources Innovation Group, and the City of Oakland Emergency Services Department. The purpose of the two-day training was to build wellness and coping skills to deal with both chronic and acute stressors related to local climate change impacts, such as more frequent and intense storms, heat waves, wildfires and floods. Over 40 participants from diverse organizations and agencies serving vulnerable communities and populations in Oakland attended the training, including child and elder caregivers, emergency planners, community organizers, Spanish-speaking resident leaders, health care service providers, and first responders. The training activities emphasized how to practice mindfulness-based skills by applying them to everyday situations in order to strengthen one’s capacity to leverage them in the event of emergencies or disasters. The training is part of our ongoing work with the Oakland Climate Action Coalition to engage residents that stand to be most affected by local climate change impacts in Oakland in taking action to build both personal and community resilience to these impacts. For more information about our Resilient Roots Project, please contact Program Director Catalina Garzón at cgarzon (at)

Resilience Resource Fair in West Oakland Prepares Residents and Agencies for a More Resilient Future
On June 24, the Community Strategies Program co-hosted a Resilience Resource Fair in West Oakland with Urban BioFilter and the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project. The resource fair connected community residents with over a dozen agency, business, and nonprofit partners involved in preparing Oakland for a more resilient future in the face of climate change. Participating organizations included the Residential Recycling Program at California Waste Solutions, the Oakland Climate Action Coalition, and the Communities Organized in Response to Emergencies (CORE) Program at the City of Oakland. Fair-goers learned about actions they can take to build resilience at home and in their community through family-friendly activities such as an interactive mapping station, a Climate Change Survivor game, and campfire discussions.  A scavenger hunt to find green infrastructure features on the site included fish ponds that help convert wastewater into water for a vegetable garden, vegetative barriers that trap harmful air pollutants from a nearby freeway, and wild blackberry vines that can provide fresh food for urban foragers.  The resource fair is part of the “Adapt Oakland” project, a partnership between Urban BioFilter and the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project to develop an urban greening neighborhood plan for West Oakland focused on green infrastructure solutions that can help residents adapt to local climate change impacts. For more information, please contact Program Director Catalina Garzón at cgarzon (at)

Community Workshop on Taking Action to Improve Indoor and Outdoor Air Quality
Community Strategies Program Director Catalina Garzón co-facilitated a community workshop on May 20 on taking action to improve indoor and outdoor air quality with Araceli Tellez of the Alameda County Healthy Homes Program and Jose Lopez of Communities for a Better Environment. More than 20 participants attended the workshop, which was conducted in Spanish and included hands-on activities on how to make healthier home cleaning supplies as well as how to reduce idling from diesel trucks on neighborhood streets. The workshop kicked off a series of trainings in Alameda County co-sponsored by the Ditching Dirty Diesel Collaborative and Regional Asthma Management and Prevention to engage under-represented residents in transportation and land use planning. For more information please contact Program Director Catalina Garzón at cgarzon (at)

March 2014

CSSJ Climate Change Resilience Partnership Showcased at Rockefeller Resilient Cities Initiative Kick-off in San Francisco
In December 2013, the City of Oakland was announced as a recipient of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Resilient Cities Initiative award. Oakland is among 33 cities around the world selected for this award, which will provide resources to create municipal Resilience Officer positions to spearhead comprehensive resilience planning efforts in grantee cities. The Pacific Institute co-chairs the Resilience and Adaptation Committee of the Oakland Climate Action Coalition (OCAC), which worked with City of Oakland staff on the city’s successful application to the Resilient Cities Initiative program to ensure that engagement of communities which stand to be most impacted by climate change in Oakland was prioritized as a key goal. Program Director Catalina Garzon co-presented with City of Oakland staff Margaretta Lin and Renee Domingo at the Bay Area Resilient Cities Initiative Kick-off event on March 17 and 18 at the Golden Gate Club in San Francisco. Garzon shared findings from the Pacific Institute’s 2012 study with the Oakland Climate Action Coalition on local climate change impacts and adaptation options to address these impacts. She also co-facilitated a breakout discussion with Renee Domingo, Director of the City of Oakland’s Emergency Services Department, to inform the development of a multi-stakeholder resilience planning process in Oakland. The kick-off event was attended by over 100 city staff, funders, resource organizations and community stakeholders from Bay Area grantee cities Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco. 

East Contra Costa County Parents Take on Zoning, Pollution and Food Justice
The Contra Costa County First 5 East County Regional Group members gathered in February as part of the series program called “East County Planning School.” Participants learned about how land use and transportation shapes community exposure to pollution and to learn basic planning concepts. Through mapping and role play activities participants learned about zoning, its history and the power dynamics involved in zoning decisions that impact their community. Participants also learned about pollution and how it can affect adult health and child development. Food justice was the topic during the March session that offered participants the space to talk about food access in their community. To enrich this discussion Doria Robinson from Urban Tilth graciously spoke to participants on how land use planning, redlining, and zoning decisions affect food access and produce social inequity. Participants then discussed what food justice would mean in their community and strategic solutions that can make that a reality.  Popular Education Associate Jessica Parra-Fitch co-facilitated these two sessions in partnership with First 5 Contra Costa, Contra Costa Health Services and Regional Asthma Management Prevention program.