Reversing the Threat of the Climate Crisis

By Giving List Staff   |   November 26, 2022

Our climate is in crisis. Record-setting heat waves. Larger and more destructive wildfires. An historic megadrought, hotter and drier than anything we’ve seen in nearly 1,000 years.

Santa Barbara’s Community Environmental Council (CEC) has long seen this coming and began organizing years ago. Now, the CEC is implementing a vision for the future of Central California and has developed an ambitious plan to combat the crisis, which they’ve broken down into three key components.

Reverse:  Pushing for ambitious, zero carbon emissions and ensuring that the Central Coast has the tools to reach them. 

Repair: Tapping the power of regenerative agriculture and nature-based solutions to remove excess carbon from the atmosphere. 

Protect: Deploying bold community-led actions to protect vulnerable populations facing drastic climate change.

“Since the beginning of 2021, we have been working to implement a very ambitious strategic plan around climate change,” says Sigrid Wright, CEC’s CEO. “It calls for us to double down and do twice as much twice as fast.”

Because our region has a vital agricultural economy, a key component of CEC’s vision is ensuring that this important sector’s major players – farms, ranches, orchards, and vineyards – are part of the effort. 

“They are on the front lines of climate change and must be part of the solution,” Wright explains. 

Whether it’s bringing the agricultural sector on board with carbon sequestering initiatives that could eliminate 100 percent of the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions or helping to implement strategies to improve the soil’s capacity to retain water, CEC and its Central Coast partners are making specific and measurable advances in fighting climate change.

CEC has also helped mobilize inclusive community campaigns – through partnerships in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties – to rapidly replace destructive fossil fuels with renewable green technologies that resist extreme heat, wildfires, and other natural disasters. Additionally, CEC is the only nonprofit on the Central Coast partnering with the University of California’s Climate Stewards program to deliver a 40-hour certification course to train environmental leaders from every walk of life in every community.

“Through our Climate Stewards program, and all of the strategies we are deploying, we are working to bring local practices to scale, so that the work to protect our region from climate change can have an even bigger impact,” says Kathi King, Montecito resident and CEC Director of Climate Education and Leadership. “We must do everything we can to address the problem now. By working together, we can address the climate crisis with solutions that preserve our region for generations to come.”


Community Environmental Council

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(805) 963-0583
CEO: Sigrid Wright


The Community Environmental Council (CEC) advances rapid and equitable solutions to the climate crisis – including ambitious zero carbon goals, drawdown of excess carbon, and protection against the impacts of climate change. CEC was recognized as a 2020 California Nonprofit of the Year and a City of Santa Barbara Climate Hero and is led by CEO Sigrid Wright who was recently named 2022 Congressional Woman of the Year. CEC has worked since 1970 to incubate and innovate real-life environmental solutions that directly affect the California Central Coast. Our programs lead to clean vehicles, solar energy, resilient food systems, and reduction of single-use plastic.

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Clear Thinking on Climate Change

CEC helped me understand the basics and the complexities of climate change, and how to take steps in my life to make positive changes. I also gained a deeper understanding of how to strategically bring environmental sustainability into my work to help clients be successful.
Lisa Murphy Rivas
Principal, LMR Consulting, Inc.
Alumna, CEC’s UC Climate Stewards

Teaching Teens to be Climate Stewards for a Better Future for All

Community Environmental Council (CEC) piloted their Climate Stewards certification program for teens as a one-day-only workshop in the fall of 2023. The nonprofit is now raising funds to support the development and implementation of the Youth Climate program to launch more fully in 2024. 

Every donation, no matter the amount, is critical toward CEC’s mission to ensure a sustainable and resilient future for California’s Central Coast through such local-led initiatives that advance rapid and equitable solutions to the climate crisis, while also fostering greater community connections. 

Key Supporters

Anonymous in honor
of Karl Hutterer
Mary Becker
Leslie Sweem Bhutani
& Ashish Bhutani in honor
of Pat & Derrell Sweem
Diane Boss
James S. Bower Foundation
Patricia and Paul Bragg
Sheila & Tom Cullen
Emily, Dan, Casey
& Willow Engel
G. A. Fowler Family
Dorothy Largay
& Wayne Rosing
John C. Mithun
Mithun Family Foundation
Charles & Betsy Newman
Natalie Orfalea
Hutton Parker Foundation
Michel Saint-Sulpice
Judy Stapelmann
Suzanne & John Steed
Elizabeth Weber
Yardi Systems
Zegar Family Foundation