Campus, News

CSULB’s 2018 Resilience Charrette sets the bar for change

In cities like Long Beach that are shrouded by smog and pollution — more can always be done to increase climate resilience; the ability to adapt to a changing environment.

The four priorities in the city are upgrading the electrical grid, increasing community activism, greenery and electrified transportation. For Cal State Long Beach, there are also goals of increasing campus student housing and online class options to reduce car emissions.

During a recent assembly, Energy and Sustainability Manager Paul Wingco discussed climate change and how it impacts campus life.

As reported by the Daily 49er last year, mold was found in books in the university during the fall semester. According to Wingco, the mold developed due to extreme heat and humidity entering the building. The resulting cleanup cost about $250,000. Not long afterward, the university had to pay maintenance fees again.

Last winter semester, heavy rains led to the flooding of Belmont Shore. Coastal flooding due to extreme precipitation is one of the elements of climate change. Wingco said the water flowed into some of the university’s buildings and affected both indoor and outdoor activity.

“We had to close the campus and one of those storm events did result in significant property damage,” Wingco said.

To combat these climate-based issues, the university has developed carbon and resilience commitments, which are listed on the university’s website. The carbon commitment was established in 2011, and resilience, in 2016.

The City of Long Beach’s 2018 Sustainable City Action Plan has different set of goals and ways of tackling issues.

To reduce car emissions, one of the upcoming program management projects from the city under the plan is to donate electric vehicle chargers to qualified residents to give them more of an incentive to use alternative fuel.

The university shares the goal of lowering greenhouse gas emissions, but the campus is trying to alleviate the issue by adding more blue Bike Share racks on campus in an effort to persuade students to take a more sustainable mode of transportation.

Although the city is providing environmentally responsible resources, Jan Victor Andansan, a representative for East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice is unconvinced that the efforts will apply to the whole city.

Andansan’s organization works to give a voice to local communities suffering from environmental issues that are not otherwise heard.

He stressed that there’s an apparent inequity between the resources available in west Long Beach compared to the east side, where CSULB is located.

“The university can do all this resilience stuff but then if they don’t engage with the actual local community and not just the local community of east Long Beach, but all the way up to where the refineries are, they’re going to have very little effects,” Andansan said.

Rather than the campus and city continuing to pursue separate climate resilience goals, campus, community and city stakeholders met on March 2 to develop the four previously mentioned resilience goals.

About 50 people involved with environmental protection, including Wingco, assembled in the university’s Anatol Center for the 2018 Resilience Charrette.

The charrette was hosted by the Office of Sustainability and Center for Community Engagement. It was spearheaded by resilience commitment coordinator Lily House-Peters, and centered around how rising sea levels, extreme heat, worsening air pollution and water scarcity are presently impacting the city.

According to Holli Fajack, university sustainability coordinator, this was the first time the university held a resilience charrette and if there’s the opportunity to hold another in the future, improvements will be made.

Emily Yam, science interpretation supervisor for the Aquarium of the Pacific, said that the charrette is a good start for developing a plan of action.

“We have the seeds of what it takes to become resilient,” Yam said. “We just need to think about how to get those seeds planted and growing.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Daily 49er newsletter