Editor’s note: Thank you to NJ Mvondo and Robin Datel, Yolo County Climate Action Commissioners, for collaborating on this article and working with Cool Davis towards a climate resilient region where everyone has equitable access to resources for sustainable, healthy lives.

As members of the Yolo County Climate Action and Adaptation Commission we stand together with Cool Davis and the entire community because we know that we have more power to address climate change collectively than alone. We encourage everyone across the county to engage in climate action and mitigation at your household level but also via your businesses, community organizations, and government entities. Working with diverse others can give rise to creative solutions with widespread support.

Just as our life journeys have provided us with different approaches to problem solving and different environmental perspectives — experiences and practices that have enriched the work of the Commission — your voice and contribution are central for our community to thrive, and for our environment to be the healthiest in the nation.

Yolo County a more ambitious Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) goal than the State: carbon negative by 2030. We can achieve this goal if we all work together!

Please engage with and support Cool Davis and make sure to subscribe to the Yolo County Sustainability newsletter for CAAP updates and check @yolosustainability on Facebook and Instagram. (Resource links at the end.)

Together we envision a future that belongs to everyone.

Acting now will reduce damage and costs later

Numerous studies show that investing in climate mitigation now will reduce damage and costs in the long run. There are also pocketbook benefits to climate mitigation, for example, weatherization and switching from traditional HVAC systems to heat pumps saves on energy bills. Dietary changes and switching to more active forms of transportation can be good for our personal health and the health of our bank accounts, as well as the planet’s health. In short, scientists and planners recognize that there are many co-benefits to reducing greenhouse gases and shrinking our carbon footprint.

Scientists say that even a tenth of a degree Celsius of avoided temperature rise is significant in saving ecosystems and species. Keeping temperatures low is also significant in protecting the systems that humans have built to enable us to thrive: agriculture, infrastructure, and health care.

Yolo County Climate Action and Adaptation Plan

The Yolo County Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) was initiated by the Yolo Climate Emergency Coalition, a grassroots community group, which successfully urged the Board of Supervisors in 2019-20 to acknowledge a climate emergency and take immediate action (Resolution 20-114). The resolution clearly stated Yolo County’s dedication “to an inclusive plan development and implementation process that involves and empowers all stakeholders, including historically marginalized and disproportionately affected communities.”

We are still in a state of climate emergency. Into the foreseeable future, we are set to deal with recurring extreme weather events (storms, floods, heat waves, high winds, and wildfires). Our health and well-being and that of our loved ones will continue to be affected. Acting now will have more impact and cost us less than acting later.

To that effect, the Yolo County Climate Action Commission was created to guide the development of the climate plan through a community-driven process. Members of the Commission come from all five districts and a wide spectrum of socioeconomic and academic backgrounds, and we have farm, tribal, and student representatives.

With the support of county personnel and the Board of Supervisors, the Commission took a pioneering step by establishing an Equity and Engagement Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to enhance its outreach initiatives. Five Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) were granted funding to assist various communities throughout the county in participating in climate planning. Cool Davis is among these organizations.

Recognizing the significance of agriculture in Yolo County, a second TAC focusing on Natural and Working Lands was also formed to gather insights from that sector.

Yolo County Sustainabilty Manager Kristen Wraithwall presented on the outreach to date for the CAAP process at the most recent Yolo County Supervisors meeting this past Tuesday, April 9, 2024. Courtesy photo.

Plan to prioritize vulnerable populations

At the time of this writing, a total of sixty-two tabling events, presentations at community gatherings, or workshops have been conducted, with more scheduled for the upcoming spring and summer following the imminent release of the draft plan. Past events have been held in Woodland, West Sacramento, Winters, Esparto, Capay, Dunnigan, Yolo, Clarksburg, and Davis. Two upcoming summer workshops will be held in Esparto, and one in Knights Landing will conducted in Spanish.

These efforts are intended to prioritize County actions that will benefit those who are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. These include people in the path of climate-driven disasters due to where they live or what jobs they hold, people already experiencing insecurity of income, housing, food, health care, etc. (including but not limited to our seniors and students), and undocumented immigrants. Also of concern are small businesses and people whose jobs may be threatened by changes in our economy and technology we must make in order to fight climate change.

Feedback obtained from surveys and workshops has been incorporated into the plan’s strategies, actions, and measures. These are organized under the headings of transportation, buildings, water, solid waste, off-road vehicles, agriculture, natural and working lands, consumption and production reduction, and resilient infrastructure/healthy communities.

Yolo County Sustainabilty Manager Kristen Wraithwall presented on the strategy framework for the CAAP process at the most recent Yolo County Supervisors meeting this past Tuesday, April 9, 2024. Courtesy photo.

Standing together

Collaboration is crucial for effectively and efficiently addressing climate change. Yolo County Sustainability staff members hold regular meetings with relevant staff from each of the county’s incorporated cities, which is essential to ensure effective implementation of specific action items. For instance, Yolo County and its four cities are coordinating their efforts to ensure an efficient and fair distribution of public charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) throughout the county.

Coordination is required and also in progress between Yolo County and many other entities such as the Yolo County Office of Education, the Yolo County Transportation Authority, the Yolo County Housing Authority, the Yolo County Central Landfill, Valley Clean Energy, PG&E, the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, and the Sacramento Area Council of Governments.

Furthermore, funding for many projects in the climate plan — sourced from other government agencies — will benefit from this collaboration. Yolo County has already achieved success in grant applications by collaborating with different grantors. It is widely understood within our local government that all offices and divisions must unite in the fight against climate change. While the county’s Sustainability team leads the coordination of the plan, the effort is further elevated by the interest and support of the Green Team, which is made up of county staff from the departments under the Board of Supervisors’ authority.

The county also recognizes the expertise and experience of community organizations like Cool Davis in developing resources and programming. Leveraging these existing resources eliminates the need to start from scratch and allows the county to benefit from their knowledge as the plan is executed.

Ambitious goal means we must unite

The CAAP’s proposed actions aim to make Yolo County carbon negative by 2030. This entails a significant decrease in carbon emissions and an increase in carbon sequestration on natural and working lands. This goal surpasses the State of California’s target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

It is imperative that we unite, educate ourselves, and take action against climate change while promoting resilience on all levels, both individually and collectively to achieve this ambitious goal.

Join the movement: succeeding is only possible if we all work together!


Yolo County Climate Crisis and Inclusive Mobilization Resolution (October 13, 2020)

Most current presentation on Yolo Co CAAP

Yolo County Climate Action and Sustainability Program web page

Yolo County Climate Action and Sustainability Program newsletter sign up


Yolo County Climate Action Commissioners NJ Mvondo and Robin Datel standing together at the Davis Farmer’s Market and the Farmboy Organics stand hailing from Winters, CA, Saturday April 6, 2024. Photo credit Ash Knudsen.