Think Neighborhood Watch meets climate change. Imagine channeling all the NextDoor noise into a productive, practical effort to address climate change. That’s the idea behind Cool Block, a program founded by David Gershon that employs the proven neighbor-to-neighbor model to activate neighborhoods, block by block, to make their neighborhoods more sustainable and more resilient to climate change…and it’s coming to LA neighborhoods thanks to the efforts of a group of neighborhood council leaders.
Cool Blocks LA is a project of the Neighborhood Council Sustainability Alliance, in partnership with the Climate Emergency Mobilization Office at the Los Angeles Department of Public Works, to engage neighborhoods all over the city to reach the city’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2030.
Cool Blocks LA uses a proven neighbor-to-neighbor model that has helped thousands of people make their neighborhoods safer and healthier, prepare for disasters, save money, and lighten their environmental impact, explained Lisa Hart, an organizer for the Neighborhood Council Sustainability Alliance. Hart is trying to spread the word to get neighborhood leaders all over the city to sign up and be part of the program.
“The program works really well because it’s so local, it’s the person next door that you see all the time,” explained Hart. “It’s so simple. It starts with a small group, meeting on a regular basis to learn about reducing your block’s carbon footprint, preparing for disasters, and improving the quality of life in your neighborhood.”
Cool Blocks LA is a free, five-month, nine-meeting, action-based program that is self-directed by a team of five to eight households on your block (defined as both sides of the street up to the corners, a cul-de-sac, or an apartment building) so it meets the needs and interests of the people involved. Meetings can be hosted in person or via Zoom approximately every two weeks with the support of a step-by-step guide.
Each 90-minute to two-hour meeting focuses on a distinct topic connected to adopting water stewardship practices. The program is designed to provide every Cool Block Leader with training, coaching, and support from the Neighborhood Council Sustainability Alliance, explained Hart. The time required is approximately two to three hours a week for five months.
Hart is hoping to build a cohort of 200 leaders to get started in January 2022. Her efforts are patterned after a successful pilot done in 2016-2017. The City is hoping that programs like Cool Blocks LA can engage citizens to help the city achieve its goal of carbon neutrality without offsets in Los Angeles by 2030.
“We are excited to have the support of the City Department of Sanitation, we can help neighborhoods plant trees, create more green space in neighborhood, etc.” Hart told the Buzz.
“We know we can reduce our carbon footprint and we can learn from each other in the process of doing so,” said Hart.
If you’re interested in volunteering to be a Cool Blocks LA leader, visit the Neighborhood Council Sustainability Alliance website for more information, or contact Hart at [email protected]
And, let us know if you do — we’d love to follow your efforts!