Convening a community-led climate initiative in Virginia
RESULTS AT A GLANCE
In 2018, the Fairfax County Environmental Quality Advisory Council (EQAC)—an advisory group appointed by the Board of Supervisors—proposed the creation of a community-led climate plan to establish how the county would meet its carbon reduction goals. The Board of Supervisors voted to support the development of the Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP) in 2019.
Typically, these types of plans are undertaken through a top-down approach. Recognizing that this plan would impact residents, businesses, and other county stakeholders, the Board of Supervisors wanted the community to be directly involved in determining the areas of focus.
In collaboration with county staff, we facilitated the Working Group which included members of local businesses, utilities, environmental groups, religious organizations, and social justice institutions. We also incorporated broader public input through surveys, meetings, and feedback sessions.
While our original plan called for a series of in-person meetings, we shifted to a virtual meeting environment due to COVID. We made use of online collaboration tools and virtual meeting environments to reach more people, effectively brainstorm, and share ideas.
We also built out a model to evaluate the potential GHG reduction of each strategy the Working Group considered for the plan. They identified various priorities and we showed them a working model of how well that action could be used to reduce GHG emissions.
We compiled our recommendations after achieving consensus from a wide variety of stakeholders. The Working Group collectively agreed on 12 strategies and 37 actions for the community to reduce GHG emissions in Fairfax County.
The sector-specific goals include goals specific to the building and energy efficiency sector, the energy supply sector, the transportation sector, the natural resources sector, and the waste sector.