The City of Irvine has been selected for a 2023 Beacon Leadership & Innovation Award by the Institute for Local Government for the Cool Irvine program. It also received a Platinum Level “Spotlight” Award for efforts to reduce natural gas use as an agency by 38% over the past year.
The Beacon Program provides recognition and support for California local agencies working to build more vibrant and sustainable communities. Beacon honors voluntary efforts by cities, counties, and special districts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save energy, and adopt policies that promote sustainability.
The Cool Irvine program meets that criteria by empowering residents to take climate action through neighborhood education on environmental issues. Cool Block teams meet, discuss, and implement sustainability concepts on topics related to energy efficiency, water conservation, emergency preparedness, social justice, and more.
In just over a year, 210 registered households in the Cool Irvine program completed 1,734 sustainability actions and pledged to achieve 2,457 more. In total, more than 727,000 pounds of carbon dioxide were reduced as a result of these actions. Beyond that, the Cool Irvine program has also encouraged stronger community relationships between neighbors.
Residents involved in the program have not only been empowered to act against climate change, but they have also prepared disaster plans for their blocks and developed bonds and friendships among their neighbors. Outside of program activities, Cool Irvine participants have continued to come together at block parties and to provide mutual aid, resulting in a more resilient community in the face of challenges.
“Part of what makes Cool Irvine so special is that it is a grassroots effort paving the way for a cleaner, healthier, and more vibrant city,” said Mayor Farrah N. Khan. “I am proud of what we have achieved together. This prestigious recognition belongs to everyone in the Cool Irvine program who has worked hard to further our commitment to a sustainable and carbon neutral future.”
The Cool Irvine program is just one way Irvine is working to become a more sustainable community. The City is actively developing its first Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP), which sets ambitious but achievable emissions reduction targets for the City and lays out a pathway to achieving climate goals across both municipal operations and the community.
To learn more about the Cool Irvine program and get involved, visit cityofirvine.org/coolcity. To learn more about Irvine’s sustainability efforts, visit cityofirvine.org/ep.