California’s future is in our hands – not in Washington D.C.

580 200 Johnnie Carlson

(Photo Credit: Don Schulte/Flickr)

The November election has shaken the ground that we in the California environmental and environmental justice movements have spent decades working to make solid beneath us. A new president, a new cabinet, a new Congress, and a host of new administration appointees threaten to undo the legacy we are building for current Californians and for generations yet to come. So what indeed does come next?

For many years, the Planning and Conservation League (PCL) has hosted an annual in-depth legislative symposium covering topics of interest to members, sponsors, and allies. This year, PCL is significantly changing the format to meet the pressing needs of the moment. Starting with the February Assembly, PCL will bring together diverse advocates, business and government leaders and academics in a work-session focused agenda. Our goal is to develop and commit to specific strategies to be used in coming months and years to protect and advance California's progress in environmental sustainability and social equity.

California faces unprecedented threats from the new administration and Congress on every front and related to every issue and resource the environmental and environmental justice movements hold dear: climate change, energy, water, air quality, social justice, protecting natural and working landscapes, the green economy – to name just a few. The goal is to use this one-day Assembly as the kickoff of a multi-year organizing effort and as a convening of public and private sector advocates and stakeholders, as well as academics and key members of the Brown administration along with legislators and legislative staff.

To face these threats and ensure our legacy, California needs an invigorated and networked coalition of advocates and activists who can work with our allies to build a dynamic grassroots-based coalition. This effort cannot be sustained with each of us and our organizations working solely on our own. This multi-year process will involve extensive ongoing research, outreach, organizing, education, policy work, and litigation. 

Currently, PCL and our Co-Hosts (Meeting of the Minds, California Forward, and McGeorge School of Law, and others) are reaching out to a series of organizations to co-host and/or participate in the February 18 Assembly and partner with us these next years on this important effort. But right now PCL is leading the charge in getting this event and process off the ground. 

The event will address the interconnected issues of housing, energy, land use, water and more. Panelists include CA Fwd's Deputy Director of Policy & Communications Justin Ewers who will present information on an “all of the above” housing strategy for California. The action plan was developed through a series of stakeholder convenings in 2016 with a diverse group of builders, housing advocates, equity groups, local government leaders, and environmental leaders, including PCL's Executive Director Howard Penn.

California has led the nation and in many ways the world in progressive environmental and social policy. Help ensure our leadership continues and that the legacy we have all built lasts well beyond us. Join the Planning and Conservation League on February 18, 2017 at McGeorge School of Law for a Post-Election Threat Assessment & Strategy Workshop to explore what we can do and what we need to do next.

Post-Election Threat Assessment & Strategy Workshop 
Saturday, February 18, 2017
McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento

We need your participation through attendance and by getting the word out to an even broader coalition of diverse environmental and environmental justice activists and organizations in order to build all our chances of success in bringing people together that day and in the years to come to protect our California legacy. You can learn more or register at

Johnnie Carlson is operations manager for the Planning & Conservation League


Johnnie Carlson

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