New Resources for Public Engagement, Sustainability and Greenhouse Gas Reduction

Several Institute for Local Government (ILG) publications and programs are helping local agencies to collaboratively and effectively address climate change and other environmental topics. 

Involving the Public in Addressing Climate Change

Local agencies throughout California are successfully involving community residents and businesses to develop local policies, programs and action plans related to climate change. A new ILG publication, How to Harness the Power of Your Community to Address Climate Change: A Local Official’s Guide, offers:

  • Suggestions about key community engagement strategies;
  • Examples of how cities and counties use these strategies to involve the public in their greenhouse gas reduction deliberations;
  • Ways to energize community members about taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Lessons learned from local agencies that have involved the public to promote community and individual action to address greenhouse gases; and
  • Resources for more information.

The guide is available at Other resources related to involving the public in sustainability issues are available at  

A Role for Young People  

Many young people are keenly interested in reducing greenhouse gases and learning more about how climate change may impact their community. ILG has prepared a special briefing paper for city and county youth commissions, Addressing Climate Change: Ideas for Youth Commissions, that provides background information about climate change and ideas for service and action by individual young people as well as youth commissions. This briefing paper is available at

ILG has produced a series of such papers on various topics, which are prepared for and disseminated free to youth commissions throughout California. For more information, visit

Regionally Addressing Sustainability and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

A new guide from ILG, Understanding SB 375: Public Participation Requirements, describes the requirements for public participation that regional and local agencies must meet in developing their transportation and housing plans under SB 375. This guide is available at

ILG also offers a brief two-page overview, The Basics of SB 375: Transportation, Housing and Greenhouse Gases, that explains current efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through coordinated regional and local planning for housing and transportation. It’s posted at

SB 375’s provisions apply only to the 18 metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in the more urbanized regions of the state and not to non-metropolitan regional transportation planning agencies (RTPAs) typically found in more rural counties. Under SB 375, cities and counties maintain their existing authority over local planning and land-use decisions, including adopting the housing element of the local General Plan.

Local officials have the opportunity to play a leadership role in promoting active participation by the public in developing regional plans for transportation, housing and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For more information on tips for public participation in regional planning or other issues related to SB 375, visit

Many agencies have chosen to go beyond these requirements, particularly in developing regional blueprints or other long-range visions for growth that involve extensive public engagement efforts. ILG will publish a guide later this year that focuses on opportunities for additional public involvement in developing sustainable communities strategies.

For news, publications and resources related to all ILG programs, visit

This article appears in the July 2010 issue of Western City
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