At Planned Parenthood California Central Coast, our vision is a future where all people have equitable opportunity to experience health and wellness, including high-quality sexual and reproductive health care provided with respect and without judgement. This includes working toward urgent action in the face of the climate crisis.
Five ways Planned Parenthood California Central Coast advanced climate justice this year:
1. Our new strategic plan centers our commitment to health equity, which includes climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience.
At Planned Parenthood, we are working toward improving health outcomes, and reducing health disparities. Climate change is a health equity issue, because it can worsen existing health disparities due to pollution, poor living conditions, racism, and other forms of discrimination, and psychological stress. Climate change also directly impacts reproductive health, because climate related disasters make it harder for people to access health care and increases the need for contraception and abortion.
2. We are reducing the energy and water footprints at all our facilities. Two of our six health centers transitioned to solar energy this year.
Small actions we take can have big impacts. This year, we reduced our water reliance by transitioning to drip irrigation systems. We invested in LED lighting and energy efficient HVAC systems. As part of an organization-wide commitment to reducing our carbon footprint, we are transitioning our buildings to renewal energy.
Planned Parenthood California Central Coast is proud to participate in the Community Environmental Council’s Solarize Nonprofit program. This year, the program supported our work to fully transition our San Luis Obispo and Ventura health centers to solar energy. The Ventura solar installation also included adding two electric car charging stations for staff use.
We are currently exploring a solar installation in Santa Barbara, which would provide energy to operate our Santa Barbara health center and administrative office.
3. We secured grant funding to add battery back-up power at our Thousand Oaks, Ventura and San Luis Obispo health centers, which will make our centers more climate resilient.
Battery storage is an important way to make power grids more responsive, and they position health care organizations like Planned Parenthood to continue operations even in the face of natural disasters. This year, we worked with Direct Relief and California’s Public Utility Commissions to secure funding for battery back-ups at three of our health centers.
4. Our public affairs team worked with partners to oppose Exxon’s trucking proposal for Santa Barbara County, which was defeated by the Board of Supervisors.
The Central Coast is no stranger to environmental devastation caused by oil spills. The 1969 oil spill in the Santa Barbara Channel spurred the Earth Day movement and is the third largest oil spill in the United States. Not only do oil spills damage the environmental, they cause harm to human health. And, the carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels are the leading cause of global warming. This year, our public affairs team submitted public comment, alongside our partners, to oppose a trucking proposal that would have allowed drilling in the Santa Barbara Channel to resume.
5. We stood with environmental justice organizations to secure protections for people most impacted by dangerous agricultural pesticides, including people living in agricultural regions and farmworkers.
Planned Parenthood California Central Coast is proud to serve patients in agricultural regions of the Central Coast, including Oxnard and Santa Maria. These communities are home to large numbers of Latinx people who are seasonal farmworkers, growing the food we eat. But the legacy of environmental racism means that these communities of people are impacted by environmental harms, including dangerous pesticides which cause reproductive harm among other health concerns. We are proud to partner with organizations like CAUSE and MICOP to confront systemic racism and demand environmental justice, which is necessary to improve health outcomes and close disparities.