Earthseed Lab: Creating Climate Resilient Futures
Earthseed Lab builds capacity and pathways for youth focused on community resilience and climate adaptation in Los Angeles neighborhoods. By collaborating with Los Angeles-based community colleges and local community-based organizations, Earthseed Lab will grow and support local leaders so they can gain the insights, training, and support needed to become creative problem solvers that are visionary, adaptive, and able to help Los Angeles neighborhoods transition to an equitable and sustainable future.
What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?
Climate and Environment
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
County of Los Angeles
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?
Pilot or new project, program, or initiative
What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?
We are entering an era of climate disruption. The only certainty is Angelenos’ lives will change forever in the coming decades. L.A. is already experiencing record-breaking heat and drought on top of local air and water pollution. Our vulnerable communities are ill-prepared for the massive and painful changes facing us. The choice is not if we transform, but how. At the same time, we are in a crisis of disconnection. Climate change is seen as a global catastrophe that ordinary people are powerless to stop. Many of us feel helpless and depressed, lacking the time, money, knowledge, or support to act. Swept up in the frenetic digital world, we forget our home: the local issues we can address, the wisdom and community we can find, the beauty we can all agree needs protecting. Instead of disruption and disconnection, Earthseed Lab is a place for continuity and connection to ensure a just, peaceful climate transition for LA.
Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.
Earthseed Lab will unite a cohort of young leaders (‘fellows’) - community college students and young activists - with experienced practitioners (‘facilitators’). Together the fellows and facilitators will complete a 10-week training followed by a project addressing a local climate issue. The goal is to grow capacity while charting a path forward through practical action. Facilitators will codesign a 10-week curriculum centered on local climate issues, civic engagement, and community organizing delivered through focus groups, workshops, and other interactive field activities. Fellows and facilitators will share skills and wisdom in both directions, each growing their practice as a result. And Earthseed will provide stipends to both, making a supportive space for creative problem-solving. After the training, the facilitators will guide the fellows through a structured process to identify a community campaign or project to work on. They will explore local climate adaptation needs, identify community priorities, set objectives, make a plan of action, and execute the project. Finally, the facilitators and fellows will evaluate the first year of Earthseed Lab and plan for the next. They will create a field guide handbook and online portal to share the 10-week curriculum and lessons learned with nonprofit, educational, and government actors. The facilitators will also provide continued support to the fellows as they identify next steps in their education and careers.
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
Earthseed Lab will give educational and professional growth opportunities to underserved youth, including mentorship for future careers in community organizing, civic engagement, and government. Youth climate activists will gain the tools to make positive changes across many intersectional community issues and will become aware of new pathways for environmental community work. This capacity and coalition-building program will foster a group of strong Angeleno leaders with the skills to adapt to unknown futures caused by climate change. Their experience with Earthseed Lab’s creative thinking framework will lead to innovative, new climate solutions. These leaders will guide Los Angeles towards a culture of civic engagement, bioregionalism, and community resilience. In addition, as organizations, educational institutions, and government agencies utilize our field guide and community portal, we will see a growing number of Angelenos step into these adaptive leadership roles.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
The Earthseed Team will conduct an ongoing evaluation of the success of each phase of the project so adjustments can be made to the curriculum itself, as well as the delivery and approach to the workshops, events, and community service projects. At the end of the project, year results will be compiled into a final evaluation report to measure success toward reaching project goals. The quality of the project will be measured by the following: Pre/post surveys for participants measuring skills, attitudes, and behaviors · Surveys for participants measuring engagement and project effectiveness · Surveys for facilitators measuring ongoing overall effectiveness from their perspective · Surveys for community partners to determine satisfaction and feedback · Focus groups with participants, facilitators, and members of partnering community- based organizations measuring overall effectiveness and suggestions for improvement
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
Direct Impact: 150
Indirect Impact: 10,000