In the last ten years, the human race has been experienced the many extreme climate events that had never occurred with that high frequency before. According to the Reuters’ 2018 article named “Last three years hottest on record, severe weather hits 2018: U.N” by Alister Doyle, the author reports, “the past three years were the hottest on record and… The Atlantic hurricanes and monsoon floods in India contributed to making 2017 the costliest year on record for climate events.” Particularly in the United State, 2017 was the costliest weather disaster year that cost $306 billion in damage according to the National Center for Environmental Information.
Therefore, the negative impacts from climate change on each country as well as individuals’ lives are undeniable, and it is essential to start making decisions now to prevent and limit the damages that will cause by climate change in the future. Understand an important role of individuals on the battle of climate change, the community of Santa Monica has been made many aggressive decisions to protect themselves from the environmental consequences.
Santa Monica is a city located in Los Angeles County belonging to Southern California, and the area has been suffering from many severe droughts and threats of wildfires. Santa Monica belongs to the Santa Monica Bay area within the Pacific Ocean. The city is located at the intersection of Highways I-10 and CA-1. Beside the beach located at the south of the city, the city is bordered with Mar Vista, Venice, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, and West Los Angeles from South to North.
Thanks to the beautiful beaches stretch for 3.4 miles along the Santa Monica Bay, the city becomes a popular destination for tourism. Santa Monica is a place for most well-known hotels in all of Southern California: these hotels offers impressive views to the Pacific Ocean and locates near Santa Monica’s famous activity location. Thus, there is no surprise that Santa Monica has been ranked by National Geographic as one of the top beaches in the world. The importance of the coastline on the economy as well as a culture of the city of Santa Monica makes the increase in sea-level become one of the biggest threats from the climate change to the community.
In average, Santa Monica has 85% of sunshine days per year. The city will have fog in the morning during May and June, and at the end of winter and the beginning of summer, fog could happen suddenly for some hours. Also, in June, the beach could stay gloomy for all day while others part of the city is full of sunlight. The rainy season will start from the end of October to the end of March. There is not much rain in Santa Monica; thus, this leads to occasionally droughts. It is common that the temperature will be from 5 to 10 degrees cooler near the beach in summer and 5 to 10 warmers at night in winter. Usually, the heat will reach its peak in September. Most of the time, the ocean provides cool wind which helps to make the air cleaner in Santa Monica, yet in the months of September and November, the Santa Ana winds could bring the pollution from the inland area to the beaches. According to Melodie Grubbs’ 2016 report “Vulnerability Assessment of the SMBNEP Bay Restoration Plan” published by Santa Monica Bay National Estuary Program (SMBNEP), The global warming will have a strong impact on the climate of Santa Monica.
In this report, Grubbs suggest that the Santa Monica Bay has a high temperature change over the last century. The increasing in temperature are estimated between 3 to greater than 4 degrees Fahrenheit. At the global scale, the increase in temperature of the ocean dues also impacts Santa Monica climate at a local scale. Thus, Santa Monica is facing the risk of rising sea level, negative feedback on the ocean carbon sink, deoxygenation, ocean acidification, potential extreme weather events, and changes in biological processes at cellular to ecosystem scales. These impacts are not only threats for the economy and daily life of the Santa Monica community but also the local biodiversity. In this report, Grubbs also suggest that the increase in annual precipitation will lead to an increase in extreme hydrological events, including high-intensity rainfall and a greater chance of drought in Santa Monica. the provided information also suggests that flood extent may be more severe for low lying coastal. The report also suggests that the amount of CO2 dissolved in the ocean has risen by more than 30%, decreasing the pH of the ocean by 0.11 units. Thus, many local taxa, such as corals, calcareous planktons, sea urchins, coralline algae, and mussels, exhibiting signs of vulnerability. Localized impacts can also have an additive effect, as human inputs of nutrients into coastal waters can lead to the excessive production of algae, a process known as eutrophication.
Tara Barauskas is an Executive Director the non-profit organization, Community Corporation of Santa Monica which established in 1982. Since the day that it was established, the cooperation has provided better lives for 4,000 local residents with new or renew affordable housing. With the 20 on her background in affordable housing, Barauskas has been helping the cooperation to achieve its goal with many successful projects with the collaboration of many reliable architects. In this role she overlooks the functional areas of the corporation, including oversight of 1,700 affordable housings, maintenance, resident assistance, construction development, and staff administration. Barauskas graduated from California State University, Long Beach with achieve her Bachelor’s Degree and achieve the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design AP accreditation. She also currently participates on the Board of the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing (SCANPH) and the Board of a public charter school.
Barauskas also have experiences in Policy Development, Strategic Planning, real estate development, community outreach, and fiduciary oversight. With regard to Strategic Planning, Barauskas is currently involved in creating Community Corp’s first Strategic plan, which will be complete in the next few months. At the last nonprofit she was employed with, Barauskas’ responsibility is implementating its strategic goals relating to real estate development. With regard to community outreach, she had to work with members of Communities throughout California, including Santa Monica, to provide them the understanding of affordable housing and who they should serve, and gain acceptance of creating affordable housing in the area. Barauskas has also had to work on issues surrounding homelessness as she has developed numerous developments serving people who have experienced homelessness. With regard to fiduciary oversight, this is one of her roles at Community Corporation and the other Boards Barauskas has served on. She has overseen budgets of up to $30 million. With regard to real estate development, Barauskas has been doing affordable housing development for more than 20 years on all aspects. Finally, with regard to Santa Monica, Barauskas has lived in SM twice (though not currently) and developed affordable housing here. In her time at Community Corporation, Barauskas has gained a good understanding of the various aspect of this City.
With her passion about social justice and equity as well as her understanding on climate change problem, Barauskas has been participating in more than 20 plans in affordable housing in California. In addition to her professional, Barauskas participate in numerous volunteer and community activities, though they are not primarily based in Santa Monica. She currently serves in the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing, an advocacy organization. She also runs the Los Angeles chapter of Lithuanian Girl Scouts, teach at a Saturday school and run a Green Team that educates kids. Part of this work is organizing activities such as beach cleanups through “Heal the Bay”, camping trips and recycling coaching. Through these activities. Barauskas wants to enjoy giving to the community as much as She can.
According to Barauskas’ background in working on affordable housing, there are many roadblocks and challenges that she has to overcome, and in her perception, Leadership is shown by how those problems are overcome. One example that she provides was an affordable housing project that she worked on in a small city in LA County. She was able to convince the City that she could be a leader in sustainability by allowing her to put in a greywater reuse system to flush toilets in an apartment community she was building. They were skeptical but after many meetings they agreed, and she worked with the design team to reconfigure the design of the project to incorporate this strategy. In another affordable housing project, Barauskas had to work with high level Building and Safety staff to incorporate new products and technology to achieve Zero Net Energy-namely, a Bio-PCM material that would be in the walls that had not been approved by the City. She had to work with the design team and wrangle the budget to incorporate this product but was able to do so. She enjoys the challenge of a lofty sustainability goal balanced with keeping things within a budget and schedule. In addition, she has worked with many communities to gain acceptance of affordable housing in their neighborhood. That involved listening, understanding each stakeholder’s position, and finding middle ground. In many cases it meant changing Design style, orientation, location or amenities to gain acceptance for the projects.
With the background in the affordable housing industry for more than 20 years as well as her current position in the Community Corporation of Santa Monica, Tara Barauskas invest her time and interest on changing the lives of the poor people who need a proper place to live by providing them most economical ways for housing. During her passionate path of helping the poor, Barauskas have had many chances to meet and have conversation with people from different background, and this provide her the knowledge and understanding from different perspective. In those aspects that she had encountered during this time, the climate change issue had constantly gotten a lot of her attention. Especially after she attend the Al Gore climate reality program where people are trained and provided the facts about global warming and the interactive influences between the issue and humans’ lives, Barauskas was convinced that humans have strongly impacts on the climate change problem, and at the same, the changing in climate also heavily influences her community. Barauskas believes that it is our responsibility to protect our current as well as future generation from the global warming, and we have to be honest and make aggressive actions on the issue. Barauskas also realize a strong connection between the global warming issue and the passionate career and vision that she has been pursuing throughout her lives.