An exciting new movement is starting this academic year to reach carbon neutrality at UCSB and in Isla Vista by 2025! You can help make history by signing up for Cool Block (coolblock.org). Here you will learn to live a more environmentally sustainable and low carbon lifestyle, build resiliency skills, get to know like-minded people, and develop leadership capabilities to take into Isla Vista and beyond.
Visualize the Cool Block Lifestyle in Isla Vista. Visit the Cool Block homepage, and take a video tour through the Cool Block journey.
Learn even more at our information session.
Ready to take the journey? Please put me on a Cool Block Team!
Topic 1&2: Energy/Disaster Resilient Household
In this topic, you will learn how to make your home “undisruptible” by taking steps to prepare for human-made and natural disasters, and power outages, setting up extra food and water, and more. With preparation, you’ll discover that you can handle just about any emergency that is likely to come along. Watch the topic introductory videos here and here.
At UCSB, check out basic needs resources available to students at Food.ucsb.edu, and UCSB’s comprehensive emergency planning services and Covid-19 resources. The UCSB “Emergency Flipchart”(English/Spanish) is a quick reference for UCSB students, faculty and staff. Individual Cool Block actions are linked to these and other local resources.
Topic 3: Cool Lifestyle
The next topic in the Cool Block program begins with an interactive carbon calculator, to understand your carbon footprint. From then on, you will take actions to reduce that footprint. Some actions are simple, some take more effort, but all of them will help you save the planet - and money. Watch this topic’s introductory video here.
At UCSB, we know that a carbon neutral community cannot be achieved through renewable energy alone. Conservation can be accomplished through our day to day choices, like reducing consumption & waste, eating lower on the food chain, and reducing our use of cars. Check out our Zero Waste Committee, Green Mondays and our ride-sharing and commuter options. Individual Cool Block actions are linked to these and other local resources.
Topic 4: Cool Home/Wheels
The fourth topic focuses on making your household and transportation systems as efficient as possible. If you are a renter or living in community housing, many changes related to your housing will rely on your building manager, but there is still meaningful action that you can take. Individual Cool Block actions are linked to local resources that can support you. Watch this topic’s introductory video here.
At UCSB, we take creating efficient systems seriously. Since we performed our first GHG emissions inventory in 2007, the campus has reduced its climate impact dramatically. By 2019, campus operational emissions were ~20% below 1990 levels while almost doubling campus building space. We also have over 6.2 megawatts of on-site solar energy. Learn more about Climate Action at UCSB.
Topic 5: Water Stewardship
As our planet warms, humans are experiencing either too much or too little water in their communities. Our personal practices impact our drinking water and ocean. In this topic, you will learn how to implement lifestyle and other practices needed to be a responsible water steward, through conserving water and protecting water quality. Watch this topic’s introductory video here.
The Santa Barbara region is exceptionally vulnerable to water shortages. But at UCSB, per capita water consumption is 26 gallons per person per day on the campus, which is an amazing feat. It is half that of Goleta, and a quarter that of the State’s per capita target. Learn more about water stewardship on campus, and restoration opportunities through UCSB. Individual Cool Block actions are linked to these and other local resources.
Topic 6: Safe, Healthy and Green Block
You’ll start this topic by reaching out to neighbors on your block, so that you become more connected. Whether you want to whisk away street litter, plant trees and gardens together, or just lend each other a hand when needed, you can bring resilience to your local community. Watch this topic introductory video here.
At UCSB, there are 14 gardens and farms between Isla Vista and Campus that are helping to promote healthy eating and address food insecurity. The gardens help empower the community, especially students, to be leaders of our food system. Our campus Health and Wellness Program also encourages sustainability through healthy living and buying locally sourced, organic food. Individual Cool Block actions are linked to these and other local resources.
Topic 7&8: Resourceful Community-Rich Block and Beyond
The final topics of the Cool Block program build on all the work you’ve done and fun you’ve had. You’ll learn how to be more resourceful, deepen the practice you’ve established, engage more neighbors and blocks, and move into creating a better and more carbon neutral community, in Isla Vista and beyond. Watch these topic introductory videos here and here.
At UCSB, you can save money and build community through a culture of sharing. Check out resources such as Ride Share, Sustainable Tech Repair Service, and the Campus used bike sale. And tap into our emerging initiatives toward realizing our Carbon Neutral Vision (see links below). Individual Cool Block actions are linked to these and other local resources.
Our Carbon Neutral Vision – Watch
Carbon-Neutral Isla Vista by 2025
a video by UCSB student Tyler Barton
From Isla Vista to Eco Vista by 2025
a video by UCSB student Clara Pitsker
Our Carbon Neutral Vision – Read
Carbon Neutral Isla Vista by 2025,
Part 1: Where did this idea come from?
Part 2: What’s it like to be on a Cool Block team?
Articles by Shaelyn McHugh, UCSB Class of 2020