The Accelerate Neighborhood Climate Action (ANCA) program in Denver is based on an assumption that each household and family can, by changing lifestyle behaviors, lower their own carbon footprint as well as that of their neighborhood, thus creating a healthier future for all residents. Since 2016, ANCA has been using inclusive strategies, including our Technology of Participation (ToP) methods to host Climate Action Forums that cultivate climate action block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood throughout the city.
Through these forums, ANCA provides support and resources to equip participating neighborhood residents with the tools to take action and be a force for good. Over the course of five hours and three successive workshops, a neighborhood is able to walk out the door with a Neighborhood Climate Action Plan. Forums have already produced 41 such plans supported by local committees.
To build grassroots support, a forum’s organizing team will work with a local chairperson, someone who is intimately acquainted with the neighborhood.
“When church members learned that we had this kind of trained and knowledgeable facilitators to help us with reaching out to our neighbors on this volatile topic, a great team of 10 volunteered to help,” said Reverend Bonita Bock, the local chairperson of a Climate Action Forum that took place on September 21st at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in the West Capitol Hill neighborhood of Denver.
Among the 54 people in attendance were former ICA board member Parry Burnap, Colorado State Senator Faith Winter, and representatives from the Denver Office of Sustainability. Parry gave the opening presentation, grounding the conversation in the current science on the climate crisis.
ICA is one of three program partners, together with Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods (CHUN) and the Metro State University (MSU) Denver Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, that support the ANCA team.
MSU connects interns and establishes student training opportunities for forum leadership through a service learning course called Community Climate Initiatives. University-sponsored interns are an invaluable resource given ANCA’s current model of being completely powered by volunteers, in-kind donations, and trained facilitators who work for small stipends. This year, ANCA secured 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, which enables it to collect donations and better sustain its work.
Neighboring cities of Littleton and Boulder are interested in creating their own ANCA programs with support from Denver-based volunteers. ANCA coordinators Oliveann Slotta and Sunny Walker will also share ANCA’s story during our final Environmental Sustainability Webinar in partnership with the Center for Strategic Facilitation on Thursday, November 7th.