The Citizens Environmental Council – Burlingame (CEC) is a group of volunteers whose mission is to champion a more environmentally and economically sustainable community. CEC provides leadership in local green efforts and serves as an educational resource for residents, businesses and institutions.
On the right side, you can sign up for our newsletter to learn about upcoming events and opportunities. Click here to support CEC with a tax-deductible donation. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your ideas and get more involved.
CEC has a strong track record of educating the public about environmental issues and advocating for sustainable policies. Volunteers started the group in 2009 in response to a recommendation in the City of Burlingame’s new Climate Action Plan, which many of us helped shape as members of a Green Ribbon Task Force. CEC attained nonprofit status in 2010 and, in 2016, the organization incorporated and attained 501(c)3 status.
We are actively engaged in activities that fall into four categories:
Collaboration – CEC has partnered with numerous groups to support green projects, including Bike to Work Day with Commute.org, the first Repair Café (where volunteers fix items) with the Burlingame Library Foundation and many green initiatives with the City of Burlingame, such as an Adopt a Tree campaign and coastal cleanups. We have worked with students at Burlingame High School to support gardens and recycling containers at the school, and we regularly help Peninsula Food Runners distribute food to needy individuals.
Advocacy – CEC encouraged the City of Burlingame to ban plastic bags and polystyrene food containers, create a community garden, win grants for bike lanes and pedestrian pathways, fund electric vehicle charging stations, update its gray water code, and regulate the usage and decibel level of leaf blowers. We are particularly proud that the city hired its first sustainability coordinator, Sigalle Michael, in 2014. She has made sustainability a priority across city departments.
Education – CEC is known for its popular “Green Programs on Hot Topics” – talks, films and workshops on a wide range of environmental issues. Topics have included drought-tolerant landscaping, the effects of climate change, food waste, water-wise irrigation, energy-efficiency discounts and rebates, Big Sugar’s impacts on public health, tips for shrinking your carbon footprint, the safety of artificial turf, the sharing economy and how to achieve zero waste. We also do monthly outreach at the Burlingame Farmer’s Market.
Support for Others – As our organization has grown, we have begun funding scholarships for students who are planning environmental careers, as well as projects by others aimed at making our community more sustainable. In 2016 we raised more than $16,000 by placing third in the CoolCalifornia Challenge, a statewide energy-efficiency competition. This funding allows us to underwrite more sustainability projects for Burlingame.
We invite you to join us in making Burlingame more sustainable.
According to a 2007 City of Burlingame Citizen Survey completed by the National Citizens Survey, 67% of respondents supported the following statement:
The City should be involved in green or environmentally friendly measures, such as installing solar panels on City buildings, even if the cost exceeds the projected operational savings over the life of the project.
The CEC is an outgrowth of the Green Ribbon Task Force that culminated in the Burlingame City Council adoption of the Climate Action Plan (CAP) in June 2009. The CAP is summarized below. A full version of the CAP is also available for download at the bottom of this page.
The CEC structure was designed to provide a vehicle for each member to make a difference in the community. Members can choose their environmental passion(s), and work with other CEC team members to create and execute sustainability initiatives that promote the reduction of carbon emissions and the preservation of natural resources.
The CEC officially became a tax-deductible charitable organization July 1, 2010 when it was accepted as a fiduciary program of Acterra Action for a Healthy Planet. Acterra’s mission is to bring people together to create local solutions for a healthy planet. Citizens Environmental Council of Burlingame, Inc. became a stand alone 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation on July 1, 2016. All donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by current laws.
The City of Burlingame’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) serves as a guiding document to identify methods that the City and community can implement to significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The CAP is an important first step toward meeting the requirements mandated by new California legislation, known as Assembly Bill 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which requires emissions to be reduced 15% below current levels (as measured in 2005) by the year 2020 and to be reduced by 80% by the year 2050.
Burlingame City Council signed the United States Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement in August 2007 and joined 670 other cities that pledged to reduce emissions within their jurisdiction. During 2007, the Green Ribbon Task Force convened and the City of Burlingame joined ICLEI (now called Local Governments for Sustainability) to share best practices with other cities.
In January 2009 the City Council directed the Green Ribbon Task Force to develop a CAP for Burlingame with assistance from CSG Consultants. The Green Ribbon Task Force began the CAP development process by considering the most cost-effective and feasible GHG reduction programs for implementation in Burlingame. Meetings were also held with Burlingame staff members to discuss the draft recommendations and receive feedback. Burlingame’s Task Force held a Burlingame CAP Community Workshop in March 2009 to receive community stakeholder feedback. Community Workshop attendees showed significant interest in the CAP development and in the expansion of sustainable efforts by the City of Burlingame and community.
Burlingame’s CAP provides a comprehensive document that creates a baseline of emissions, sets achievable targets as stipulated by AB 32, and recommends steps to be taken to reduce emissions, increase sustainability and improve quality of life.
The CAP includes the following components:
- Climate change impacts on Burlingame and recent legislation regarding climate change;
- Major sources and quantities of Burlingame’s emissions which constitute a baseline inventory;
- Burlingame’s emissions reduction target, which is based on AB 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006;
- Program and policy recommendations to assist Burlingame in meeting the GHG reduction goal in two phases: one phase for high-impact, near-term program recommendations to be implemented prior to 2012 and a second phase for program implementation from 2012 to 2020;
- State and regional initiatives that will assist Burlingame in reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
- Implementation, funding and recommended next steps;
- Recommendations for adaptation to climate change.
The CAP establishes a framework of action that the City and community can implement and provides a statement of intent for priorities and policies for the short and long term. However, the plan is not binding on the City Council or the community. Once the Council adopted the CAP, individual recommendations within the plan need to be developed by staff and/or consultants and presented for the Council’s consideration before they are implemented.Download the Climate Action Plan.
Directors serve 2-year terms. Half of the CEC Board of Directors is elected in January of each year. Directors need to be active members of the CEC who choose to lead and support CEC initiatives and sustainable lifestyle practices in the community. Active CEC members are welcome to nominate themselves for inclusion the CEC Board of Directors.
Membership is free to all. Members are individuals and businesses that are interested in choices that make our planet a healthy place to live and work, particularly at the local community level. Members may not have a lot of free time to actively participate in CEC initiatives, but stay informed about CEC initiatives and activities as a part of the CEC announcements email list. Membership also includes students involved with green teams/organizations from local Burlingame schools.
Members may choose their passion(s) and join teams to make a difference in the community. They include a variety of local residents and business representatives who may choose to work on any initiatives that interest them.
Many members are active in local government and the green movement, including the Planning Commission, Parks and Recreation Department, Parks and Recreation Commission, Traffic Safety & Parking Commission (TSPC), TSPC Commission Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Subcommittee, Beautification Committee, Teachers, PTA members, High Speed Rail Committee, Certified Green Builders and Certified Green Business owners.
Active local members may nominate themselves for inclusion in the CEC Board of Directors at the annual election, that is generally held on the second Wednesday of January each year.