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Improving community visualizations of existing climate actions and improve participation in, and access to, existing climate actions.

Santa Cruz, California

Featured image for the project, Improving community visualizations of existing climate actions and improve participation in, and access to, existing climate actions.

Santa Cruz Climate Action Stories ESRI screenshot.

Community communication and media representations of local climate actions are mostly either absent or insufficient globally. The Climate Health Equity Partners (CHEP) are using GIS tools to improve the regionalization and visualization of existing climate actions. Using visualizations allows the team to expand awareness of the needs and opportunities related to the climate crisis, locally or otherwise, to as many segments of the community as possible. To some, climate and health are currently mostly seen as separate topics with separate stakeholders and disconnected solutions. CHEP intends to connect climate and health together and create an easy-to-use visual display of climate actions happening in our community. CHEP will also create an Interactive interface where the public can upload photos and short descriptions using an online GIS tool.


About the Community

Santa Cruz Regional Climate and Health Equity Partnerships will be an advisory committee for the Climate Action Plan for the City of Santa Cruz. Our goal is to develop a framework for regionalizing climate action. The CHEP framework includes a geospatial mapping tool and synchronized messaging system to improve coordination among climate, health, and equity efforts. Through a network of communities sharing the CHEP framework, we hope to improve both regional coordination and visualization of climate, health, and equity issues. We plan to synchronize efforts so that we can more rapidly move climate, health and equity projects into service. Importantly, the CHEP framework can be customized for any region and at any scale.

About the Project

The Community would like to improve visualizations of existing climate actions and engage the wider Santa Cruz population so that they can actively participate which will result in higher levels of engagement leading to positive climate actions.


  • Create an easy to use online app that allows people to upload photos & short description to share climate action
  • Allow organizations, community efforts and collective actions to be displayed
  • Display data on a map as a living display that can be searched and queried.


  • City of Santa Cruz
  • News writers and local press
  • Local television stations (KSBW and?)
  • Local radio stations
  • Library
  • NGO
  • Physicians
  • Local environmental groups in Santa Cruz:
  • Unions

The project outputs will consist of:

  • A set of tools, processes and concepts for achieving the outcome that both work well in this region and can be readily adapted for other regions, or networks.
  • A working model
  • Real-time ESRI links, and connecting the ESRI links to MAH and SCMNH websites as well as schools and libraries.
  • In-person displays as well as through web-sites and social media
  • News articles reporting though local papers on positive outliers using this data.
  • Research paper published (in support of expanding this further)
  • Presentation at AGU (suggesting SY019)



  • Improved visualization and higher participation (improved policy support). Inclusion of journalism/museums/schools in a feedback loop of community participation in climate engagement.
  • In time, every segment of the community has had exposure to aspects of the climate crisis of particular relevance to them, with the messaging, modalities and in formats or venues, that are best suited to both motivate and enable the most needed responses from them in their region and sector.



  • A model that governments can readily adopt that enables open-access, real-time, reliable, evidence-based, authoritative, visual, accessible, crowdsourced information and stories about climate and health impacts—including hopeful stories, co-benefits of integrated action, and inclusive opportunities to be a part of community-level solutions. This model would also be directly relevant to UN-level ACE networks that are interested in scaling solutions, sharing ideas, and normalizing best practices. Other entities such as Universities and businesses can also adopt the model
  • Curriculum and learning material revision so as to teach skills involved in mapping localities and other systems

Timeline and Milestones

This project is intended to be completed in a maximum of 18 months.

Project Team

Community Leads

Emily Coren, Stanford Psychiatry and Psychology, Science Communication

Krista Myers, MS, Louisiana State University, Earth Science

Nathan Uchtmann, Physician

Nightingale Uchtmann, Nurse

Jennie Dusheck, MA, Author, Freelance Science Writer & Editor 

Nancy Glock-Grueneich, Participant in the Santa Cruz Climate Action task force

Aviva Wolf-Jacobs, PhD student, Spatial Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California


Community Science Fellow

Jason Maitland

Scientist Wanted

We are looking for a scientist that has the capacity to work with in a growing relationship. The scientist should be able to relate with climate and health considerations. The scientist will participate in community engagement, community mapping and contribute to inspiring and empowering diverse and representative citizen science. The scientist is not required to be local to the community and remote engagement is acceptable. The person should have knowledge of the creation of forms where users can input photos and GPS locations as well as text so they can be displayed on a map. We welcome scientist who may be supported by graduate researchers.

Desired Skills and Qualifications:

  • Web GIS scientist with international experience
  • Knowledge and respect for indigenous cultures and worldviews
  • Experience and/or desire to participate in community education, outreach, and engagement
  • Experience with citizen science
  • Strong listening and collaboration skills
  • Child/Youth focused
  • Willingness to connect science to local concerns
  • Relaxed, easy-going personality with a good sense of humor


Thriving Earth Exchange asks all scientific partners to work with the community to help define a project with concrete local impact to which they can contribute as pro-bono volunteers and collaborators. This work can also position the scientists and communities to seek additional funding, together, for the next stage.

Interested in volunteering as a scientist? Apply now!

Collaborating Organization(s)

  • Museum of Art & History (MAH), Santa Cruz
  • City of Santa Cruz
  • SCMNH,
  • Climate Alliance, Santa Cruz
  • Santa Cruz Climate Action Network
  • Santa Cruz chapter of the Sierra Club
  • Equity Transit
  • Friends of the Rail Trail
  • Coast Connect
  • Santa Cruz Progressive Alliance
  • News writers, local press (Sentinel, Good Times, Lookout Local, SC Local, San Lorenzo Valley Post, Scotts Valley Banner, The Pajaronian, Monterey Herald…
  • Local television stations (KSBW and?)
  • Local radio stations
  • Library
  • Santa Cruz Art league
  • Action for Climate Engagement
  • CA Public Health, Climate Health and Equity
  • Santa Cruz Climate Action Network
  • Citizens Climate Lobby, Santa Cruz Chapter
  • Save Our Shores
  • UCSC Sustainability Dept
  • City of Santa Cruz Climate Action Task Force