The film screening and community dialogue event was a huge success that built on the series of community engagements around these pertinent issues. This event was made possible by the City of El Cerrito Environmental Quality Committee, the League of Women Voters, The San Francisco Foundation, the Lia Fund and the California Endowment.
[break] On March 23rd, 2013, Breakthrough Communities (a project of Earth House Center, Oakland) was delighted to partner with the City of El Cerrito’s Environmental Quality Committee and the WCCC League of Women Voters to host a film premiere and community dialogue event centered on Andrea Torrice’s documentary film, Rising Waters: Global Warming and the Fate of the Pacific Islands, which tells the personal stories of communities that have already begun to feel the effects of global climate change and included new footage from Super Storm Sandy. The event, which took place at the historic Rialto Cinemas Cerrito Theatre in El Cerrito, drew an enthusiastic audience of over 150 attendees. Breakthrough Communities’ Paloma Pavel was the MC and weaver of the day’s program, which included a welcome performance by local artist and Green-For-All Fellow Jennifer Johns and a blue-ribbon panel of public and elected officials including Janet Abelson, former Mayor and current council member of the City of El Cerrito and Chair of the West Contra Costa County Transportation Advisory Committee. The keynote speaker was Contra Costa County District 1 Supervisor and Chair of the Bay Area Joint Policy Committee John Gioia, who set a regional context for the issues raised in the film by discussing the Bay Area’s Climate Adaptation Effort as an opportunity to rebuild communities with a new visions for the Three E’s: Economic viability, Environmental sustainability and social Equity. Following the film they were joined for a Q & A session by Carl Anthony of Breakthrough Communities, Maria Sanders of the City of El Cerrito Environmental Services Division, and filmmaker Andrea Torrice. Breakthrough Communities focused on linking the film screening to regional issues caused by climate change and energized eight dialogue groups to discuss issues related to water, food, energy, transportation, inter-generational, health, education & art, and community resilience. Will Travis, consultant on climate change and former Director of the Bay Conservation and Development Commission led off the activity by presenting Our Bay Area Climate Change Story, which spoke to emerging challenges and opportunities in our region resulting from SB 375: The Sustainable Communities Strategies and Climate Protection Act. The inspired dialogue groups then shared ideas and visions for opportunities in the Bay Area to transform policies and create more healthy, just, and sustainable communities.