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A Carbon-Neutral Santa Monica by 2050—CivicSpark Fellows



The Experience and Work of the CivicSpark Fellowship Program


[01:44] Introduction of Mikael Matossian.

[02:22] Mikael describes the CivicSpark program.

[03:14] Mikael shares what he’s been working on for the City of Santa Monica.

[04:44] Mikael elaborates on the reduction of Santa Monica’s carbon emissions.

[05:57] Mikael explains if the new plan he’s working on has a particular target and date?

[06:59] Mikael shares the impact he hopes his work will bring about.

[08:24] Is the report going to be available in other languages?

[09:00] Mikael explains when he decided he wanted to become a CivicSpark fellow.

[10:54] Does Mikael’s experience as a CivicSpark fellow make graduate school more valuable to him?

[12:17] Mikael describes his experience as a CivicSpark fellow.

[14:00] Mikael shares if he would become a CivicSpark fellow again.

[15:24] Mikael describes the advice he would give to someone who’s interested in becoming a CivicSpark fellow.

[17:51] Mikael explains that CivicSpark is still a new program but is expanding.

[18:46] Mikael shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.

[19:13] Mikael describes the action listeners can take to build a more equitable and sustainable future.

[19:53] Mikael explains what the City of Santa Monica looks like 30 years from now.


Mikael Matossian is a 2015-2016 CivicSpark AmeriCorps fellow in the City of Santa Monica’s Office of Sustainability and the Environment, working on various climate action and energy initiatives. Mikael graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2015 with his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in energy systems at Carnegie Mellon University. His main research interests include the introduction of energy efficiency practices and renewable energy technologies in the Republic of Armenia.


CivicSpark is a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management issues in California, administered by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. The mission of CivicSpark is to build capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management needs.

Each year, CivicSpark recruits 68 fellows—48 Climate Action Fellows, and 20 Water Action Fellows—who contribute over 65,000 hours to help California communities respond to climate change and water management needs. In collaboration with local government staff, CivicSpark fellows implement a needed climate or water-focused project, while also building long-term capacity to ensure the work is sustained after their service year is completed. Local governments get dedicated project support from a focused team of enthusiastic emerging professionals who receive specialized professional development and sector training.


“I’m working on climate action and energy projects. So, I have three major projects, the first one being a final report or a view of the city’s last climate-action plan… that has 15 measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions community wide of the city by 2015, compared to a 1990 level as a baseline…fortunately, we actually did achieve 15%—we kind of surpassed that. We’re at a 21.8% reduction from 1990 levels.”

“The city [Santa Monica], really, for decades has been kind of a bold leader in sustainability and taking innovative action. It was the first city in 1994 to adopt a sustainable city plan of that size, a really comprehensive plan, to look at how we’re going to enhance, protect our resources, preserve the environment, in all these sectors, in water, waste, energy, social equity, things like that.”

“I really hope that this product, the final report—and I do believe it will—communicate the bold action that the city, that the government, is taking to the public so the public can be reminded of how, you know, innovative and leading this city is in sustainability, and, hopefully, that will motivate them to take part in the next plan and become more sustainable themselves.”


Listen to Infinite Earth Radio Episode 019: Taking Back the Power – Community Choice Aggregation


Learn More about the Fellowship and Check out the 2016-2017 Fellowship Application!

Local Government Commission (LGC)


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