Countdown is a global initiative to champion and accelerate solutions to the climate crisis, turning ideas into action. The goal: To build a better future by cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 in the race to a zero-carbon world – a world that is safer, cleaner and fairer for everyone.

On Saturday, October 10, 2020, we talked to four of Santa Barbara’s climate thought-leaders as our contribution to the kickoff of this yearlong Countdown Initiative by TED and its partners.

One of the things you can do right now is visit the Count-Us-In website for a list of actions you can take today to make a change.

Katie Hershfelt - Our Food

Katie is the founder and director of Cultivate Events (CE) and is currently supporting communications and marketing efforts at the Community Environmental Council (CEC). She is a passionate local food and farming advocate, business owner, consultant, and community builder. Eight years ago she launched CE, where she curates and produces food-focused educational community programs that celebrate farmers and food producers and connect people to the local food movement. Best known for founding the Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival, Katie’s team works on numerous regional festivals, including CEC’s Santa Barbara Earth Day. She spent seven years cultivating and promoting food producers through her work at Edible Santa Barbara and as a Host on KCRW Santa Barbara’s Meet at the Market segment. Katie’s experience and deep ties to the food system make her a trusted community resource and strategic partner in building food resilience.

As mentioned during the show:
Santa Barbara County Food Action Network
Santa Barbara Food Bank
Santa Barbara County Food Rescue

Corey Hoven - Our Buildings

Corey is a co-founder and the full-time Chief Technology Officer at Next Energy Technologies (NEXT). For more than six years, Corey has led a NEXT technical team that is comprised of international leaders in the field of organic photovoltaics (OPV) who are uniquely qualified to bring a transparent organic solar technology to the market by including scientists with world-class expertise in device fabrication and physics, chemical synthesis, materials processing, and characterization across multiple scales. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Materials at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and served as a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Department of Materials at UCSB where his research focused on organic light-emitting diodes and OPV with a strong focus on device design. Corey’s UCSB committee included two Nobel Laureates.

As mentioned during the show:
Corey's Instagram

Steve Finkel - Our Land

Steve is the founder and president of White Buffalo Land Trust (WBLT). Through the foundation’s work to practice, develop, and promote systems of regenerative agriculture for local, regional, and global impact, he is committed to building WBLT into a permanent service organization that will adapt and evolve as regenerative agriculture becomes the standard for land stewardship. Steve brings with him decades of entrepreneurial, environmental, and private sector experience. He believes the most effective organization is built on the excellence and merit of the team – and the commitment to the core values of integrity, quality, and clarity in results-oriented and service-oriented pursuits. 

As mentioned during the show:
The Summerland Flagship property
The Jalama Project Storymap
White Buffalo on Facebook

Sharyn Main - Our Resiliency

Sharyn Main is the Climate Resilience Program Director at the Community Environmental Council (CEC) and has 35 years of experience in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. Sharyn returned to CEC in 2020 to continue working on critical issues related to climate change and community resilience. She served as Senior Director of Community Investments at the Santa Barbara Foundation for nearly a decade where she developed countywide initiatives to advance regional strategies for land conservation, protection of ecosystems, and support of agriculture and food systems. Over the course of her career, she has helped develop and manage a range of community collaborations including the Santa Barbara County Conservation Blueprint and Santa Barbara County Food Action Plan.

Panel Conversation

After the presentations, we gathered back as a group to take questions from the audience, and each other. Here's your opportunity to listen to them all again.

One of the talks from earlier in the day, "Can we create the perfect farm?" was referenced several times during our conversations. It was written by Brent Loken and animated by TED-Ed - You can watch it here.

If you would like to watch a replay of the entire 5 1/2 hour TED Countdown Livestream that was broadcast from Bergen, Norway, on October 10th, 2020, CLICK HERE.

You can view the individual talks from the Global Launch on here.

Throughout the year we will be featuring content from TED for the Countdown Project. Sign up for our newsletter and we will let you know when something interesting comes up.