Kerri Timmer
Vice President Climate and Energy

Kerri Timmer

Vice President, Climate & Energy



As Vice President of Climate & Energy, Kerri works in partnership with local, regional, state and federal agencies and officials to advance sustainable communities strategies, climate action planning, energy efficiency programs and other SBC activities.

Kerri is a communications and management specialist with more than 25 years of public- and private- sector experience in community and government relations, business communications, land and water conservation, and nonprofit management and capacity building.  Prior to joining SBC, Kerri spent six years with the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, where she served most recently as that agency’s Regional Policy and Program Manager.  Before that, she was Executive Director of a non-profit conservation group, operated her own consulting practice where she cultivated relationships with watershed organizations, land trusts and other community groups within and outside the Sierra, and served as account executive and creative director for a community and government relations firm in San Francisco.  Kerri holds a B.A. in English Literature from San Francisco State University and a certificate in Land Use and Natural Resources planning through UC Davis Extension.  Kerri has also authored a number of publications addressing land and water conservation and community sustainability issues in the Sierra Nevada. 

Personal Highlights

Kerri and her husband John live in the foothills of the western Sierra Nevada, where they enjoy hiking, biking, boating, camping and hosting backyard barbeques for friends and family.

Climate Change Affects Us All, But Not in the Same Way: A Climate Justice Statement

 

As a self-proclaimed policy wonk, I was pleased when SB 1000 (Leyva) passed in 2016 requiring California cities and counties to identify vulnerable communities within their jurisdictions and reflect the environmental justice and safety needs of those communities in future planning. As a pragmatist, though, I realize that moving from legislative language to meaningful action can be challenging.

COMM RenoColors KriseldaBautista 2015 copyBuilding on the work of environmental and social justice advocates throughout the state, SBC’s Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Partnership (Sierra CAMP) is taking a first step. Sierra CAMP is finalizing a Climate Justice Statement committing itself and asking its members and partners in the region to begin incorporating climate justice principles into their speech, projects, programs, missions, and decision-making processes.

The concept of “climate justice” revolves around the idea expressed by the Climate Justice Working Group, that while all Californians are impacted by climate change, climate change does not impact all people in the same way. Communities that have experienced continuing social, economic, and environmental inequities – such as people of color, immigrants, people with lower incomes, those in rural areas, and indigenous people – are also disproportionately affected by climate impacts. These same communities are frequently excluded from the policy and funding decisions that determine how climate impacts will be addressed. Climate justice calls for reducing the disparities between these and California’s more affluent communities by prioritizing vulnerable and disadvantaged communities for climate adaptation and mitigation actions and access to available resources to more effectively prepare for, adapt to, and recover from the impacts of climate change.

As outlined by the Disadvantaged Communities Advisory Group – that counsels the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Energy Commission on development, implementation, and impacts of proposed energy and pollution reduction programs – the impact of climate change on structurally disempowered and low-income communities can exacerbate existing inequities. However, it can also create opportunities for direct action and investment in these same communities to leverage local strengths, knowledge, and capacity.

When asked what climate justice could look like in practice, Sierra CAMP project manager Nikki Caravelli suggests:

…businesses and government entities that operate on the triple-bottom-line principle that the community, the economy, and the environment work best when they work together; government programs that undo centuries of institutional racism and structural bias by helping those who need it most; people respecting the environment because we know that we and others need clean air and water to live collectively. It’s inclusive, it’s inventive, it’s diversity in leadership and power, it’s humanity at its best – supporting and learning from each other, which is how change is made!

Shifting this paradigm in our own region, statewide, and hopefully more broadly over time may seem daunting, but Nikki points out: this is a bold vision, but not a prescription. People may not know initially how best to support climate justice in their organizations. Sierra CAMP is encouraging its members and partners to begin by better understanding climate vulnerability in their own communities and then by looking for ways to weave climate justice concepts and outcomes into their own work.

Sierra CAMP’s Climate Justice Statement is a start: an intention. Sierra CAMP will follow this intention with more concrete actions, such as discussing climate justice in presentations, vetting projects and messaging through a climate justice lens, and communicating successes and failures as case studies that we and our partners can learn from. When Sierra CAMP embodies this commitment in action, then we will be better able to support our members and partners in doing the same for their communities.

 

Image Courtesy Kriselda Bautista