In wake of fire, January 9 debris flow, expert panelists to explore regional solutions to timely environmental concerns, new ocean-based sources of renewable energy and building resilient energy systems

Santa Barbara, CA – As the Santa Barbara region and, especially, the hard-hit Montecito area, shows signs of recovery from the one-two punch of the Thomas Fire and January 9 debris flow, there is much to do to plan for the future. While various agencies are currently concentrating on important short-term goals such as winter storm safety, mud-removal and re-construction, public officials and citizens alike need to consider the long-term ramifications of our fragile infrastructure and changing planet. According to Ernest Moniz, former head of the U.S. Department of Energy,

The catastrophic events here at home can also be seen as a positive catalyst for educating citizens about the prospects of investing in local emerging technologies that provide secure, renewable power and ways to store and protect that energy while minimizing harm to the environment. To that end, the Sustainable Change Alliance (SCA) is offering “Protecting Ourselves. Protecting Our Community. Protecting the World.”, a free public meeting on Tuesday, March 27th from 3-5 pm at Impact Hub, 1221 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara.

In order to attend, please RSVP at

Jonathan D. Gartner, SCA Board Chair, points out that “This month SCA is looking at the environment and energy. While Santa Barbara is clearly on the frontlines of the negative effects stemming from climate change, in the midst of the destruction, we can already see the seeds of possible solutions. The Alliance is focused on the power of impact investing – using the power of capital to support companies which can produce both financial success and positive social change.”

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Setting the stage for the event will be the CEO of the Community Environmental Council, Sigrid Wright, who will speak about the increase in severe weather events and the need to address the root causes of climate change. In addition, two innovative local companies focused on energy will be featured. James GP Dehlsen, Chairman of Santa Barbara-based Ecomerit Technologies and considered the father of the wind power industry in America, will speak about the potential of new ocean based sources of renewable energy. Catherine von Burg, CEO of Ojai-based Simpliphi Power, will address the important role battery storage plays in building resilient energy systems.

Peter Brill, MD and SCA Founding Chair see the presentation as a “teachable moment,” adding that, “It’s a way to illuminate how we can use the latest circumstances here at home to better connect the dots with climate change. There are innovations out there worth capitalizing that will enable us to adapt and strengthen our South Coast communities to be climate resilient. I think the audience will be thrilled by the quality of these speakers, the timeliness of the topic, and the importance of the issue, not just for local residents, but also for people around the world.”

About Sustainable Change Alliance


The Sustainable Change Alliance (SCA) was formed in 2015 with a commitment to promoting impact investing opportunities and positive, sustainable social change on a local, national and global level. Formed by a team of professionals, SCA brings together experts in the fields of finance, the environment, education, leadership, technology and fund development with the general public, to build knowledge, create investor groups, establish models and advance the field of socially-responsible financial enterprises for the greater good of communities both near and far. For more information visit, or email