6th Annual Environmental Leadership Summit 

September 17, 2022


The Sixth Annual San Diego Environmental Leadership Summit was held live in 2022, after two years of virtual events.  It was held on Sept 17, 2022 at SDSU Alumni Center Fowler Ballroom.

The Summit is an all-day conference for 125 leaders of environmental organizations in the San Diego Region.

The theme of the 2022 Summit is The Future of Conservation. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Jennifer Norris, Deputy Secretary for Biodiversity and Habitat at the California Natural Resources Agency. Panel discussions will focus on the 30×30 Campaign and on engaging more young people in conservation action.

California has launched a first-ever strategy to achieve the state’s pledge to conserve 30 percent of our land and coastal waters by 2030 (30×30) to protect biodiversity, expand access to nature and tackle climate change. The Summit will discuss some local projects that fit under 30×30, how agencies receiving funds for 30×30 will direct the funding, and what our future conservationists are up to.

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Dr. Jennifer Norris, Deputy Secretary for Biodiversity and Habitat at the California Natural Resources Agency.

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Session 1: Pam Heatherington introducing moderator Bill Tippets from the Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association. Panelists include Bill Tippets, Tito Marchant, Andrew Meyer, Clayton Tschudy.

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Session 2 : Funding the 30 x 30 Roadmap. Moderated by Mitch Silverstein from the Surfrider Foundation of San Diego County. Panelists include Bobby Wallace, Mary Beth Woulfe, Rebecca Fris, Megan Cooper, David Mayer, Crystal Benham.

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Session 3: Engaging Youth in Conversation. Moderated by Steffani Clark-Jijon from the Escondido Creek Conservancy. Panelists include Vanessa Munoz, Lucero Sanchez,Bella Santos,Eleyn Xiong,Sree Kandhadai, Juan Troncoso.

Environmental Leadership Summit 2022 Reflection:

Olivia Magazino, volunteering as a fellow through the College Corps fellowship program.

Hi! My name is Olivia Magazino and I recently joined the Environmental Center of San Diego’s team. I am volunteering as a fellow through the College Corps fellowship program. This program is centered around community service and has a focus on climate action. The three goals of this program are to create a generation of civic-minded leaders, help low-income students graduate with less debt, and address societal challenges.

This past weekend I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Environmental Leadership Summit. This was a very new and exciting experience for me, and it felt that for the first time in my life, I was able to be a part of something truly meaningful. Throughout high school, I tried to become involved in many environmental initiatives. I attended various marches, protests, and meetings with other youth climate activists. These activities gave me a lot of hope in my generation because it was obvious that we all are very passionate about environmental action.

However, I always felt that these efforts were somewhat performative and were not able to make a large impact. I became somewhat discouraged that the adults in power would not listen to the youth climate movement because of our immaturity and lack of experience. For a long time, it seemed to me that the youth were somewhat alone at the forefront of this movement. When I attended the summit, however, I felt a strong sense of hope seeing so many adults who are deeply worried about climate change and committed to making this world a better place for future generations.

I loved hearing from various panelists about their current projects, whether that is working on the 30×30 campaign, restoring important habitats around California, or other important endeavors. I truly believe that California’s new 30×30 initiative will set the stage for our entire country to value conservation and protect its incredible biodiversity. This initiative will not only protect biodiversity, but it will also help with climate change and expand everyone’s access to nature.

It seemed that everyone at this panel had a very specific passion that they were pursuing, but a shared interest in helping our planet. I loved how there was an opportunity for the youth panelists to have a shared discussion with the adults, and think that our input in environmental politics needs to be considered in every discussion.

Climate change will not be tackled by people with one background – it needs to be a joint effort between generations, communities, and professions. This summit gave me hope that an inclusive and equitable conversation about climate change is possible.