Nicole Capretz, director of environmental policy for interim mayor Todd Gloria, was our guest on this week’s VOSD Radio podcast. She’s heading up the team responsible for the city’s Climate Action Plan, which “identifies measures to effectively meet greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2020 and 2035.”

What does that entail? Think adapting buildings to be more water efficient, incentivizing homeowners to be a little more conservative in their energy use, driving down waste to the little-to-no zone — all in the name of a cleaner San Diego.

Capretz told hosts Andrew Keatts and Mario Koran (Scott Lewis will be back next week) about the challenges and strategies of rolling out a long-term vision during a short-term mayoral administration. Check out some of the notable quotables from her interview.

Change is hard.

“We’re talking about real paradigm shifts, so there’s always going to be resistance to change, because that’s just human nature. But at the same time, I’m sensing a lot of momentum and excitement about: How do we redesign our streets so that they’re considerate of bikes and pedestrians and transit? How do we get more density in our communities so that people are living closer to work?”

The opposition to sustainability isn’t insurmountable.

“Traditionally the folks who might be raising the most concern are the usual suspects in the business community, who are again just concerned about more regulations and more requirements or demands on them. We have to work through these issues, and we have to develop a stakeholder process that allows a lot of opportunity for engagement and involvement in crafting the solution. But ultimately at the end of the day, we have to reduce our energy use.”

Energy efficiency empowers the people.

“I think we’re seeing a shift away from kind of the fossil fuel-based economy to a clean energy economy. And what that means is that ultimately all the economic drivers are coming into the neighborhoods. Because what we’re talking about when we are upgrading buildings to be more energy efficient is somebody here in San Diego going on top of a home in San Diego installing a rooftop panel or changing out the windows. Same for water development. We are moving toward more and more local water resources, and so again, that just puts the jobs and economic opportunity into our backyard. Same with food. More and more people are invested in growing food in our own backyard. That just brings entrepreneurship opportunities and job opportunities here, like homegrown economic development.”

Download the rest of the episode below to hear more from Capretz.

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Catherine Green was formerly the deputy editor at Voice of San Diego. She handled daily operations while helping to plan new long-term projects.

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