Meet our Advisors: Katharine King

Katharine’s great talent is organizing projects that bring people together and support the community.  Early in her career, in her home state of Connecticut, she co-founded a statewide arts and education organization that placed artists in classrooms integrating the arts into basic education.  After making her way to California and briefly working in film, she re-committed to work on her passion, the performing arts.  For 28 years, she produced the Twilight Dance series at the Santa Monica Pier attended by thousands and showcasing acts from the world over. The Twilight Dance was a much-loved feature of local culture, entertainment and the local tourism economy.    

Katharine brought those same skills to bear in her work on climate. It was around 2006 that Katharine learned from a Bay-area friend about a new state law that would allow local communities to band together and procure clean renewable energy for themselves.  This was an alternative to the prevailing investor-owned monopolistic electric utility, and it allowed formation of locally governed non-profit entities called community choice aggregators, to buy and sell energy.   The potential and importance of this concept as a climate solution motivated Katharine to connect with others working to bring this concept to Southern California and Santa Monica.  Katharine gave presentations and worked with other advocates and local government representatives to push the concept forward.  After years of lawsuits, advocacy, and proof-of-concept around the state, local success was finally achieved in 2018 when the Clean Power Alliance (CPA) was launched as the region’s community choice aggregation organization.  The CPA has since reduced greenhouse gas emissions by over 1 million metric tons, the equivalent of removing over 200,000 gasoline powered cars from the road. Providing clean renewable energy to the community through the CPA is the top-ranking climate action in the city of Santa Monica Climate Action and Adaptation plan.  

It was in 2013 that Michael Tarbet and other members of the Church in Ocean Park saw a need for a local community group to focus on the climate crisis, and a small group was convened to explore the issue.  That group agreed to form Climate Action Santa Monica, and Katharine, who was active on the Church board at that time, once again stepped up with her management talents to serve as co-chair of CASM’s Steering Committee.  Katharine remains an active CASM Advisor and participant, and continues to support a number of civic and charitable initiatives.

Katharine offers this reflection on her work for climate.  “While it was a bit of a slog…to watch, participate in and experience the CPA going from mere concept to being realized it’s confirmation that climate activism can & does make a difference. We can’t stop now.  There’s so much to do!”

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