Nancy Sanchez

Climate Action Fellow – Outreach- Nancy Sanchez

As an anthropologist, Nancy focused her academic career on Archaeology learning about indigenous cultures and the importance of diverse voices in the museum field. While she was highly interested in archaeology, her love for environmental work and community engagement led her to focusing on environmental anthropology. Nancy joined Climate Action Santa Monica (CASM), as a Climate Action Fellow  through the Californians for All Youth Workforce Development Program. In her position she helps run CASM’s Climate Corps Program, conducts outreach for the Westside Mobility Project, and organizes the Santa Monica Climate Action Network (SAMOCAN) online educational forums.  She is working with the  Office of Sustainability and volunteers on zero waste, aiming to reduce the climate impact of waste in landfills, and from plastics that are made of fossil fuels and that pollute our ocean. As an environmental anthropologist she is interested in the connection between humans and the environments which they inhabit, especially how humans are adapting to the effects of climate change.

More Information:

Nancy Sanchez earned her B.A. in Anthropology from California State University Dominguez Hills and has done graduate studies at California State University Los Angeles.

Meet Our Advisors

Meet Our Advisors: Robert Lempert

CASM Advisor Dr. Robert Lempert helps create some of the world’s most influential reports on climate.  He is a coordinating lead author for Working Group II of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, a chapter lead for the Fourth US National Climate Assessment, chair of the peer review panel for California’s Fourth Climate Assessment, and a member of California’s Climate-Safe Infrastructure Working Group.  He has been a member of numerous study panels for the U.S. National Academies, including America’s Climate Choices and Informing Decisions in a Changing Climate.  He is also a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  

At the Rand Corporation, Dr. Lempert is a principal researcher and Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for Longer Range Global Policy and the Future Human Condition.  His work focuses on climate risk management and decision-making under conditions of deep uncertainty.  Dr. Lempert was the Inaugural EADS Distinguished Visitor in Energy and Environment at the American Academy in Berlin and the inaugural president of the Society for Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty ( A Professor of Policy Analysis in the Pardee RAND Graduate School, Dr. Lempert is an author of the book Shaping the Next One Hundred Years: New Methods for Quantitative, Longer-Term Policy Analysis.

Rob’s research is complemented by the types of at-home actions so many of us adopt, for example trying to re-use water for irrigation to landscape vegetation.  He volunteers at the city-level too,  and has served on Santa Monica’s Commission on Sustainability, Environmental Justice and the Environment, helping the city adopt sound and effective policy and programs.

Laurene Von Klan

Meet our Steering Committee: Laurene Von Klan

Executive Director and Steering Committee Member!

Growing up in cities, Laurene saw a lot of urban grit and pollution. As a teen, she resolved to help create clean, green, safe, livable cities where people and nature could live together happily. This has been Laurene’s passion ever since, and she has found ways to pursue this goal by working in the non-profit sector, where she has worked in a variety of leadership positions. At Friends of the Chicago River, she helped re-develop, revitalize the River, and launch a national movement to restore urban rivers. What she loved most about this work was connecting to people in her community and creative activism.

When Laurene and her family moved to Santa Monica 12 years ago, she took time away from this passion to focus on being a mother to her son and she became a certified dog trainer. She and her dog compete in dog sports. And now, her son is part of the California Conservation Corps.
Laurene felt a strong call to return to community environmental work amid the urgency of the climate crisis, so she joined CASM as a Steering Committee member and is now CASM’s Executive Director.  In this role, she is focused on harnessing people’s desire to tackle climate issues by building a strong organization that offers opportunities for meaningful change.  “Santa Monica is the best place ever to be working on climate,” she says. “Just about everyone cares and wants action.”  Laurene loves meeting new people and hopes to get to know you at one of CASM’s events.

Meet our Advisors: Gina Garcia

Meet our Advisors: Gina Garcia

Having moved from the East Coast to Santa Monica over 35 years ago, Gina considers herself a native. In addition to her current roles as Co-Executive Director, Community Sustainability Director, and Buy Local Santa Monica Manager, she has worn many additional hats since she began her journey with Sustainable Works in 2007. Her first roles were as Outreach Volunteer and Workshop Instructor. In early 2009, she became the Coordinator of the Student Greening Program and supervised its expansion into the Los Angeles Community College District breaking participation records at Santa Monica College. In August 2010, Gina transferred to the Residential Greening Program as its Director, a position which allowed her to bring issues of sustainability to a broader segment of the Los Angeles Community. When the Residential Greening Program transitioned to the Community Sustainability Program in 2013, Gina began the coordination of city-wide community events, producing over 50 events to date. Gina became Co-Executive Director of Sustainable Works in July 2014, executing the mission and managing the overall operations and growth of the organization. As an Advisory Board Member of Climate Action Santa Monica (CASM), a local grassroots organization dedicated to empowering the community to action on climate change, Gina has the opportunity to connect with and learn from another local nonprofit. She draws inspiration from her family and strives to be a model for her two daughters. She holds a BA in Speech & Theater from Montclair State University and a certification in Horticulture from UCLA.

Meet our Advisors: Jeff Bush

Meet our Advisors: Jeff Bush

Jeff Bush is a long-time resident of Santa Monica and has many years of corporate energy and utility industry experience. He has served in analytical, regulatory, managerial, and business development roles, developed new service offerings, and testified as a witness before the California Public Utilities Commission.  He also helped structure energy transactions to help corporations, commercial businesses, and universities manage energy cost volatility, and achieve savings and renewable energy/greenhouse gas reduction goals.  He has been following the progress of the Clean Power Alliance and has helped CASM identify opportunities to enroll additional Santa Monica meters in CPA without incurring additional costs.  He currently operates a consulting business, Greenbush Capital LLC, which provides insight into the California and West Coast wholesale electricity, capacity, and RPS markets. He has an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from UCD and an MBA from UCLA.  Having worked in so many parts of the energy industry, Jeff brings expertise to CASM’s efforts to accelerate decarbonization of our energy system. In his spare time, Jeff is an avid biker and runner. 

Jeff’s favorite climate action: working with the CASM team and also spending time exploring the great outdoors.

Meet our Advisors: Katharine King

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!”

Meet our Advisors: William Selby

Meet our Advisors: William Selby

William Selby accrued valuable experiences in private industry before beginning his teaching career in 1981. He taught geography and science for different grade levels and age groups, before taking his full-time position at Santa Monica College in 1985. In addition to teaching a wide range of earth science courses at SMC and serving in several leadership roles, Professor Selby has organized and led many field trips throughout the state and beyond with his colleagues and students. He helped establish SMC’s Center for Environmental and Urban Studies, hosted their lectures series, and served as an advisor to the City. His work with SMC’s Global Citizenship initiatives includes the production of field guide booklets, films, and teaching geography, and science courses for the Study Abroad Program. He has been one of the most requested speakers for SMC’s Speakers Bureau for community groups, and has presented papers each year for professional organizations; such as the AAG, APCG, and CGS. He is a decades-long member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA).        

His diverse research interests and professional and personal activities reflect Professor Selby’s devotion to earth science, geography, atmospheric science, and environmental studies. His book, Rediscovering the Golden State: California Geography, combines his academic expertise and practical experiences within California’s myriad landscapes to present an invaluable guide to developments and issues that are changing California in the twenty-first century. 

Selby was featured as science consultant in the 2020 documentary, Dry Times, a story about the impacts of California’s prolonged drought. He carries decades of personal and professional weather observations and climate research experiences from numerous sources (including the National Weather Service) into his latest California Weather and Climate Guide project, anchored by a major publication scheduled to appear next year.

Meet our Advisors: Jing Liu

Meet our Advisors: Jing Liu

Jing Liu is a Geography Professor teaching a host of classes that include Physical Geography and GIS (Geographic Information Science) at Santa Monica College. Jing earned her Bachelor’s degree in Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China in 2007 and her Master’s degree in Beijing Normal University and the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing, China in 2010. She then traveled across the Pacific Ocean to the United States and earned her PhD from the Department of Geography at the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2017.

Her research interests include digital soil mapping, citizen science, and spatial analysis. In her classes, she uses various spatial technologies to teach topics in Physical Geography, Environmental Study/Science, and Climate Change. Below are a few examples:

  • Using PurpleAir to guide students to explore the air pollution issues in different areas in Los Angeles, and lead students to critically think and discuss topics in Environmental Justice. 
  • Using Google Earth Engine and ArcGIS Online to guide students to explore the spatial variation of ground-surface temperature in Los Angeles, and lead students to find the environmental factors that may contribute to the differences. Students will also discuss potential solutions that can help solve the Urban Heat Island Inequity problems.   Last year, Jing advised CASM’s youth Climate Corps on using data to generate urban heat island maps.
  • Collaborating with Adventure Scientists Organization on the Global Microplastics Initiative Project to map and to analyze the hot spots of micro-plastic pollution in East-Pacific and US water bodies. 
  • Use SurgingSeas to guide students to explore the risks brought by the rising sea-level and the impacts on coastal cities
  • Use Web Maps and Apps to guide students to explore and think how location intelligence can play a role in combating various climate crisis

Kent Strumpell

Meet our Steering Committee: Kent Strumpell

In the mid 90s, Kent drove a primitive electric vehicle that only went 40 miles on a good day.  Nonetheless, it still served his needs for getting around the Westside of LA, convincing him to produce an educational film on the viability of that nascent technology.  Since then, he found that cycling could meet most of his local mobility needs and he turned his attention to bicycle advocacy.  Today he is still an early adopter, now using an electric bike for nearly all local trips.  

In addition to his work on the CASM Steering Committee, Kent is a 15 year appointee to the City of LA’s Bicycle Advisory Committee and regularly interacts with local governments on their transportation and land use plans.  It is his strong belief that the design of our cities strongly influences our carbon footprints.  Through his volunteer work in transportation and sustainable community planning advocacy, Kent has gained extensive experience in community outreach, producing community planning workshops and working collaboratively with city agencies.  

Kent’s favorite climate actions are helping friends convert their bikes into electric bikes, fine tuning his green home features and advocating for climate action at the political level.

Judy Abdo

Meet our Steering Committee: Judy Abdo

Judy Abdo is a founding member of Climate Action Santa Monica. However, Judy Abdo’s experience and accomplishments show her wide reaching commitment to the Santa Monica community and to the region.

A Santa Monica City Council member from 1988 to 1996, Judy Abdo served three years as the Mayor. She retired as the Director of Child Development Services for the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District in 2012. Currently, she is Vice Chair of the First 5 LA Commission. She is a member of the Santa Monica Early Education and Childcare Task Force Steering Committee and is a member of the Committee for Excellent Public Schools Steering Committee in Santa Monica. She taught kindergarten and primary grades for 13 years.

She earned a B.A. degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of California, Santa Barbara and has done graduate work in Human Development at Pacific Oaks College.  She holds a lifetime Early Childhood Credential.  She attended Hollywood High School, Le Conte Jr High, and elementary school at Warren Lane in Inglewood.

She has served on the Metropolitan Water District Board for 25 years, representing the City of Santa Monica. She is also currently a member of the Steering Committee of Climate Action Santa Monica. She was a founding member of Santa Monica Forward, and is chair of the Electric Vehicle subcommittee of the Santa Monica Environmental Task Force.  Finally, she has served on the Board of the Ocean Park Association for almost 8 years.

Previously, Abdo was the Assistant Director of the Norton Family Office and Peter Norton Family Foundation.  She also served four years as a Council Deputy for the City of West Hollywood.  She served as Executive Director of the nonprofit Ocean Park Community Organization.  She was the Administrator of the Church in Ocean Park for 37 years.

She was a founder of Sojourn Shelter for battered women and children, a founder of the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corp, a former Board Member of the Neighborhood Support Center, and of the Santa Monica AIDS Project. She was a member of the Ocean Park Community Center Board of Directors for 19 years.  She was a long-time member of the Steering Committee of Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights. Finally, she served as Chair of the Urban Forest Task Force.

Judy’s favorite climate action: reducing water usage.