A Prayer for the Earth
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hand carefully pouring water on a small plant.

Cabrillo GreenSteps is a college-wide effort to save money and improve our environmental performance. It began as a project of the Cabrillo College Climate Initiative Task Force, with the support of the student Sustainability Council and is now maintained by the Sustainability and Climate Planning Committee.

The goal is to provide information and a point of connection with the wide range of diverse efforts working to make our campus and community more sustainable.


  • Biology A.S.
  • Geography A.A.
  • Bilingual/Bicultural Studies A.A.
  • Environmental Science A.S.
  • Energy Management A.S. Degree
  • Sustainable Agriculture Technology A.S.

  • Basic energy Management
  • Permaculture Skills Certificate
  • Anti Bias Curriculum ECE
  • Solar Derived Energy Management Skills Certificate
  • Sustainable and Organic Food Production Skills Certificate
  • Sustainability – coming soon

This is a partial list. What classes are missing?

  • ES 10/ES10L Introduction to Environmental Science
  • ES 15 Energy for a Sustainable Future
  • ENGL24A/B Native American Prose & Poetry
  • GEOG 1 Physical Geography
  • GEOG 2 Cultural Geography
  • GEOG 3 Introduction to Weather & Climate
  • GEOL 10 Physical Geology
  • HS 24 Environmental Health
  • HORT 176 Permaculture Design
  • HORT 70 Organic Agriculture
  • HORT 170 Sustainable Landscaping
  • HORT 164 California Native Plants and Plant Communities
  • SOC 2 Contemporary Social Problems
  • SOC 3 Race Ethnicity & Society
  • SOC 4 Gender and Society
  • SOC 5 Introduction to Latino/a Studies
  • ENGR 98A Global Engineering
  • ANTHR 1 Introduction to Anthropology: Biological
  • ANTHR 2 Introduction to Anthropology: Cultural
  • ANTHR 6 Peoples and Cultures of Non-Western Tradition: California
  • ANTHR 7 Peoples and Cultures of Non-Western Tradition: North America
  • ASTRO 7 Planetary Climate Science
  • BBS 32 Issues of Linguistic ad Cultural Diversity in Education, History, and Politics
  • COMM 12 Intercultural Communication
  • OCEAN 20 Oceanography
  • BIO 11B Marine Biology
  • BIO 11C Ecology
  • HIST 24 History of California
  • HIST 27A/B Native American Literature and History
  • WS 1 Introduction to Women's Studies
  • WS 2 Global Perspectives on Women and Gender

Learn by Doing : Earn credits for participating in sustainability research, planning and/or applied sustainability projects at Cabrillo College (1-4 units, ISE); contact Karen Groppi or Matthew Weis for more information

The following are reports, class modules and materials for teaching and learning about sustainability, developed or compiled by Cabrillo faculty as part of the Engaged Interdisciplinary Learning in Sustainability grant we received from the National Science Foundation 2011-2013.

The Engaged Interdisciplinary Learning in Sustainability (EILS) project was designed to integrate new pedagogies, analytical skills and applied techniques to daily activities and practices critical to sustainability in the context of higher education.
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At CHESC in Santa Barbara, June 24th-25th, 2013, Karen Groppi (Engineering) and Michelle Merrill (Anthropology) were among several co-facilitators at the Sustainable Engineering and Ecological Design Consortium‘s workshop: Putting Sustainability to Work: How town-gown relationships can better prepare the next green-tech workforce.
They prepared a poster for the session highlighting the successes of student organizations and curriculum projects at Cabrillo in creating collaborative community connections, and handouts on “Social Learning for Sustainability and Abundance” and “Interdisciplinary Team, Project, Problem and Service based Learning Experiences in Sustainability.”

Campus Projects

This Plan was completed in May 2016 and approved by the Board of Trustees in fall of 2016. It was developed using the California Community Colleges Chancellors Office Sustainability Plan Template with input from various Cabrillo stakeholders, by the Sustainability and Climate Planning Committee.

This document contains a detailed list of completed, current and proposed energy efficiency projects at all Cabrillo campuses (Aptos and Watsonville) as of January 2014.

Thanks to the efforts of the Cabrillo Sustianability Council, the Inter-Club Council (ICC) and Student Senate passed a sustainable purchasing resolution in 2011. This resolution requires all clubs, their members, and the Student Senate to purchase and use sustainable products for all club or Student Senate events, on and off campus. To help clubs comply, the ICC spent $1000 and the Student Senate spent $2000 on biodegradable, compostable food-service ware (now in SAC East’s storage room) for all clubs to use for events where food is sold or given away.

Empowered by a California Student Sustainability Coalition Composting Microgrant, the Sustainability Council is currently exploring viable options to reinstate organic waste diversion and start composting at Cabrillo's main Aptos campus.


By action of the Governing Board in November 2011, Cabrillo became a partner in the Monterey Bay Regional Climate Compact which seeks to reduce global climate change through collaborative efforts of local governments, agencies and institutions.

Cabrillo is working with the partnership to create opportunities for under-employed, low-income, minority individuals and women, and at-risk youth in clean, green technology.

As a member organization, Cabrillo students, staff, and faculty may create a login for full access to the many resources collected from colleges across the country.

In 2007, then president Brian King signed the ACUPCC (now known as Second Nature's Carbon Commitment), which outlines Cabrillo's goal of achieving carbon neutrality. To meet this commitment, Cabrillo College has completed a Climate Action Plan and files annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories,and Progress Reports. To learn more, peruse Second Nature's blog The Implementer or the ACUPCC Implementation Guide.

Cabrillo's Sustainability Council is the local chapter of this statewide, non-profit organization that supports and connects students, helping them to transform their educational institutions into models of sustainability.

Cabrillo Sustainability Organizations

Formerly the Climate Initiative Task Force, this committee is charged with recommending environmental initiatives that reduce energy consumption and improve environmental performance at Cabrillo College. It is a subcommittee of the Facilities Planning Committee, which reports to the College Planning Council (CPC). The committee also provides requisite reports to the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment (now known as Second Nature) and maintains this website.

Current Projects:
  • Campus-Wide Sustainability Plan Update
  • Carbon Emissions Inventory Narrative
  • Second Nature (formerly ACUPCC)Progress Report
  • Solar PV for Cabrillo
  • Waste Diversion

Choose the Meetings tab and search for Sustainability and Climate Planning.

Spring 2020 Meetings:

Second Friday of the month at 2:00 pm. in SAC W 214

  • February 7 First Friday  (second is a holiday)
  • March  13
  • April 10
  • May 8

Cabrillo Solar PV Project
  • Coming summer 2021

Meetings, Agenda & Minutes:
  • All agendas & meeting minutes beginning with 2016 can now be found on BoardDocs (click the logo below)

    Choose "Enter Public Site"

    Click on goverenment building icon in upper right corner of screen

    Choose "Sustainability Subcommitte" from drop down menu

climate change cartoon

This group of faculty meet monthly to collaborate on Campus sustainability outreach and awareness projects as well as developing, and sharing course related sustainability curriculum.

Our purpose is to consider these questions and facilitate campus- wide conversations and development of curriculum for a sustainable future.

  • What does it mean for Cabrillo to have Sustainable Culture?

  • What does it mean to thrive? What does your better world look like?

  • How does your discipline contribute to the vision we want?

  • How can efforts in your discipline interrupt unsustainable activities?

Spring 2020 Sustainable Culture Sub-Committee meetings will be held on the first Fridays of the month at 12:30 pm, in room 820A

  • February 7
  • March 6
  • April 3
  • May 1

We’ll share food and conversation about engaging our campus community with sustainability ideals across disciplinary boundaries. Contact Elizabeth Flynn or Karen Groppi to learn more. New for Cabrillo Instructors: A Canvas site for downloading, sharing and collaborating on Sustainable Curriculum! Email Karen Groppi for access.

Spring 2018 Flex Week discussion:

What does it mean for Cabrillo to have Sustainable Culture?

January 23, 2018
  • What does it mean to thrive? What does your better world look like?
  • How does your discipline contribute to the vision we want?
  • How can efforts in your discipline interrupt unsustainable activities?


Sustainable Curriculum Resources
AASHE Curriculum Cabrillo community members can get access to resources ranging from curriculum to facilities` by registering with a Cabrillo email or requesting access.

Sustainability Curriculum Consortium: Provides webinars and scholarly research & dialog.

North American Association for Environmental Education

National Coucil for Science and the Environment: Community College Handbook for Sustainabiltiy Education and Operations

SEED Sustainability, Education & Economic Development

SEED UCSC Sustainable Engineering & Ecological Design


cabrillo sustainability council logo
Cabrillo Sustainability Council

The Cabrillo Sustainability Council is a student club at Cabrillo College, organized to raise awareness and facilitate action to address the key issues related to the environmental sustainability of our college and community.

  • Initiated a petition drive and held a Bag the (Plastic) Bag Event to rid Cabrillo College and Santa Cruz County of plastic take-out, single-use bags
  • Passed resolution for a sustainable purchasing policy at Cabrillo by Cabrillo organizations
  • Won a grant from the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District to hire and promote an online carpooling service
  • Got “Graduation Hydration Stations” and reusable bottle sales to replace single-use plastic bottled water sales
  • Organizes annual Earth Week events with guest presenters from community organizations Chapter of the the California Student Sustainability Coalition

Bike Co-op logo

Cabrillo College Bicycle Cooperative

The Bike Co-op provides the Cabrillo Community with bike tool access, mechanical training, work space, and discounted parts to encourage the use of bicycles as a means of carbon-free, sustainable, low-cost transportation.

  • Provides Cabrillo students and the surrounding community with the tools, space, and education to use bicycles as a means of sustainable, low-cost transportation
  • Creates a safe space for individuals of any age, gender, nationality, religion or social status to feel accepted, inspired and empowered
  • Hosts solar powered community Bike to Work events.
  • Partnered with County Social Services to provide bike for client
  • We're on Facebook; Bike Co-op

Currently Inactive:

Cabrillo Permaculture Club

This a student group formed to discuss the principles of permaculture as set forth by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, and to then apply those principles to our environment. Permaculture (permanent agriculture) is an approach to designing human settlements and agricultural systems that mimic the relationships found in natural ecologies.

Community Green

A chapter of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) , whose mission is to promote a better world for future generations by providing resources about building construction methods that conserve natural resources and create a healthy environment.

California Student Sustainability Coalition

As a chapter of the California Student Student Sustainability Coalition (CSSC), Cabrillo students can connect with other sustainability-minded students throughout the state.


Cabrillo Sustainability Presentations:

Flex Week Spring 2016

Scholarship Opportunity:
La'akea Sky Smith Sustainability Nonendowed Scholarship
  • Sustainability Council honors Sky's memory by offering a $500-$1000 Cabrillo College
  • transfer students, active in the Sustainability Council, pursuing a baccalaureate degree in
  • the environmental science, sustainability or ecology field. Due March 10, 2017, 5:00 pm.

Community Programs:

Green Steps Documents:
  • Green Steps Slideshow PDF | PowerPoint
  • Green Steps Classroom Flier Please help post these in classrooms and offices around campus.
  • Green Steps Action Labels Please use r poster putty to affix these where they will serve as reminders.

Energy Efficiency Programs
  • California Energy Commission Energy Efficiency Programs
  • Efficiency Services Programs

Carbon Footprint Calculators
Resources Documentation
  • Sustainability Board Presentation (Karen Groppi, Jan. 21, 2016) TBC

Watsonville Campus - Solari Green Technology Center
  • Certified LEED Platinum in October, 2012
  • Passive-solar design of Building D
  • Grid-tied rooftop Photovoltaic Power
  • Radiant underfloor heating
Horticulture Facility Photovoltaic Glazing

The Horticulture Department's greenhouse facilities now contain some windows that also serve as photo-voltaic panels - allowing light to pass through for the plans while also generating clean energy.
Horticulture greenhouse with LUMO photovoltaic glazinig (red) on roof.
the second image is of Close-up view of LUMO windows with integrated PV.

Embrace Transportation Alternatives:

Cabrillo offers options to help students faculty and staff avoid the parking hassles and find more sustainable alternatives to the Single-Occupant-Vehicle (SOV) commute, including bikes, buses & carpooling.

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Students pay a Transportation Fee which entitles them to unlimited rides on the Santa Cruz Metro Transit District buses! Show your Cabrillo card with current sticker to the bus driver, hop on and forget about traffic and looking for a parking space. Learn how to get your card. This program is currently renewed through the 2020/21 school year.

Route 71: per a request from the Cabrillo Student Senate, Santa Cruz Metro modified the #71 bus route to include a stop at Union & Beach streets in downtown Watsonville, improving public transit access to Cabrillo's Watsonville campus.


Commute Solutions
Cruz511 For even more Santa Cruz County transportation resources and solutions

Our Emissions Inventories found that student commutes account for a large portion of our greenhouse gas emissions at Cabrillo. The utilization of these alternatives are critical to meeting the goals of our Climate Action Plan.
circle info graphic for cabrillo college major sector emmissions for 2014

Did you know? Google maps can show you the bus, biking and walking directions and estimated times from any destination. Click through for the larger map below and enter your starting address to learn more.

News & Events

The first Earth Day on April 22nd, 1970 mobilized 20 million American citizens, from all walks of life to demonstrate in favor of environmental reform. In the Cabrillo College and surrounding sustainability community, this celebration of environmental awareness and protection has grown into an entire week of events.
Now observed in over 192 countries, help build into the largest secular holiday in the world and participate in events across Santa Cruz County!

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Cabrillo Earth Week 2020


Join the Cabrillo GreenSteps Team for the Drawdown EcoChallenge

Our team members are committing to  actions  that will lower atmospheric carbon dioxide per the methods outlined by Project Drawdown.  Competition extends until May 1, 2020. Let’s do this together!

Join Cabrillo’s Team


Intro to Fungi with Christian Schwarz

Sustainability Council Presents: Intro to Fungi with Christian Schwarz: Thursday, April 23, 2020 @ 5:00-7:00 pm Zoom Link for live interactive session. Zoom Recording (coming soon)


A Prayer for the Earth

Watch this short film featuring Stan Rushworth, Cabrillo English Faculty and author  and participate in this live Webinar: Thursday, April 23, 2020 @ 7:00 pm. Zoom Recording


Film Festival
Make some popcorn.  Choose your film. Choose your time. Sit back and enjoy. It’s all online.

Films recommended by Cabrillo sustainers.


Celebrating beyond Cabrillo:


Santa Cruz Event: Earth Day Live is a 3-day consecutive livestream including speakers, performers, and trainers.  Go here for much more info:



Earth Optimism Summit

Smithsonian Conservation Commons Live broadcasts Wednesday, April 22 – Saturday, April 24



Global Earthday events:


greensteps logo
Campus-Wide Sustainability Plan

Please contact Karen Groppi to request a copy

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