Holly Alyea
& Sarah Lusina

Project: Communities for Climate Hope (C4CH)


Holly’s 9 to 5 is running a small planning office focussed on space development and pre-design for institutions including colleges, universities, public libraries, and municipalities. Traditionally, her approach here has been “less is more” and “small is beautiful.” With LEED and LEAN certifications, she works to align the value between form and function. She holds a Masters in Urban Planning from UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning.

Holly’s morning, evening and weekend rituals rotate between friend and family time, island time (Cortes), and meeting time at the Strathcona Community Centre meetings as Board Chair. Committed to making every effort to give back to the community in which she lives and loves, she has participated on the Flats Arterial Community Panel and the Eastside Culture Crawl Society Board.


Committed to contributing to community life, Sarah serves as President at the Trout Lake Community Centre Association (TLCCA). TLCCA is one of many citizen-led boards that jointly operates community centres with the Vancouver Park Board. In this role, Sarah realised huge potential to engage Vancouverites on climate issues. Working with CCA boards and Park Board staff, Sarah has envisioned a framework that mobilises the most impactful information about what individuals and communities can do to address the climate emergency. When knitted together, local level efforts can have big impact.

Sarah’s career has centred on moving evidence into action. She has led knowledge translation and community engagement strategies for interdisciplinary research teams tackling complex health, social, and economic challenges. Currently, she is the Director of Partnerships for a team within UBC’s Faculty of Medicine and works with community organisations to implement evidence-based programming to promote health. Sarah holds MSc in Experimental Medicine from UBC a Certificate in Dialogue from SFU.


Communities for Climate Hope (C4CH) aims to engage, empower, and educate citizens on the climate action and more sustainable lifestyles. Working with Vancouver’s civic recreation system and through the community centre associations (CCAs) that jointly operate the centres, C4CH will strength the network of community-based and municipal departments positioned to support climate action at the citizen level. Together, recreation system offerings and policies can prioritize opportunities for citizens to learn about climate issues and sustainable lifestyles.

Household consumption is responsible for significant amounts of global GHG emissions. Interventions that target household consumption and individual lifestyle behaviours, like C4CH, may not be the big ‘dial movers’ like transformations in transportation and building heating systems. However, when household and individual efforts are combined, there is huge potential for significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

When CCAs, through the recreation system, work collectively to provide opportunities for citizens and organisations to unite on climate issues, we will transform apathy, anxiety, and disconnected efforts into hope, possibilities, and amplified, meaningful actions across levels in society. C4CH could be an important mechanism promote the culture shift needed to spur even more impactful shifts in consumption and emissions.

In a World Economic Forum webcast Greta Thunberg said: “I ask you to pledge to do everything in your power...” This big call inspired us to reflect on what small “power” we might have and how we could lean into that support the climate action movement. We realised the significant reach and structure that the recreation and CCA network had and the potential for this system to engage citizens. With Council’s climate emergency motion, the time was right to ask CCA boards, communities, and recreation staff what we could do together to inspire climate action. Here, the C4CH initiative was born.


We are mothers and passionate citizens. We are community health and urban planning professionals ready to commit our time to curb emissions, quell anxiety about climate change, and create a sustainable, healthy, inclusive, and just world. In all that we do, we embrace a transformative, feminist style of leadership recognising the contributions of all. We will work in true collaboration with our CCA boards, Park Board staff, and communities to develop C4CH. As it develops, we look forward to stepping aside to make space for underrepresented voices in our communities so that they can lead this work.