A Tale of Three Valleys

GCAS - Affiliate Event LogoSilicon Valley, Coyote Valley, and the french silicon valley - integrated climate strategies through adaptive land use


Tuesday, September 11, 2018


Before it was Silicon Valley, the Santa Clara County was a mecca for farming. As the 20th century gave way to the 21st, urban sprawl consumed much of the prime soils of the valley floor. Today, preserving the remaining open space is the key to mitigating climate change and its impact on this vital economic engine.

The Tale of Three Valleys tour, a Global Climate Action Summit Affiliate Event, will showcase how multiple groups across the world are working together to build landscape level climate mitigation and resilience in high growth areas like Silicon Valley and the French Silicon Valley, just south of Paris. This day-long tour includes two stops:

  • San Jose City Hall where Mayor Liccardo will highlight the City of San Jose's Climate Smart plan and how transit, jobs, housing, and nature all can be integrated into comprehensive land use strategies
  • An al fresco farm to table lunch overlooking the 7,400-acre Coyote Valley just south of downtown San Jose

In the true spirit of the Global Climate Action Summit, both stops will provide practical insights into tools that we are using that can be adapted to your own climate-fighting efforts at home. Experience the agricultural heritage of Coyote Valley with organic, locally grown produce from Spade and Plow during lunch. And along the way, we'll point out many Silicon Valley landmarks, including Google, Apple, Facebook, and others.

Alternatively we have just added a half day option for those who wish to attend a portion of our affiliate event. This portion of the tour will start at 10:30 a.m. at San Jose City Hall, continue on to lunch in Coyote Valley, and end back in downtown San Jose by 3:00 p.m. If this option works better for you, please register for the Half Day.

Coyote Ridge - Stephen Joseph

Five strategies that prove natural infrastructure conservation and agricultural preservation strategies can coexist on the fringes of San Jose will be the focus of our day.

On this day long bus tour and farm to table lunch, you will learn:

  • How to evaluate historical ecology in order to develop effective land protection strategies in the face of high demand for housing.
  • How to position land conservation as a winning strategy to optimize agricultural interests, improve wildlife resilience and positively impact water resources.
  • How enlightened government policy can simultaneously support the needs of a growing population and natural resource conservation.
  • How tools such as greenhouse gas quantification, hydrological analysis, and wildlife monitoring build the case for conservation.
  • How low carbon agricultural certification brings conservation and agricultural interests together.

Tour Route and Agenda

8:30 – 9:00 a.m.  Check-in and board Motorcoach at Moscone Center, San Francisco
 9:00 a.m.  Depart Moscone Center towards San Jose
 10:30 a.m.  Arrive in downtown San Jose for a short presentation (Half day starts here)
 11:30 a.m.  Depart downtown San Jose for Coyote Valley
12:00 - 12:30 p.m.  Driving tour through Coyote Valley
 12:30 p.m.  Arrive at Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve
 12:45 p.m.   Lunch is served
12:45 - 1:30 p.m.  Presentations
1:30 - 2:15 p.m.  Guided Trail Walks
 2:15 p.m.  Return to Motorcoach for departure to San Francisco or for Half Day departure to San Jose
4:30 p.m.  Arrive back at Moscone Center


Using the strategies outlined above, we are working to preserve the remaining open space in Coyote Valley through climate smart mitigation and adaptation land use strategies. These efforts maximize the climate benefits of the remaining natural infrastructure, and complement the City of San Jose’s focus on developing jobs, housing and transportation in the urban center of the city.

Located just south of San José, Coyote Valley is rich with natural and working lands that provide important benefits to urban residents such as wildlife-friendly agricultural production, carbon sequestration, ground water storage and recharge, the potential for improving downstream flooding in high water years, and providing a viable passage for wildlife between two mountain ranges across the valley floor. Climate mitigation strategies are already in place here by way of the Santa Clara Valley Agricultural Plan and the Climate Smart Plan, both of which offer multiple solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

But this is not just a local issue. In a remarkable parallel, a French non-governmental organization - Terre et Cité is working to preserve agriculture and wildlife passages just 20km south of Paris on the Plateau de Saclay, close to an area known as the “French Silicon Valley”. Terre et Cité is developing climate-based agricultural preservation tools of its own, working closely with local researchers and other stakeholders. Here, too, greenhouse gas reduction and climate adaptation strategies integrate urban and rural infrastructure solutions by considering them as a comprehensive whole. The work of both the Authority and Terre et Cité offers significant opportunities to learn from respective experiences and share best practices that can benefit other global organizations facing similar challenges. These efforts reflect the goal of the Global Climate Action Summit: bringing together organizations to demonstrate climate action taking place on a global scale.

Capacity for this tour is limited to 112 guests. Please register by August 29th. This Global Climate Action Summit Affiliate Event is hosted by the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority, County of Santa Clara, City of San Jose, and Terre et Cité, with support from Peninsula Open Space Trust and the League of Women Voters.

What to Bring and Expect
The tour will depart at 9:00 am sharp and will return at 4:30 pm. This is an all-day event and the cost is $20 USD.

Sturdy, closed toe walking shoes, comfortable clothing, sun protection, and a hat are recommended. Snack, refreshments, and lunch is included. A restroom is available on the bus. Facilities will also be available during lunch.

Photos are welcome.

Download the event flyer to share!

About the Global Climate Action Summit
The Global Climate Action Summit will take place from September 12-14, 2018 in San Francisco, California and the affiliate events will take place from September 10-14. The Summit brings together state and local governments, business, and citizens from around the world to showcase climate action taking place, thereby demonstrating how the tide has turned in the race against climate change and inspiring deeper national commitments in support of the Paris Agreement.