Branding and the Fight Against Water Injustice

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What does branding have to do with the fight for water injustice?

Life is pretty in New Cuyama, CA

As you approach New Cuyama, a small, unincorporated community located in the northeastern part of Santa Barbara County, you'll be greeted by vast expanses of rolling hills and picturesque valleys, covered in a mix of grasses and shrubs, with the distant peaks of the San Rafael Mountains towering in the background. The landscape is dominated by a warm, golden color palette, with shades of yellow and brown prevalent in the dry grasslands during the summer months and the vibe is rustic, with rural charm, and stunning natural beauty. This region is known for its diverse plant and animal species, including deer, rabbits, birds, and other desert-dwelling creatures.

But, this beautiful place has a hidden struggle.

The people of New Cuyama have been struggling to access clean and reliable water. Due to water-hungry practices of the world’s two largest carrot producers, Grimmway Farms and Bolthouse Farms, in addition to Harvard Management Company, which controls the investment of the university’s endowment.

These large agribusiness corporations have been draining water from The Cuyama Basin, the primary source of water for the town, at an unsustainable rate. This has resulted in the water basin receiving a classification from the State of California as being in "critical overdraft" and must come into sustainability by 2040 or face completely drying out.

In response The Cuyama Basin GSA, formed in June 2017, comprises representatives from the Cuyama Basin Water District, the counties that hold land in the valley, and the Cuyama Community Services District, which provides water and wastewater treatment to residents living in the New Cuyama area. The GSA has the power to potentially tax water use, impose restrictions, and fund projects that could increase inflow of water into the valley. To get a seat on the GSA, property owners in the Cuyama Valley formed the water district, which the county certified in 2017.

But Bolthouse and Grimmway have filed a lawsuit against all town residents of New Cuyama, alleging that the GSA water regulations don’t apply to them. The lawsuit has been seen as an act of water vampirism, where a corporation profits at the expense of a community's natural resources. The people of New Cuyama refuse to be victims of water injustice any longer. They’re fighting for their right to access clean and reliable water and to protect their community's health and livelihood.

There are many towns like New Cuyama.

Small towns across America are fighting against water inequality and injustice. Despite being located near abundant sources of freshwater, many of these towns face severe water scarcity and contamination issues, which disproportionately impact low-income communities and people of color.

But the people of these small towns aren’t giving up. They’re coming together with branding professionals to fight for their right to access clean and reliable water, and to hold larger corporations and government bodies accountable for their actions.

How branding professionals are helping areas like New Cuyama.

Climate designers in brand management integrate sustainability and climate change considerations. We use marketing efforts to drive positive change and contribute to addressing the challenges of climate injustice. Our goals include market research, strategic planning, branding, communication, and campaign execution, all with a focus on sustainability and climate-related issues.

Climate designers in brand management create activities like:

Green marketing: Developing and implementing marketing strategies that emphasize the environmental benefits of products or services, such as promoting energy-efficient appliances, eco-friendly cleaning products, or sustainable fashion, to encourage consumers to make more sustainable purchasing decisions.

Sustainability messaging: Creating communication campaigns that educate and raise awareness about climate change, environmental issues, and sustainable practices, aimed at motivating behavior change and encouraging more sustainable lifestyles among consumers.

Corporate sustainability initiatives: Developing and implementing sustainability initiatives within organizations, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving resources, implementing circular economy practices, or promoting social responsibility, and integrating these initiatives into marketing efforts to enhance brand reputation and customer loyalty.

Stakeholder engagement: Collaborating with internal and external stakeholders, including customers, partners, suppliers, and communities, to promote sustainability and climate-friendly practices through joint initiatives, partnerships, or advocacy efforts, and leveraging these collaborations in marketing campaigns.

Green product development: Collaborating with product development teams to identify and capitalize on opportunities for developing and promoting sustainable products or services, and integrating sustainability messaging and branding into the product development process and marketing efforts.

Climate designers in marketing play a crucial role in driving positive change by leveraging marketing strategies and tools to promote sustainability, environmental responsibility, and climate-friendly practices. Our efforts can help raise awareness, change consumer behaviors, and contribute to a more sustainable and resilient future for the planet.

The future of New Cuyama

Join us in supporting the people of New Cuyama in their fight against water injustice and sustainable agriculture. Together, we can help ensure that corporations are held accountable for their actions and that communities like New Cuyama have access to the resources they need to thrive.

Brand Management Studio

In Creative Co is focused on building brand communities around sustainable building design. We work with Architecture Firms, Engineering Firms, Interior Design Studios, Real Estate Developers, Sustainability Advisors, and Urban Design Firms who are doing important work for the planet at the intersection of the built and natural environments. We help them create more impact and amplify their reach while supporting their sustainability initiatives.

Our work is powered by our creative collective who has a shared passion for taking climate action now. If you're a creative freelancer who shares this passion, apply now to join “The Co” for community support and paid gig opportunities.

If you work with green buildings, hire In Creative Co to manage your brand. If you work outside of our niche, we can help refer you directly to a member of our creative collective.

Co-Founder of In Creative Co., Drea DeMarchi, has over a decade of leadership, design, promotion, and campaign experience. As an in-house Marketing Director in Engineering, she managed social media, email, and marketing campaigns, plus everything in-between. This led to a passion for climate change and breaking ground on how to be a climate designer within the building industry. Now as a co-founder and project manager for In Creative Co, she's working with sustainable building designers who want to make an impact on climate change. Reach out to Drea to chat about sustainability, climate change, and brand management.