Case Study – Charlottesville, Virginia

A More Approachable Climate Action Plan

EarthWork Collective and Charlottesville’s Environmental Sustainability team distilled a comprehensive Climate Action Plan into a citizen-friendly, engaging, and actionable 16 pages.


The City of Charlottesville first committed to actively reducing Greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by joining the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement in 2006. In 2017, they became a signatory to the enhanced requirements of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. 

By the fall of 2020, the Charlottesville Climate Action Plan (CAP) was initiated by the City’s staff with recommendations provided directly from citizens and organizations. The finalized plan was adopted in 2022 as a comprehensive 95-page volume, packed with facts, charts, solutions and possibilities.


The City’s Environmental Sustainability team knew that the full-length version would be daunting to most constituents due to its length and density. Therefore, they wanted a simplified version that the average citizen could use to learn the salient points of the CAP.

Their main goals were:

  1. Make Cville’s Climate Action Plan highly readable for the general public.
  2. Get it into the public’s awareness, educate, and empower them to act.


The EarthWork team collaborated with the City’s Environmental Sustainability staff to distill the CAP’s key elements into an understandable, informative, and sensible 16 page document. This double-sided, locally printed document features facts, examples, potential solutions, links and invitations to encourage community engagement.

We drew upon our team’s experience in writing and design, adding our specialized knowledge developed as partners in producing The Carbon Almanac to help us ensure the CAP Summary’s accuracy and readability. We finished the project on-time and on-budget in six weeks, published with a few days to spare before the City’s official unveiling at a public launch event.


The City of Charlottesville team was very pleased with how the CAP Summary turned out. They enjoyed watching citizens pick it up and leaf through it. In addition, several launch event attendees provided compliments to City staff on the compact booklet’s readability and attractiveness–and they indicated they would be taking it home to share with others.

“I am pleased to report that the launch event went well and many booklets and handouts left with attendees.  We already have plans to print more. I think we accomplished what we were aiming for.”
Kristel Riddervold, Environmental Sustainability Division Manager, City of Charlottesville.

This is our most popular piece we hand out about the Climate Action Plan. The family of every 5th grader in Charlottesville City Schools will get one.
Emily Irvine, Climate Protection Manager, City of Charlottesville

Let’s Get Started

Need your climate plan edited to something more shareable with the general public? Put our copywriting and design skills to work. Let’s talk!