Climate change affects both human and economic opportunity. Increased heat increases heat stress vulnerability and further impacts air quality; increased precipitation leads to flood risk while decreased precipitation impacts drinking water supplies and employment options. Lower income communities are often those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change – not only from a geographic and environmental perspective, but also from an economic perspective. Communities are organizing throughout the San Joaquin Valley and Coachella Valley to address climate change impacts, while ensuring that climate change policies benefit their disproportionately impacted neighborhoods which are consistently left out of long term planning and investment decisions.
Our climate change work focuses on resilience, which includes both mitigation and adaptation strategies. We work with community leaders and organizational partners to identify climate change impacts and prioritize strategies for greater climate resilience through local, regional and state efforts. Key strategies that have emerged include advocating for funds to support mitigation and adaptation efforts in disadvantaged communities; engaging in land use planning to improve quality of life and reduce reliance on personal vehicles; ensuring direct emissions reductions of greenhouse gases, criteria pollutants, and short-lived climate pollutants from stationary and mobile sources; and advocating for statewide climate change legislation that addresses public health and economic goals of lower income and environmentally vulnerable communities.