Image by John Hain from Pixabay
Equitable climate resilience, the best path forward
Humanity is at a crossroads. We can continue on our fossil fuel-centered path to catastrophe, or we can take swift, bold action to leave fossil fuels behind as quickly as possible and end the extractive and exploitative economy that has fueled both the climate crisis and overall environmental degradation.
In July 2021, Watsonville’s City Council unanimously resolved to reach net negative emissions by 2030. We must all work to realize this commitment.
Regeneración was established in 2016 with a bold vision of a community that has achieved climate justice so all people in the Pajaro Valley can live in harmony with the natural world.
Our vision has resonated with thousands of individuals and dozens of organizational and agency partners.
In the past five years our work has inspired the investment of over $500,000 in climate justice for the Pajaro Valley.
We can collectively achieve our vision by leveraging local investment in equitable climate resilience as we apply for a portion of the $3.7 billion California has committed over the next three years.
Climate experts have estimated that the United States as a whole needs to invest $1 trillion per year for the next 10 years.
That wealth currently exists, and we call on people of means and people with decision-making power to direct funding where it is needed for the best possible future.
Low income communities of color have been negatively impacted by long-term systemic racial and economic injustices, thus lacking resources to respond to accelerating natural disasters and extreme weather.
Our Blueprint for Equitable Climate Resilience identifies key areas for investment. We believe budgets of all kinds (including personal, organizational, and governmental) reflect values and present an opportunity to operationalize equity and climate solutions.
To achieve our vision we urge investment across each of these key areas in services that strengthen family structures, educate youth, and develop leadership. All of these will build resilience. Food, water, housing, mobility and healthcare are universal basic human needs and, as such, require significant investments. Equity must be embedded into all systems.
Food and water systems:
Shift the agricultural industry to organic, regenerative practices and supplying local communities first;
Expand community gardens;
Shift municipal and commercial landscaping from ornamentals to edibles;
Replace lawns with gardens and orchards;
Source restaurants and schools from local farms and gardens;
Conserve, capture, and reuse water;
Provide workers safe working conditions and a dignified wage;
End discrimination and lack of access to farmland for Black, Indigenous and People of Color.
Increase and improve bike and walking trails, prioritizing safety and convenience;
Increase education about bicycle repair and clean transportation options;
Invest in clean-powered, affordable public transportation, including a modern rail train service with connections to extensive bike trails and green buses;
Make public transportation use comfortable and affordable, for example through subsidies, free zones, and faster lanes;
Offer incentives for those who must drive to carpool and use fully electric vehicles.
Ensure all new buildings are constructed for maximum energy efficiency and fully electrified;
Adapt and retrofit existing buildings;
Install solar panels on rooftops and parking lots;
Establish microgrids that can maintain operations in power shut offs to power key services.
Social supports and service systems:
Expand access and quality of all levels and types of medical care;
Provide income, housing and training to address historic and ongoing injustices;
Establish community pantries and garden exchanges to ensure no food goes to waste;
Expand access and quality of childcare services;
Expand library services to include tools, plants and seeds.
Create neighborhood-based community facilities to establish community resilience centers that provide integrated emergency response services including clean backup power, clean air respite, cooling, food storage and distribution, shelter, telecommunications and broadband services, economic assistance, and other public health measures.
The magnitude, pace, and catastrophic impacts of climate change in California are extraordinary and devastating. The combined effects of extreme heat, wildfires, drought, flooding and sea level rise are rapidly accelerating, affecting public health and safety, and the economy of most every community in the state. Historically underserved communities such as the Pajaro Valley are facing the greatest hardships.
Nevertheless, the climate crisis presents an unprecedented opportunity to create well paying, low carbon jobs throughout society. Our investments now will provide the most valuable dividend: preservation of a livable habitat and the possibility of the flourishing of many life forms long into the future.
We warmly invite individuals, groups, businesses, foundations, and governments to invest immediately in the areas identified in this blueprint.