Stepping into Greatness with an Ecological Policy Fabric
I’m riding the train back to Oakland from Sacramento with a renewed sense of strength. This rarely happens when I head home from California’s State Capitol, but yesterday we stepped into a realm of new possibilities when the Legislature passed the Climate Change Community Benefits Fund—the first of its kind in the United States and the industrialized world. As the devastating impacts of climate change are felt throughout the world, California took a powerful step forward by setting aside direct investments in our most vulnerable communities.
It is no accident that these communities are among the poorest, most polluted and with the highest density of people of color in California. As we remember the 5th anniversary of Katrina--the starkest climate change related episode in the United States in which poor people and people of color where left behind to sink or swim--California has committed to uplift those communities with the least resources. It is also no accident that we are here—alive—in this particular moment, when our human family is standing at a crossroads, re-imagining the ecological paths that have allowed us to inhabit the earth as long as we have.
One of these paths is the Climate Change Community Benefits Fund, which seeks to invigorate local, green economies in those neighborhoods that have suffered from decades of disinvestment and have disproportionately suffered from higher levels of pollution. It makes the promise of California’s Global Warming Solution Act (AB 32) a reality by ensuring that a minimum of 10% of the revenues generated from greenhouse gases (GHG) reduction mechanisms are invested in the communities that suffer from the highest levels of pollution, poverty, and unemployment.
The money can be used to improve public health, reduce GHG and create high-quality green jobs, thereby tying in an ecological policy design that cools the planet, heals our communities and creates a viable path to environmental, socio-economic and political sustainability. As we weave a new future, our next step is for the Governor to sign the Community Benefits Fund into law. You can be part of this change by contacting him directly and telling him how important it is to sign this bill. Also, please join our movement to stop the Dirty Energy Prop, which seeks to backtrack our commitment to uplift people and planet, by voting No on Prop 23 in November.
Photo Credits: Sahar Shirazi