Climate Resolve

Welcome to our How Climate Resolve Stays Cool series! We want to pull back the curtain and introduce you to some of the team behind Climate Resolve — the people who are dedicated to combating extreme heat, the projects they’re working on, and the ways they stay cool.

How Bryn Stays Cool

What do you do in your role at Climate Resolve?

I oversee our work on transportation and land use — trying to create better options so that Angelenos aren’t stuck with car dependence, soul-draining mega-commutes and horrible air pollution. We can do better than that. I also work on extreme heat issues. Climate Resolve is innovating on ways to cool down our urban environment. It’s a mix of policy advocacy, pilot project implementation, and working with researchers to make the case for change.

Why did you decide to work in climate change?

Whenever there’s something that’s out of balance, whether it’s pollution or something else that’s causing environmental destruction, it feels like a Batman signal to me — a call for something that needs fixing. In my childhood, there was waste at a local sports stadium that bothered me and needed fixing. And now, we have an urgent call to combat the steady stream of climate and air pollution that our current way of life keeps perpetuating.

Climate change is the pressing issue of our time and needs to be a central consideration in everything. So much of how we’ve built up our way of life can and should be adjusted to be more climate responsible.

Tell us a bit about Climate Resolve’s work with Metro. 

Since the lead up to Measure M, we helped coordinate the EnviroMetro coalition. We wanted to see transportation investments look different than they have in the past. There’s a few central pillars — stop going in the wrong direction, like enough freeway-widening already, which leads to more traffic, smog and climate pollution. We want to see more protected bike lanes and dedicated bus lanes, bus shelters where they’re needed most, better pay for bus drivers, and more green infrastructure in our built environment. It’s a holistic space, too, so it also involves strategies for preserving affordability while adding amenities around transit investments.

 

How can a different approach to public transit help us mitigate extreme heat?

Transportation is our largest source of climate pollution, so the way things are now with people mostly driving where they need to go, and driving long distances, it’s only exacerbating the underlying mechanisms of climate change. The way climate change is manifesting locally is in more extreme, hotter and longer heat waves. By tackling that underlying source of climate pollution, we can lessen the impacts of climate change. Also, by addressing extreme heat locally and trying to cool down our urban environment, we make it more appealing for people to get out of the car and more hospitable to wait for the bus or to take a bike ride to where they need to go.

What has stood out to you about your public transit advocacy?

Unfortunately, many Angelenos see driving as their only option. There is a driver identity that’s pretty ingrained in the constituents that the Metro Board serves and it can make it tricky to try to redesign our roads to make them safer and more convenient for people not in cars. We need to reevaluate how our public space could be doing the most good.

Why is it important that we address the issue of extreme heat?

Extreme heat affects all of us. And it’s only getting worse and more severe as climate change impacts continue. The impacts of extreme heat are really felt most by those who can least afford to run air conditioning, or who are trying to do the climate responsible thing and take transit or walk or bike to where they need to go — they are most exposed to that extreme heat. If we don’t address extreme heat through comprehensive urban cooling solutions, we’re just headed towards a world of increasing disparity.

But we can make people’s lives better by making our cities more appealing to walk in, and a crucial component of that is urban greening and reflective surfaces that reduce the urban heat island. For me, the dystopian vision of us all living in air-conditioned bubbles is not something I can work towards. But the belief in a more livable, cooler environment, and that it’s possible and necessary, that’s what keeps me going.

What do you do to stay cool on extreme heat days in Los Angeles?

Personally, I have a few different strategies to keep cool. There was one Labor Day weekend that I went over to Catalina Island and I was snorkeling the whole time, just being in the water. It’s one way to cope. A more common strategy of mine is that I like to go on a hike and climb a particularly tall mountain, which may seem a bit counterintuitive. But higher altitudes deliver cooler temperatures and being surrounded by trees helps me feel like I’m not baking in an urban oven.

List the three things that are most important to you.

Biking is up there. It feels more natural to me and invigorating to bike somewhere and feel that breeze on my face — more than walking or being in a bubble of a car. Gardening is another thing I love to do — appreciating the cycle of life and noticing buds start to sprout. Appreciating the small things that add up to the big picture. And going through life and smiling at neighbors or fellow passengers on the bus, feeling a part of a larger community and connected to others.

Welcome to our How Climate Resolve Stays Cool series! We want to pull back the curtain and introduce you to some of the team behind Climate Resolve — the people who are dedicated to combating extreme heat, the projects they’re working on, and the ways they stay cool.

How Enrique Stays Cool

Why did you decide to work in climate change?

Growing up, I was always interested and curious about nature, insects, and animals. I think it was all my trips to the Natural History Museum and Museum of Science and Industry that LAUSD provided me. My curiosity about the larger world was piqued by these early visits to the museums.

Tell us about your role at Climate Resolve.

As the Legislative Director, one of the things I do is form strategic partnerships with other statewide organizations. The idea is to cultivate these relationships, so that we can elevate our bills.

Climate Resolve has been amplifying the extreme heat conversation for the past three years. We’ve been knocking on legislators’ doors, and it’s not just us, but a coalition of like-minded businesses and organizations. I’ve been really busy bringing in coalition partners to the state capitol to advocate on behalf of extreme heat and the need to adapt to this rising threat.

What has stood out to you about your extreme heat advocacy?

We’ve engaged with a dozen plus state agencies that touch on extreme heat issues. Here’s what we learned. One, the state’s approach to extreme heat is fragmented, it is a patchwork approach with no communication happening between the agencies. Unfortunately, some of the agencies don’t see extreme heat as an urgent matter. Second, California has never had a dedicated program to protect Californians from heat. Heat has always been secondary to the mitigation of greenhouse gases. Second to sea level rise. Second to wildfire. Second to flood. Even though extreme heat kills more people than all other natural disasters.

Why is it important that we, in particular, address the issue of extreme heat?

If you look at most climate legislation, they seek to mitigate greenhouse gases in the long term. By contrast, Climate Resolve’s extreme heat bill is one of the few that actually looks to help our communities adapt today. California is going to have to live under really extreme conditions, which will create all sorts of public health consequences. It’s to our advantage to reduce urban ambient temperatures today, so that we stand a better chance of health and happiness tomorrow.

What do you do to stay cool on extreme heat days in Los Angeles?

Every summer, I go outside and hang shades over windows that face the sun. I find that this really keeps heat from making it inside where it stews and remains trapped long into the evening hours. It’s a simple fix that doesn’t rely on energy inputs to keep indoor temps comfortable. People power goes a long way during extreme heat days.

List the three things that are most important to you.

Staying positive in the face of so much doom-and-gloom about climate change. You can’t let it undermine your mental health as the work we do for the community would suffer. I also really like alternative modes of transportation, so I will ride my bike and walk as much as possible. Last, I really enjoy continually learning from my peers.

 

Welcome to our How Climate Resolve Stays Cool series! We want to pull back the curtain and introduce you to some of the team behind Climate Resolve — the people who are dedicated to combating extreme heat, the projects they’re working on, and the ways they stay cool.

How Andres Stays Cool

What do you do in your role at Climate Resolve?

I do a lot of community organizing within Boyle Heights — tabling events and spreading the word on extreme heat days and climate vulnerabilities in the community. Additionally, through the BOOST program, I serve in a technical assistance role for the city of Rialto — helping to mitigate capacity issues and working to get Rialto funding for different projects. Lastly, through the Ready for Tomorrow program, I do grantwriting to assist disadvantaged communities and cities that have capacity issues to make their applications more competitive.

Why did you decide to work in climate change?

I would say it all stems from my parents. My mom’s passion has always been being involved in the community, joining different organizations, and advocating for people in Boyle Heights. She’s always advocating for those that don’t have much. And then my dad, he has a green thumb. He’s always been into nature. He loves trees and enjoys planting fruit trees in our backyard. So it’s kind of a combination of both. I love advocating for people, too, and providing better resources for the people we serve through our work at Climate Resolve.

I’m from Boyle Heights, so it’s been quite a dream to able to work in my community and serve my people. But the thing that has stood out about our work in Boyle Heights is how well connected the nonprofit organizations are within the community. Seeing that connectivity between organizations and community members — everybody just knows each other, which is awesome in building resiliency. The members of the community are very dedicated people that have been working for the community for such a long time and seeing those people just putting in the work for several years is amazing and inspiring to me. And I’m hoping to be one of those people, too.

Can you tell us a bit more about Climate Resolve’s work in Boyle Heights? 

We’re working with the Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory on a pilot project — building a resilience hub at their existing facilities.

A resilience hub is a centralized location in a disadvantaged community that provides resources to folks and also serves as a cooling center or an emergency center, so in case there’s a natural disaster, people are aware that this well-known facility is accessible to everyone. And then, with Promesa Boyle Heights, we’re working to get the Boyle Heights Community Plan updated with community priorities.

In working to update the community plan with Promesa, we’re getting input from the community on different issues that they feel passionate about and discovering things that may be lacking in Boyle Heights — such as tree canopy, affordable housing, accessible housing, public infrastructure, green space — and trying to get that into the community plan. We’re helping to prepare Boyle Heights residents by letting them know that they have a voice, their voice is important, and that these issues are real and affecting them.

Why is it important that we address the issue of extreme heat? Why is Boyle Heights, in particular, an important neighborhood to focus on with regards to reducing the impact of heat?

I think the main reason why we focus and hone in on extreme heat is simply for the fact that extreme heat is the number one cause of weather-related deaths. And, as far as Boyle Heights goes, it’s a very disadvantaged, low-income area. A lot of folks can’t afford to pay their electricity bill, whether that’s keeping the fan on for the entire day, or being able to afford a simple A/C unit. I, myself, don’t have an A/C unit. It’s really hard to stay cool in an area that’s very low-income. And on top of that, there’s a lack of access to green space.

What do you do to stay cool on extreme heat days in Los Angeles?

Since it’s been pretty hot recently, I’ve actually been coming down into the office. Aside from that, I like to go to our closest parks or to Griffith Park to hang out a little bit. I like to do outdoor sports, like canyoneering, canoeing, hiking, and backpacking. Those are just a few of the ways that I stay cool.

List the three things that are most important to you.

Family. Trees. Food.

Welcome to our How Climate Resolve Stays Cool series! We want to pull back the curtain and introduce you to some of the team behind Climate Resolve — the people who are dedicated to combating extreme heat, the projects they’re working on, and the ways they stay cool.

How Mayra Stays Cool

Why did you decide to work in climate change?

I’ve always had an interest in climate and environment, but when I moved to the Bay Area five years ago, I went on my first camping trip and started to get more involved in climate work. I started volunteering at environmental organizations and it really motivated me to want to work in the environmental field.

Can you tell us about your experience producing Coolest in LA for the first time? 

Working on Coolest in LA was definitely a great way to be welcomed into the organization and dive into what Climate Resolve is all about. As the name says, it is actually one of the coolest events that local environmental organizations host.

I just loved when I called to invite one of our sponsors to the event, and they were just so excited that they said, “this is like prom for environmentalists.” It’s awesome that folks within our field have an opportunity to connect with other folks that are doing similar work.

Coolest in LA annually honors climate champions who are doing extraordinary work in combating heat. Why is it important that we, in particular, address the issue of extreme heat?

When it comes to fighting climate change, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Being that we are locally focused on Los Angeles, an area that can get very hot, extreme heat is a really important issue. This isn’t just as a climate issue, but also a public health concern. When we’re talking about protecting the people of Los Angeles, we need to implement solutions in which we can see immediate results, such as cooling our communities, which is what Climate Resolve is working on.

What do you do to stay cool on extreme heat days in Los Angeles?

That is something that I struggle with because I try to be mindful of my energy use between peak hours. In the mornings, I open up all of my windows to try to let some of the cool air in. And then, once it starts getting warmer, I close everything up. And it is summer, so a popsicle stick doesn’t hurt.

List the three things that are most important to you.

Volunteering. Being outdoors. And I enjoy supporting local businesses.

Climate Resolve Launches New Nonprofit focused on Zero Emission Transit & Dodger Stadium Aerial Gondola To Be First Project

Announces Free Service to Dodger Games

LOS ANGELES – Leading environmental nonprofit, Climate Resolve, announced that it has formed Zero Emissions Transit, a new subsidiary nonprofit organization focused on advancing emissions-free public transit solutions in the Los Angeles region. Through a framework agreement, Los Angeles Aerial Rapid Transit’s (LA ART) proposed zero-emission aerial gondola connection between Union Station and Dodger Stadium will be donated to Zero Emissions Transit as its inaugural project. 

Climate Resolve is a leader in the fight against climate change and helps communities most disadvantaged by climate change impacts. Climate Resolve organized California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment and has developed on-the-ground climate resilience projects in Pacoima, Boyle Heights, Compton, and several other communities across the state. Zero Emissions Transit, with LA ART as its inaugural project, will be the latest in Climate Resolve’s ongoing efforts to reduce emissions and create a cleaner and greener Los Angeles region where everyone can thrive.

Also announced today, baseball fans will be able to ride the gondola for free with a Dodger game ticket. Similar to the current Dodger Stadium Express bus program, this benefit will help to maximize the air quality benefits from replacing automobile trips with the aerial gondola.  As part of the framework agreement the gondola project commits to additional initiatives such as improving pedestrian amenities to encourage transit use in the communities adjacent to the proposed aerial gondola route from Union Station to Dodger Stadium.

Starting today, Dodger fans are invited to visit a new full-sized gondola cabin exhibit that will be on display at Dodger Stadium for the rest of the season. Visitors will be able to experience what it’s like to ride inside an aerial gondola and learn more about the project and Zero Emissions Transit. 

“There is an urgent need for innovative transit solutions to alleviate air pollution and fight climate change,” said Jonathan Parfrey, Executive Director of Climate Resolve. “That’s why we’re thrilled to serve as the catalyst in creating Zero Emissions Transit. The aerial gondola project is the first of what we hope to be many more zero-emission innovations.”

Suja Lowenthal, City Manager of Hermosa Beach and Climate Resolve board member, will serve as chair of the Board of Directors for Zero Emissions Transit and Dr. Felix Aguilar M.D., Chief Medical Officer with the Chinatown Service Center Community Health Center will be one of its board members. Additional board members will be announced in the coming weeks. 

The gondola project was announced in 2018, and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is the lead agency for its environmental review process. Since then, the project team has spoken to thousands of households and met with dozens of community organizations, transportation and environmental advocacy groups who support this sustainable urban transit solution. Close to 6,000 have signed up in support of the project. In response to stakeholder input, the project scope has expanded to include elements that increase the mobility, accessibility, and environmental benefits of the aerial gondola, including an additional passenger station, pedestrian connections, and improvements to LA State Historic Park.  

“Los Angeles needs and deserves more clean, sustainable transit options,” said Jordan Lang, President of Aerial Rapid Transit Technologies. “We’ve invested a significant amount of time and capital into this project because we believe it is the right solution for the region and are committed to supporting this nonprofit effort.  With Climate Resolve and Zero Emissions Transit as partners, we are one step closer to making zero-emission aerial transit in Los Angeles a reality.” 

The zero-emission aerial gondola would provide the first permanent transit connection to Dodger Stadium since it was built nearly 60 years ago. Rather than sitting in traffic, fans will enjoy a scenic ride from downtown to Dodger Stadium in just seven minutes.

“We commend Zero Emissions Transit for its commitment to environmental sustainability and support any project that benefits the fans and our community. The gondola will help reduce traffic around Dodger Stadium, cut down on emissions, and enhance the fan experience,” said Stan Kasten, the Dodgers’ President and CEO.

The system could take up to 3,000 cars off the road before and after each Dodger game and event at the Stadium, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing pedestrian safety. The gondola will also provide local benefits outside of game-time periods, including a “Community Access Program” that would allow residents and employees of businesses close to the project to ride the gondola for an LA Metro fare, at no additional cost.  The gondola will operate year-round to provide community access to transit and transit access to parks, in addition to serving visitors and creating the transit link to Dodger Stadium.

“Living in downtown Los Angeles, I worry about the impact that cars and traffic have on my health and quality of life,” said Inez Gomez, resident of William Mead Homes. “The LA ART project just makes sense. It would have a dramatic impact on game day traffic in the neighborhood. Saving time and frustration for fans and neighbors, and improving safety in our community.” 

More than 340 business in Chinatown, El Pueblo, and Lincoln Heights have signed up to support the project. “Chinatown is home to many unique and diverse small businesses that were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Icy Zheng, owner of Eighty Eight Hair Salon. “We are glad to be welcoming visitors back after a difficult few years and are excited to work with LA ART to find ways to encourage Dodger fans to visit Chinatown before taking the gondola to a baseball game.” 

Metro issued the Notice of Preparation for the EIR in October 2020 which began the public environmental review process. The Draft EIR is expected to be released in Fall 2022. 

For more information about the project visit www.laart.la 

For more information about Climate Resolve visit www.climateresolve.org

Project renderings, photographs, and video clips available for download on Dropbox.

Pacoima’s pollution problem flies high with Whiteman Airport. For years, regulatory agencies have overlooked Pacoima’s Whiteman Airport pollution since the facility is just under the minimum size to require these tests. Even the airport’s final master plan recommended doing air assessments in 2011, but none were ever done.

Located in close proximity to two other airports, Van Nuys and Burbank, one might wonder why Whiteman is needed. Emergency services has been cited as one benefit, though it should be noted that emergency services aircraft from the LA Fire Department are housed next to, and not on Whiteman airport. Recreation and job opportunities for local community members have been cited as additional benefits.

Meanwhile, the average commute time for Whiteman Airport workers is over 35 minutes, making it fall into the top 10% of areas with the highest average commute times in the Los Angeles Area according to a 2016 study. This begs the question, is this airport really for the benefit of the local Pacoima residents?

Unfortunately, the widespread usage of Whiteman for recreational flight purposes has also led to accidents. In November 2020, an aircraft crashed in front of a Pacoima home and burned 3 vehicles. Emergencies like this and accidents in the past have raised safety concerns for residents.Other questions that linger in the air are how much Pacoima residents actually use the airport for recreation, or own an aircraft. Nobody seems to know. We hope that as the LA Department of Public Works collects this information, it will become clearer who is really benefitting from this airport. This information is urgently needed to help the local community determine whether there are indeed any benefits that would outweigh the harms of Whiteman.

Beside the lack of evidence of how Whiteman benefits Pacoima residents economically and recreationally, it is Pacoima residents that face the burden of its inherent pollution. According to CalEnviro 4.0, a tool created to identify disproportionate burdens of pollution, the residences and businesses that surround Whiteman airport rank in the 80-100th percentile of high pollution overall.

Aircraft are one of the top ten polluters of sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). Whiteman airport also continues to allow lead in its fuel despite other airports discontinuing this practice. Other air pollutants released by aircraft include nitrogen oxides, nitrogen dioxide, ultrafine particles, PM2.5, and lead. The cancer risk in Pacoima is 48% higher than other areas in the SCAQMD jurisdiction. 47.2% of people living closest to the airport do not have health insurance to address complications that may result from these exposures.

The airport’s final master plan stated that there were no noise reduction plans for Whiteman since complaints were infrequent. Residents are living with noise pollution through the night since Whiteman does not have a flight curfew. As many of us know, infrequency of complaints is not a measure of well-being. Too often, low-income individuals and BIPOC communities are told that they must simply deal with their living conditions or they lack resources to make formal complaints to agencies. 

As more people learn about the impacts of their environment on their health, we hope that Pacoima residents will feel empowered to challenge the systems and redlining practices that put these pollutants in their communities. Pacoima has been plagued with decades of environmental racism and we now have a chance to replace community harms with community benefits. It’s time to shut down Whiteman. 

Summer is here and the Climate Resolve team is excited to see our Los Angeles Dodgers are off to a great start in first place. We’re also thrilled to tell you about our partnership with the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles, and FivePoint to provide free PV solar and an EV charging station to the latest Dodgers Dreamfields project at Gonzales Park, including Jackie Robinson Baseball Stadium, in the City of Compton.

It’s becoming increasingly common for large public companies to signal a commitment to climate action by setting net zero greenhouse gas emissions targets. However, some of these firms are seeking to offset their emissions with the purchase of cheap carbon credits, available on publicly-traded markets. These offsets can be of questionable provenance and may not reduce emissions as advertised. 

Rather than support opaque carbon markets, Climate Resolve believes that companies should fund, develop, and donate greenhouse gas reduction projects that primarily benefit local communities, especially residents of low-income communities. Local climate mitigation projects are best, and should use offset project registries that have been endorsed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). 

Climate Resolve is working with partners to develop and implement local climate mitigation projects located in low-income communities in Los Angeles County.

One project deserves special mention; we’re thrilled to announce the completion of our largest carbon credit project, a 276 kW photovoltaic (PV) solar installation and public electric vehicle (EV) charging station adjacent to Jackie Robinson Baseball Stadium at Gonzales Park in the City of Compton. The PV carports and rooftop solar arrays will save the City more than $1,000,000 in power costs over 25 years. It’s a home run.

“Climate Resolve is thrilled to have worked with its partners to originate, develop, and implement this renewable power project that will provide multiple benefits to Compton’s community,” said Seth Jacobson, Managing Director of Solutions Services at Climate Resolve, “Our team also feels deeply grateful to be part of a project that contributes to honoring the legacy of Jackie Robinson for future generations.”

Climate Resolve started developing this project in February 2019 when we learned that the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) was planning to renovate Gonzales Park, including Jackie Robinson Stadium, as part of its Dodgers Dreamfields program. Through its Dodgers Dreamfields program, LADF builds and refurbishes baseball and softball fields in local underserved communities. The Compton project is LADF’s largest Dodgers Dreamfields investment to date. 

During a site visit of Gonzales Park, Climate Resolve asked the City’s Parks & Recreation Department if there were plans for solar with the Dodgers Dreamfields project. There weren’t any plans, but the question piqued their interest, so our team reached out to our colleagues on LADF’s Board and executive leadership, and we pitched them the idea. LADF had never included PV with a Dodgers Dreamfield project and was excited for the opportunity to offer free, renewable power to the community. 

“LADF is renowned for their impactful work in communities throughout Southern California,” said Jonathan Parfrey, Executive Director of Climate Resolve. “We believe that local professional sports organizations, like the Los Angeles Dodgers, can be key partners in fighting climate change and fostering more resilient communities.”

With a pro bono solar assessment of the site from our generous friends at EDF Renewables, Climate Resolve then presented the opportunity to our partners at FivePoint, an owner and developer of large mixed-use communities in California. 

As part of a CARB-approved program to offset its development-related operational emissions, FivePoint had asked Climate Resolve to identify potential greenhouse gas reduction projects that would benefit residents of low-income communities in Los Angeles County. The company is using its direct investment in these projects as part of a larger commitment to sustainability at Valencia, a new FivePoint community in northwest Los Angeles County. Through a series of onsite and offsite initiatives, the 15,000-acre development is poised to become one of the largest planned communities in the nation to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from its construction and operations.

After approving the idea, FivePoint asked Climate Resolve to reach out to local PV installers and manage a Request for Proposal bidding process, which GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles (GRID GLA) won. 

Then COVID hit. Amid the devastating impacts and delays associated with the pandemic, GRID GLA, LADF, and Climate Resolve continued to work with the City of Compton to manage the installation of the project. GRID GLA installed rooftop PV arrays on both the park’s community center and an adjacent City fire station. They also constructed PV carports that shade the parking lot next to Jackie Robinson Stadium and house six public EV charging ports. 

Today kids are playing baseball and softball on the Gonzales Park Dodgers Dreamfields. Southern California Edison (SCE) will soon interconnect the PV project with its grid. And Climate Resolve is managing the credit confirmation process for the PV project with the Climate Action Reserve.

“We couldn’t imagine working with better partners during this difficult time,” said Thelma Briseno, Senior Director of Energy & Water Programs for Climate Resolve. “Our project team was mission-driven to ensure that the Dodgers Dreamfields, PV arrays, and EV charging station were completed, and that the community could enjoy the many benefits of this impactful project.”

Part of our excitement to work with LADF is that Dodgers Dreamfields projects bring multiple benefits to communities, including a “Science of Baseball” STEM education program for local youth. With that in mind, Climate Resolve identified and helped LADF win a grant from SCE to enhance the STEM curriculum with climate-related education at Gonzales Park. LADF, GRID GLA, and Climate Resolve envision these Dodgers Dreamfields as an outdoor learning laboratory, where kids can apply STEM lessons within the park’s community spaces, including the PV arrays and EV chargers. 

In addition to the significant power cost savings for the City and the climate education program for local youth, another project benefit is that GRID GLA and the Office of former City Councilmember Michelle Chambers viewed the PV installation as a workforce development opportunity to train six Compton residents to become solar installers. These residents are launching new careers that offer well-paying jobs in the emerging cleantech economy.

Rather than purchase dubious offsets on the global market, Climate Resolve believes that companies should fund and donate carbon credit projects in local underserved communities. These projects do more than just help companies to achieve their net zero targets. They mitigate the risk of purchasing questionable offsets on the global market. They are also likely to increase a company’s Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) rating, goodwill, and reputation with investors, policymakers, customers, and other stakeholders. One could say this strategy touches all the bases.

If you would like to partner with Climate Resolve to develop local carbon credit projects, please contact Seth Jacobson at sjacobson@climateresolve.org.

Essential workers under threat from extreme heat and wildfire; new report illuminates breakthrough protective measures

Climate Resolve releases Exhausted! Workers Confront Extreme Heat and Wildfire Smoke in California, with key recommendations to protect California’s most vulnerable workers from the impacts of extreme heat and wildfire smoke

Los Angeles – During the COVID-19 pandemic, essential workers took the spotlight as they served households across the United States. However, essential workers today work in conditions that threaten their health. WIth the increasing frequency of hot days, essential workers can fall vulnerable to heat stress, heat strokes, dehydration, even death. And as an added burden, farmworkers endure inhaling contaminants and smoke from wildfires, and warehouse workers are exposed to air contaminants made more potent by extreme heat.

In releasing Exhausted! Workers Confront Extreme Heat and Wildfire Smoke in California, Climate Resolve places the spotlight back on essential workers and how climate change is affecting their lives.

The authors review the laws and regulations designed to protect workers – as well as the latest research on the economic, physical, and psychological impacts of working in extreme conditions.

Climate Resolve discovered profound gaps in the social systems intended to protect workers. The authors also made 18 recommendations for immediate action. These include:

Protecting both indoor and outdoor workers

1. Create new insurance products for hazard pay and unworkable conditions  

2. Design and build large-scale cooling projects in the built environment 

3. Make home a safe haven

4. State agencies must coordinate their approach on extreme heat

5. Cal/OSHA must be sufficiently resourced in both funds and technical support

6. Improve communication on drinking-water

7. Expand independent monitoring

8. Fix Cal/OSHA’s communications problem

9. Environmental organizations must prioritize worker health and safety

10. Develop a Cal/OSHA database on heat-related workplace incidents

11. Improve air quality monitoring at the workplace

12. Fund organizations to assist workers

Specifically protecting outdoor workers

13. Provide clean air refuges during wildfire smoke events

14. Make growers liable

Specifically protecting indoor worker

15. Prioritize adoption of the Indoor Heat Illness Prevention Standard

16. Update the California Building Code to protect warehouse workers 

17. Update international standards to include real-time indoor temperature and humidity monitoring 

18. Prioritize research into worker productivity and absenteeism

“The best approach to ensuring worker health is to take the whole person into account. While it’s essential to improve conditions at the workplace, it is also vital to consider the worker’s home and community,” said David Eisenman M.D., Professor of Medicine and Public Health Director at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters. “People recover from extreme heat days at night. Workers need to be able to cool down their bodies overnight before returning to work the following day.”

In researching Exhausted! Workers Confront Extreme Heat and Wildfire Smoke in California, the authors interviewed the Warehouse Workers Resource Center and California Rural Legal Assistance, and workers themselves, who told story after story about employers who failed to help employees adapt to severe weather.

“We heard anecdotes of employers placing water far away and failing to provide adequate shade or cooling,” said Natalie Delgado of Climate Resolve. “Unfortunately, many employers have failed to comply with the law by failing to provide adequate shade or cooling.”

“Workers must have access to cool environments, water to stay hydrated, proper ventilation, and other safety measures if we want goods delivered and food to remain accessible in the United States,” said Marc Futernick M.D., Managing Editor of The Journal of Climate Change and Health.

The report was underwritten by Resilient Cities Catalyst and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation through the California Resilience Partnership.

The city of Commerce, California currently lacks active and clean transportation options, and has historically been dominated by industrial land uses, freight traffic, and freeways. In 2020, Climate Resolve’s Ready for Tomorrow free grant writing assistance program helped the city win a first of its kind, $3.2 million, multi-year Sustainable Transportation Equity Project (STEP) grant from the California Air Resources Board that funds  bike lanes, zero-emission vehicles, tree plantings, and transit-oriented equitable development and displacement avoidance planning.

STEP is funded through California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities. Commerce Moving Forward, which encompasses all the STEP-funded projects, will make transit and mobility options safer, more comfortable, and more convenient for Commerce community members and visitors.  

Since the onset of the project in Fall 2021, Climate Resolve has co-led the stakeholder engagement process for the grant by facilitating a community-based Advisory Group and conducting outreach events. In the month of April, Climate Resolve partnered with Metro Bicycle Education Safety Training (BEST), LA County Bicycle Coalition, People for Mobility Justice, and the City of Commerce to host a four-part bike safety series in preparation for the City’s first-ever set of Class II bike lanes. The series included two virtual classes on bike safety and rules of the road, one in-person class on street skills, and a ~4-mile community ride around the city’s key corridors and destinations. Commerce residents, family members, and attendees from surrounding communities were excited to enjoy the good weather, get outside on their bikes, build new and existing relationships, win raffle prizes, and learn safe riding techniques before the installation of the bike lanes! 

This bike safety series is one of the outreach events for the STEP grant. Some other project components include: 

  • Tree People leading the planting of 400 trees along pedestrian and transit corridors 
  • The City’s public launch of new two electric shuttles and two electric buses  
  • Workshops on transit-oriented equitable development and displacement avoidance  

We want to thank our partners for helping facilitate engagement, and the community members who have been a part of the efforts.

Two father and son pairs attend the Community Bike Ride on April 23, 2022. Left to right: Daniel Lozano, Joe Lozano, Eli Parra, and Elvis Parra.
In-Person Street Skills Class led by People for Mobility Justice and LA County Bicycle Coalition on March 31, 2022.

In honor of last week’s Cesar Chavez Day holiday, we reached out to Climate Resolve Board Member, Victor Griego, a longtime community and labor organizer who worked with Chavez, to talk about the impact of Cesar Chavez’s legacy as an organizer and the lessons that we can apply to our fight for just climate solutions.

This interview of Victor Griego, President and Founder of Diverse Strategies for Organizing, Inc. and a Climate Resolve Board of Director, was conducted by Climate Resolve’s Communications Manager Armin Mahramzadeh.

Armin: What can climate organizers and the climate movement learn from Cesar Chavez and how he was able to create change?

Victor: Well, I think one of the things that I certainly learned from Cesar was, it’s not so much the cause, or the subject matter that keeps people going every day in any type of struggle, but it’s the people, it’s understanding that the work we do is affecting people’s lives. And that’s more important than the subject matter. So when we look at climate challenges, we look at how they impact children, how they impact older adults, how they impact people of color, disadvantaged communities? What are the faces? What are the people? And I think if we keep that front and center, that puts the energy into our work.

Armin: In what ways do workers rights and the effects of climate change intersect?

Victor: Well, hotter days, for example, impact farmworkers tremendously. And so when we look at the lack of proper health conditions for workers, either in the fields, in factories, wherever there’s increase in temperature, that’s a clear and simple visible impact of climate change on workers, just the heat, number one. Number two, climate change has impacted the cost of a lot of everyday services, and particularly low wage workers are impacted the most proportionately in terms of their wages and how they have to pay for services due to climate change. And an example of that is water and the lack of rain and snowpack impacts the type of water people are receiving. When temperature rises, surface water is impacted because of the contamination that comes from increased temperatures. So climate change impacts workers on a day-to-day basis. Now if you got money, sure, you could pay more money for your water bill, you can buy bottled water, you could pay expenses that increase because of the climate. But if you’re on the margin, it’s going to impact your quality of life tremendously.

Armin: How much is the fight for workers rights and conditions also a climate issue and vice versa?

Victor: Well, I think both of them are connected by one word, and that’s justice. Cesar, at the core of his work, was basically seeking justice. We could look at the topics of work environment, wages, health insurance, whatever the issue might be to the contract that they were trying to get from the growers. But at the end of the day it was respect and justice. And so when you look at climate, and the impacts that climate has on disadvantaged communities, on older adults, it’s about justice.

Climate Resolve