How Climate Resolve Stays Cool: Andres Rodriguez

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.

Emmanuel Vega

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