How Climate Resolve Stays Cool: Enrique Huerta

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.


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.

Emmanuel Vega

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