Climate solutions – A healthy dose of optimism

July 14, 2014

Climate solutions are difficult, expensive, out of reach, and not particularly useful for regular people, particularly low income communities, and communities of color – right? That’s the usual line in the mainstream media, and it’s one we at Carpe Diem West are working hard to shift.

We recently read Brentin Mock’s take on USC’s very sharp report “Facing the Climate Gap” and it gave us both hope and inspiration for the work at hand. The gist of the report is that communities “can be in conflict about policy and still work toward the broader common good, and… (that) grassroots solutions can provide a new way to resolve our climate challenges and build a new consensus on the environment.”

Mock highlights the report’s dozen case studies where community-based environmental groups organized people from marginalized neighborhoods to address the environmental challenges facing their homes. All of the cases double as mitigation strategies for global warming.

Our favorite is a reforestation project called Urban Releaf in the urban East Bay, stretching from Richmond to Oakland. Linking the need for jobs, the need for shade, greenery and carbon absorption, Urban Releaf has planted nearly 16,000 trees in these often starkly-tree-free cities.

Our work in the headwaters of many of the West’s great rivers is based on this same premise. Communities need jobs. Forests need restoration. Climate mitigation requires healthy forests. And climate adaptation requires healthy rivers. These are all connected, and we are working hard on telling the new story of those connections from Oakland to the Mokulumne and beyond.

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared at Carpe Diem West and is reposted here with permission.