On the heels of Greta Thunberg’s recent testimony to the United Nations Climate Action Summit and the growing wave of climate protests around the world, we want to highlight the Community Partners projects addressing the issue of climate change here in LA with an array of approaches. Whether it’s advocating for new legislation, planting trees, bringing sustainability practices to new sectors, or encouraging a next generation of young people to connect and appreciate the natural world, the projects below embody the mandate: think globally, act locally.
Using advocacy and education…
Formerly the San Gabriel Mountains Conservancy, Natural for All knows well the power of advocacy. The San Gabriel Mountains were granted national monument status in 2014, thanks to long-time efforts by the project and its many partners. Now, to help nurture a next generation of advocates, Nature for All offers a highly-acclaimed Leadership Academy targeting low-income and underserved communities that is designed to develop a more diverse group of environmental leaders.
A greater understanding of environmental issues and inclusivity are also key to the work of WELL, the Water Education for Latino Leaders. They’re working to educate local Latino elected officials – including anyone who represents a Latino community – about water management strategies for the 21st century. Their goal is to bring greater diversity and more sustainable practices to policy-making circles.
Civil rights lawyer Robert Garcia saw the lack of greenspace in LA’s poorest neighborhoods as an environmental and health justice issue, and founded The City Project to advocate for change. A project of Community Partners since 2006, The City Project has helped to create or preserve more than 1,000 acres of park space in Los Angeles County. Their flagship project was the creation of the Los Angeles State Historic Park, but they’ve also worked with residents to stop the creation of a power plant on in South LA, a garbage dump near the Baldwin Hills Park, and much more.
Promoting ecoliteracy in schools is how this long-time project is working to ensure a next generation that is knowledgeable about and mindful of their impact on their surrounding environment. Through a wide range of programming targeting youth from K-12 as well as families and community groups, Wildwoods Foundation brings an appreciation for the natural world and the interconnected systems that govern it. Their motto: building community by exploring nature.
Focusing on transportation…
Active SGV works to support a sustainable, equitable and livable San Gabriel Valley. The group is known for launching one of the first ‘traffic school for bikes’ programs at their bike education center in El Monte and for organizing one of the longest Open Streets events in California at 17+ miles. Active SGV has also spearheaded a five-city regional bicycle master plan with the cities of Baldwin Park, El Monte, South El Monte, San Gabriel and Monterey Park. On November 14 they will host their annual Noche De Las Luminarias, an awards celebration that honors cities, individuals and community organizations that have made strides in supporting a sustainable, equitable and livable San Gabriel Valley.
PMJ acts as a bridge to connect community expertise with urban planning, policy and advocacy, educational and safe learning environments, and community leadership development around transportation equity. PMJ’s vision of transportation equity refers to correcting past discriminatory practices that influenced the how public transportation is allocated, maintained and developed. The group celebrated its tenth anniversary this October at City Libre in Boyle Heights.
Industrial District Green works to implement community-based green space and open space projects in the Industrial District of Downtown Los Angeles while engaging under-served members of the community. The group has planted and cares for 230 trees in the Industrial District.
City Plants sits at the nexus of a collaboration between the City of Los Angeles, seven other nonprofit organizations, Los Angeles’ business community and community members throughout LA which each year distributes about 20,000 trees a year around the city. Their priorities are to plant in low canopy neighborhoods, create jobs in tree planting and care, and to promote sustainable canopy energy efficiency and climate adaptation benefits. If you live or own property in the City of LA, you’re eligible to receive trees for your yard and/or your street. Go here to learn more.
Promoting sustainability/sustainable practices…
Green Camps Initiative educates campgrounds, nature and retreat centers, and RV parks all over the country on ways they can reduce their environmental impact. They teach camps how to ensure their facilities are energy and water efficient and how they can operate with sustainability in mind through policy, procurement and everyday practice. The project also hopes to inspire the next generation of eco-leaders through fun activities and educational programs.
Sustainable Works aims to ensure that the concepts and intentions of sustainability and living a sustainable lifestyle are in tune with the daily activities of individuals, institutions and businesses. They provide hands-on interactive educational experiences through their events and programming. The group also serves as a liaison between governments, institutions, businesses and individuals fostering community development. The group is hosting a Rain Barrel Fundraiser this weekend, offering recycled food grade plastic barrels that are eligible for a city rebate! Learn more here.