California has traditionally led the nation in protecting and preserving the environment – and we have proudly continued the trend with the 2006 passage and ongoing implementation of the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32). Aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and slowing climate change, AB 32 came under political attack in 2010 when an initiative, funded largely by oil refiners, sought to delay application of the legislation’s rules. Fortunately, voters soundly rejected that effort, but many observers have worried that California’s concerns about climate could wane, particularly since the actual impacts of climate change can seem abstract and far-off.
Against this backdrop, a wide range of community-based organizations have been working to “make it real” by connecting the dots between global warming and human impacts, and by helping residents adapt now and not later. In what might be a surprise to some observers, many of these organizations are working with low-income communities of color – those often stereotyped as the least concerned about climate change.