California Climate Action Corps is empowering Californians to take meaningful action to protect their homes, health and communities against the harshest impacts of climate change, and to learn about the many ways they can be a part of the solution.
The California volunteers-led initiative engages people through a variety of levels and activities, from those who have an hour to commit at home, to those who can commit a year of service, and everything in between.
California Climate Action Corps is a direct response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s call to serve and commitment to fighting climate change. It aims to increase pathways into and participation in the climate workforce by fostering professional development opportunities for Corps members, and catalyse community climate action and opportunity by supporting full-time service positions, called Fellowships, focused on organising climate projects and creating volunteer opportunities in communities around the state.
This year, more than 300 AmeriCorps fellows will deploy to support local climate action projects in front-line and low-income communities across the state. Fellows are placed with state and local government agencies, nonprofit organisations and universities and colleges where they focus on developing and implementing climate action projects with a strong emphasis on volunteerism and community engagement. Fellows receive a living stipend and, after completing a term of service, will be eligible for a scholarship to pay for college or to pay off student loans.
Currently fellows are working on a range of projects including tree plantings in neighbourhoods that lack shade, helping low-income seniors to better protect their homes against wildfires, and working with restaurants to recover food that would otherwise go to waste.
Josh Fryday, California’s chief service officer, said: “People really feel empowered by this programme. They feel like they actually have an outlet to make an impact on climate. And doing the outreach and education and building the projects, they’re empowering others, and that’s very inspiring to them. Together, we can inspire climate action everywhere.”
The organisation is also creating a statewide hub to match organisations and projects with individuals who want to take climate action in their communities.
A similar programme could soon roll out nationwide. US President Biden has called for the creation of a National Civilian Climate Corps. While the details of the program will likely differ, California’s effort shows that people are eager to get involved.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living.