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A Look at California’s Strives Toward Climate Resilience

 | 
June 16, 2024
UPDATED: 
June 16, 2024

If you run a small business or are a standard citizen in California, it seems news breaks daily about new government-run climate initiatives. From better water testing to expanded renewable energy, the state is doing everything it can to reduce emissions and become greener.

The California Climate Adaptation Strategy

California is more susceptible to climate influences yearly, and this strategy asks private, public and government bodies to consider the short- and long-term conditions of natural resources. The statewide initiative outlines six guiding principles for climate decision-making, including:

● Strengthen climate-vulnerable communities

● Boost public health to better guard against climate risks

● Focus on a climate-resilient economy

● Make natural systems stronger with nature-based solutions

● Use science to inform action

● Collaborate and share resources

Efforts began in 2008, so is it working? The 2022 Implementation Report highlighted progress toward statewide carbon neutrality by 2045, and legislators increased investments in multiple sectors. You may not have heard of the plan’s expansive wins, but it resulted in:

● Creating 12,700 dwellings for people without homes exposed to climate risks

● Employing 1,350 people to use firefighting helicopters and drones for wildfires

● Allocating $8 billion for renewable energy and grid projects

● Starting the Climate-Biodiversity Sentinel Site Network to monitor wildlife in vulnerable areas

The Public Banking Act

California is now the second state to allow public banks, and unions and activists supported this act. How do these impact local economies and small businesses?

It prevents private banks from unethically deepening financial inequalities or investing in causes that support environmental destruction, like oil. Systemic problems like these are directly related to environmental justice.

Disadvantaged and underdeveloped communities are at the most risk amid the climate crisis because of minimal access to utilities, sturdy infrastructure or available health care. Giving agency back to public banks makes it more likely these California towns will flourish. It also makes neighborhoods more climate-resilient by bolstering financial wellness and energy independence.

Extreme Heat and Community Resilience Program (EHCRP)

Raging wildfires and unprecedented heat waves caused EHCRP to emerge, with the goal of finding ways to mitigate the impacts of high temperatures. It is a notable problem in California because of urban heat islands in metropolitan areas and the lack of shade for aging populations in others.

Small businesses, nonprofit organizations, California Native American tribes and other communities may apply to the EHCRP for grants to make going outside less intense. Small planning grants under the EHCRP range from $100,000 to $250,000 to fund long-term extreme heat protection, with larger grants extending up to $5 million.

The EHCRP funds other activities in addition to infrastructure. It also implements educational programs to build awareness of extreme heat and promote nature-based solutions. Introducing this information to communities forms emotional and mental resilience with practical solutions. Community services will strengthen, becoming more prepared to respond to high temperatures with the help of the EHCRP.

The Community Resilience Working Group (CRWG)

Laws and funding are crucial for progress, but collaboration and communication are arguably more influential in the long term. The CRWG is one example of how state-funded equity programs provide aid and community across industries. They also participate in EHCRP work.

The CRWG has four programs and a tool to help California’s businesses and citizens, including:

Community Resilience Centers Program: A plan to enhance third spaces like community centers to boost emergency preparedness against climate disasters

Community Resilience Centers: A dedicated investment in resilient construction and shelters

Urban Agriculture Grant Program: A plan for expanding urban agriculture which will decrease food scarcity in cities and increase resources for citizens

Regional Resilience Planning Grant Program: A response to notable climate risks by funding high-priority projects

Vulnerable Communities Platform: An online map tool that collects data on regions needing the most assistance against climate change

The CRWG has already successfully reduced hundreds of thousands of carbon emissions and addressed social and structural inequity across the state. Working groups are essential to build and fund new infrastructure while cutting impact from existing economies. Long-lasting, transformative action requires a comprehensive scope to ensure small communities benefit as much as the state’s most populated cities.

The Golden State Going Green

California’s weather is diverse, with wildfires and flooding along its expansive coastline. Its government must reinforce climate resilience if its small businesses are to remain in operation. Defenses will become more substantial as long as you and the rest of the state’s citizens and representatives prioritize adaptable and comprehensive strategies against severe weather and climate catastrophes.

Author

  • Chuck Parsons

    Chuck is Score LA’s Executive Director of Events and Marketing. He aims to help business owners and would-be entrepreneurs in Los Angeles improve their business practices.

    View all posts
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