In the fall of 2016 I attended the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s Climate Forward Bay Area Leadership Forum. The keynote speaker Van Jones spoke on eloquently on Equity and how to best address it as policy makers. He highlighted that people avoid truly addressing equity- real answers and real tangible change. True genius is in other people’s experiences and seeing past your own blind spot. In his speech he mentioned the importance of actual pay off through all the “political nonsense” he referenced the Greenling Institute which directs money from the cap-and-trade programs to communities most in need of economic investment, good jobs, and clean air (SB353). There we see a win-win situation between environment and people.
A program I would propose in order to promote environmental equity would involve community engagement throughout the process. The program would involve prioritizing to replace polluted manufacturing centers and factories with clean energy (solar, wind, etc.). Because this population is disproportionately effected by pollution it is critical to address this issues. These new clean energy centers would be a hub for new jobs for these populations that have been disappearing due to autonomization and deindustrialization. This program would accomplish jobs stimulation and reducing greenhouse gases in employee’s own communities and beyond. This policy would require funds in place as well as public and private partnerships.