“Inequitable access to nature is a problem that leaders in California can no longer ignore,” said Maite Arce, president and CEO of Hispanic Access Foundation. “With scientists urging policymakers to protect at least 30 percent of U.S. lands and ocean by 2030 to address the biodiversity and climate crises, now is the time to take action. By protecting far more lands and waters over the next decade, the U.S. can guarantee every child in America the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of nature near their home.”
For too long, communities of color and low-income communities across the country have faced a “Nature Gap” – meaning they have less access to parks, beaches, and natural areas in general. Because of the inequitable distribution of greenspace in the U.S., these communities are denied nature’s benefits and suffer from higher rates of asthma, obesity, and other chronic diseases. With our nation’s shifting demographics and Latinos on track to becoming 30% of the U.S. population by 2050, Latinos will continue to experience these severe consequences at a disproportionate rate.
“Nature protection and restoration cannot be the only elements of California’s 30x30 plan,” said Shanna Edberg, Director of Conservation Programs at Hispanic Access Foundation. “Governor Newsom must consider public and active transportation needs, affordable and dense housing, living wages, the border wall and immigration reform, and law enforcement reform as additional components necessary to creating meaningful equity and safety in the outdoors.”
A whole-of-government approach centering equity and BIPOC perspectives throughout California’s 30x30 plan is necessary to design a deliberately inclusive program that accounts for the myriad ways in which communities of color are excluded from a safe, accessible, pollution-free outdoors that addresses environmental justice and meets community needs.
The full “Equity & Environmental Justice in California’s 30x30 Goal” toolkit is available for download at https://bit.ly/CA3x30.