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Rep. Kamlager-Dove talks importance of ‘going green’


Maintaining California’s landscape

Our Weekly conducted an interview recently with Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove (CA-37)  about the importance of prioritizing environmental organizations and the impact their work could have on rectifying the environmental injustice perpetrated against California land. 

Question: Why is it important to support these different organizations? 

Answer: When President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, he made good on his promise to address the disproportionate impact that climate change has on underserved and underinvested communities. Now, it's up to us all to ensure that historic environmental justice investments from the IRA flow equitably into Los Angeles communities—and that starts with applying for these federal dollars. My office hosted our second annual environmental justice funding convening and grants workshop to spread awareness about the federal assistance available to CA-37 organizations,  municipalities, and communities through the Inflation Reduction Act. If secured, this federal funding would equip our on-the-ground partners with the necessary resources to make real change in their communities and help build greener, cleaner, and healthier futures for all. 

Q. What is the importance of environmental justice? 

A: Environmental justice is a public health and human rights issue. All communities— regardless of zip code— deserve to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and live in an environment free from harmful pollutants that could negatively impact their health. Further, all communities deserve access to green spaces that help reduce heat, lower energy costs, and build community. And all communities deserve resiliency measures to protect them from the extreme effects of climate change, including floods, natural disasters, and wildfires. 

Environmental justice is our recognition that these climate inequities exist and is our call to action. 

Q. What are some of the environmental injustices in Los Angeles and in California in general?

A: When we talk about delivering federal resources to underserved and underinvested communities to aid in their fight against climate change— that's California's 37th District. Environmental injustice exists throughout Los Angeles, including discriminatory pollution patterns, unequal access to green space, and inadequate resources to address the extreme effects of climate change.  I've seen firsthand the disproportionate impact that environmental hazards and climate change have on Angelenos— this experience was central to my decision to run for Congress, and it is why environmental justice remains one of my top legislative priorities today. 

Q. What is the disparity across Los Angeles due to the decay of the environment?  

A: One injustice we frequently see in Los Angeles is that more densely populated and underinvested areas tend to be inland and have much fewer trees and parks, resulting in hot spots that can make these areas 10-15 degrees hotter on any given day. Among many detrimental effects, this problem presents significant health dangers and reduces recreational opportunities for kids and communities. And, as our climate continues to heat up and LA weather continues to be more variable, this presents a significant problem to unhoused individuals.

Q. How can residents help to restore/persevere their environment? 

A: Big or small, we can all play a role in reversing the impacts of climate change. Whether opting to use public transportation, recycling, utilizing Inflation Reduction Act clean energy tax credits to switch to green appliances and electric vehicles, or switching to drought-tolerant and climate-resilient landscaping, there are measurable steps we all can take to preserve our shared environment.  

Q. What changes would you make today toward the Los Angeles environment? 

A: Like people in all communities, Angelenos deserve a safe environment where they can live,  learn, play, work, and grow. From my time in the state legislature, I’ve focused on environmental justice and sustainability. Whether it was bringing urban farming initiatives to the district or pushing to ban fracking, I’ve worked to ensure all communities in the 37th are represented and heard. I’ve also continued these efforts in Congress, where I am working every day to bring home federal funding for community-driven projects—like the ones discussed at our convening—to mitigate the effects of climate change, historic underinvestment, and environmental hazards on Los Angeles communities.