California Bill Addresses Green Space Access Inequality
As more and more people seek respite outdoors during this global pandemic, we have the opportunity to invest in our public lands and recreation—doing our part to make our state healthier and more resilient—while also increasing access to these green spaces for those who already suffer the worst impacts from environmental injustices.
California Asm. Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) has joined Audubon California and other sponsors to introduce a bill that would recognize access to nature as a basic human right and direct state agencies to ensure that policies reflect the need of all Californians for safe, convenient outdoor recreation opportunities.
Studies indicate profound benefits of time spent outdoors in natural settings. Children who spend time outdoors in natural environments experience improved health and cognitive functions, strong motor coordination, reduced stress, and enhanced social skills.
However, research from the Nature Gap report shows that communities of color are three times more likely than white communities to live in nature-deprived areas and that 70 percent of low-income communities live in nature-deprived areas. In addition, Black, Latino and indigenous people often encounter hostility or threats when trying to enjoy time outdoors.
Maintaining urban green space is an important part of “30 x 30,” an international effort to maintain biodiversity and create resilience against climate change, recognized in an executive order signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in October.
The California Human Right to Nature Act would direct all relevant state agencies, including the Natural Resources Agency, the State Department of Public Health, the Department of Transportation, and state boards to ensure that policies reflect the need of all Californians for safe and convenient outdoor recreation opportunities.
First-of-its-kind bill would help address disparities in access to outdoor recreation in communities of color and elsewhere.
An anti-displacement guide for green infrastructure development.
California is first in nation to commit to protecting 30% of our lands and waters by 2030.
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