Tackling environmental justice and pollution challenges while simultaneously building climate resilience is a cornerstone of RRC programming. A robust set of partnerships focused on the Inland region has integrated the RRC into a local landscape of environmental changemakers. Partners include governmental agencies, regional collaboratives, educational institutions, community organizations, and nonprofit groups. Since October, the RRC has written letters to oppose Upland’s Measure Q, to oppose the location of an Intermodal Transfer Facility in Colton, CA, and in support of the New Green Riverside Plan.
New Green Riverside
The RRC is working with the City of Riverside on a “New Green Riverside Plan” alongside Councilmember Ronaldo Fierro and his staff. Our students are involved in planning meetings, conducting studies, and presenting reports on tree-based pollution remediation, the transition from logistics to a green economy, and the electrification of new construction. The RRC is also working on agricultural projects—writing a proposed policy for carbon sequestration incentives for farmers and a sample farmland mitigation policy. Riverside has an enviable greenbelt, a commitment to sustainability, and is the future home of the California Air Resources Board. In the City of Riverside, the RRC has found a municipal match for our values and vision for a healthy, green Inland region.
Save Memorial Park: Upland’s Measure Q Defeated!
In Fall 2020, amidst the most important election in US history, Pitzer College’s RRC and EA students joined the fight against Measure Q in the City of Upland, just east of the College. Students and the RRC built the capacity of People for Upland Parks to resist Upland’s proposed abandonment to 4.63 acres of Memorial to the San Antonio Regional Hospital for a proposed parking lot. Students and the RRC Director did research on the social, economic, environmental, and health benefits of park space, wrote a letter of opposition, launched social media campaigns on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and engaged in phone banking. While the hospital had $100k to spend in support of the campaign, anti-Measure Q organizers had a mere $5k. But they had something more important: people power. The Little League got behind it. Reasons for opposing the Measure included improprieties in legal process, the lack of an Environmental Impact Report, arguments about public health, equity, and environmental justice, and adhering to the basic principle of keeping public land in public hands. The proposal would have eliminated the only Little League field in the United States that does not charge its players to play. Little Leaguers are worthy protagonists, but the environmental, economic, and health-based consequences proved equally compelling to the citizens of Upland, who voted to retain their park space as a valuable community asset.