Building Climate Resilience with New Voices Are Rising

Last month, in partnership with Local Clean Energy Alliance, New Voices Are Rising hosted its annual Climate Resilience Workshop. Led by three academic school-year fellows—Ashley, Jamaia, and Natia–the event focused on building climate resilience in Oakland. The fellows hosted 3 stations exploring strategies for Oakland to adapt, recover, and thrive in response to the challenges of pollution and climate change.  

A blueprint for the Oakland coliseum.

Community Blueprinting
With the Oakland A’s moving out of the city, Ashley, our Contra Costa Air Quality Fellow, wondered how the empty stadium could be repurposed to benefit the community. Ashley facilitated a blueprinting station that asked participants how they would like the Oakland Coliseum space to be used. Participants workshopped various ideas including an area for low-income housing, a buffer zone of trees next to the freeway, a public park, and a community event space. Collaborating with their peers, youth discovered they share similar hopeful visions for the future of their community.

A model of an Oakland resilient hub.

Resilience Hubs

A heating and cooling center powered by clean energy, shelter to house people during natural disasters, and a green space for the community to convene emerged as primary features of climate resilience at Jamaia’s resilience hub workstation. Resilience hubs are spaces designed by and for the community to prepare for and recover from disasters. Using legos and other building materials, Jamaia facilitated a modeling session around the kinds of resources participants would like to see in a future Oakland resilience hub.

A participant’s ideal vs. realistic collage.

Ideal vs. Real Community

Air and water pollution contrasted with lush healthy green spaces, and food apartheid sat opposite healthy, affordable food. These are just a few of the images seen at the ideal vs real collage station, led by Natia, our Clean Energy Fellow. The exercise showed that youth in high impact neighborhoods can quickly identify the community they want, and just as quickly pinpoint the reality they live in. At the collage station, participants recognized they are not alone in their experience of their community or in their desire for change.

The challenges facing Oakland communities are real. At the Climate Resilience Workshop, young people took a step forward in recognizing themselves as active agents in changing their communities into something they wish to see. Working alongside peers from their own neighborhoods, they co-created a positive, healthy vision of a future Oakland. They explored, interrogated, and imagined what resilience could look like in their citymaybe the most important first step in any resilience work. 

Thank you to Jessica, Hernando and LCEA for your support! And congratulations to our New Voices Fellows Ashley, Jamaia, and Natia for hosting a successful Climate Resilience Hub Workshop!  

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