This World Rivers Day, September 24, the Rose Foundation reflected on the value of rivers, and our role in protecting these vital veins and arteries of our planet. In many ways California is on the leading edge when it comes to environmental protection, yet of the over 66,000 miles of assessed rivers in the state, over 90% are too degraded or polluted to meet state water quality standards.
Cleaning products are meant to remove dirt and germs from our homes, but often do so using toxic chemicals. We awarded the Instituto de Educación Popular del Sur de California (IDEPSCA) a $50,000 grant through our Consumer Products Fund to promote the use of greener cleaning products among Latino immigrant domestic workers.
Our students’ learning journey this summer has taken them to the American River, the Richmond refinery communities, and the EBMUD West Oakland wastewater treatment plant. Students also planted trees to provide shade for a local nursery school, met with legislators in Sacramento, and completed externships to gain work experiences with local environmental organizations.
Our students are currently learning about energy and water policy. Last Friday, our students visited Lake Pardee, the reservoir that houses Oakland’s drinking water. There they went inside the reservoir’s dam, toured a hydroelectric powerhouse and watched the dam operators open a sluice gate.
This past month, the Rose Foundation was pleased to receive over $500,000 in cy pres funds from Facebook through the Fraley v. Facebook case. Cy pres funds like these enable grantmaking to groups working toward environmental justice, consumer protection and consumer privacy.
Read our print newsletter to hear about what Rose Foundation grantees thought of the elections in November and get updated on other events. The newsletter includes stories about our graduating New Voices students and about our grassroots training institute.
Electric cars continue to make the headlines, but at the Rose Foundation, we’re still excited to celebrate the 19th Century’s bicycle. The US has celebrated May as Bike Month since 1956 as a way to recognize the value of biking. Biking provides excellent exercize while reducing the production of greenhouse gases.
New Voices fellow Javier Mejia-Cuenca stood up for what he believed is right. On a trip to Sacramento with our New Voices Are Rising coordinator Carlos Zambrano, he lobbied for Senate Bill 5 (SB5). SB5 would provide funding for disadvantaged communities who do not have access to recreational spaces. Furthermore, this bill provides funds for the state to employ green flood control methods, such as rain gardens and storm water ponds. These improvements give space for runoff to collect safely and provide habitat for plants.
The New Voices are Rising Interns spoke at the YES (Youth for Environment and Sustainability Conference) about the final preferred scenario for PLAN Bay Area. PLAN Bay Area is a transportation and housing plan that will develop the Bay Area, and also decrease its green house gas emissions by 2044.
On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, Urban Releaf hosted a tree planting at Brook Elementary School in East Oakland. Over 200 volunteers planted trees and helped improve air quality at a school next to the I-880 freeway. Several Rose Foundation staff, New Voices partners and Rose Foundation grantees pitched in to help. As the trees grow, they will block pollution and noise from the freeway from drifting into the schoolyard.