Last summer, California ReLeaf suddenly found itself in the unenviable position of being the torch-bearer for nonprofits across the state with regards to critical legislation that would set in statute eligible recipients for cap and trade funding. The first thing we did was activate the California ReLeaf Network. The second was build partnerships with other statewide groups.
The result was we got what we wanted, and we did it by teaming the local voice of the Network with the statewide clout of Trust for Public Land and the Nature Conservancy.
So when the chance came along for ReLeaf to join this conservation coalition (which also includes Pacific Forest Trust and the California Climate and Agricultural Network) to work collaboratively towards identify natural resources cap-and-trade investment opportunities, we were quick to accept the invitation. Similarly, when the sponsors of SB 535 (last year’s disadvantaged communities bill) invited us to their table, we saw an opportunity to start building relationships with groups once considered “non-traditional partners.”
Many stakeholders and public policy advocates in the environmental, energy, and transportation communities are currently celebrating recommendations made by the California Air Resources Board in the Draft Investment Plan for Cap-and-Trade Auction Proceeds released on April 16th, 2013. We too are celebrating. The Plan is on target with regards to the role urban forestry should play in helping the state meet its 2020 greenhouse gas reduction goals; and is further on point in regards to how those funds should be distributed and for what purposes. This is an undisputed win for our community.
But the win is not just in seeing the words “urban forestry” repeated 15 times through the document (though that is pretty cool). It’s an affirmation of the work this Network does, and of the partnerships we’ve forged to get this far. Take a look at the report here, and review Appendix A to see who helped California ReLeaf and our Network members carry the torch. This is the start of what ReLeaf hopes will be a continuing relationship with groups like Housing California, TransForm, Greenlining Institute, Nature Conservancy, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Coalition for Clean Air and others who have coalesced around the idea that the best way to achieve green cities and sustainable communities throughout California is by recognizing all of the pieces must work together to form the puzzle.
We’re still in a race to the finish line, but we’ve never had a stronger support base than now. Many thanks to our Network and to our statewide partners for helping us get this far.