EnviroVoters Ed Fund led California’s delegation at COP 15, the United Nations Biodiversity Conference of the Parties, last week in Montreal. California was the only U.S. state in participation, showing our importance as a leader in local and global biodiversity and conservation efforts. 22 targets were set at COP 15, including an international 30×30 target. Here are our takeaways:
The California Environmental Voters Ambassadors Program identifies, cultivates, and supports young leaders from marginalized communities in the Central Valley.
What exactly is redistricting?
Every 10 years after the census, states redraw district lines for federal, state, and local elections for the next whole decade through a process called redistricting.
Who’s in charge of it?
The redistricting process in California is led by the nonpartisan California Citizens Redistricting Commission (CCRC), 14 people appointed every ten years based on their impartiality, insight, and lack of ties to politicians. This expands democracy by taking the power of choosing new districts out of the hands of politicians and restoring it to ordinary people.
Why is it important?
Redistricting determines what district you vote in and therefore who you can vote for. The people elected to represent these new districts will decide how we respond to climate change for the next 10 years.
How can district lines take environmental issues into account?
It’s important that districts group communities based on common climate concerns, priorities, and impacts for effective and fair representation. Historically-disenfranchised communities of color, Indigenous peoples, and frontline and fence line communities next to major pollution sources should be able to elect candidates of their choice.
How was California Environmental Voters Education Fund involved in redistricting?
The California Environmental Voters Education Fund drew and advocated for district maps that centered our major pollution sources, public land, and historically disenfranchised communities suffering the worst impacts of climate chaos. We launched a massive effort (the Grassroots Racial Equity and Environmental New Majority Advocacy Protect – GREENMAP) to endorse that these environmental values and climate impacts were considered in the redistricting process. Through 12 community-based partners across the state, our coalition succeeded in expanding the map for environmental representation in many areas across the state.
How does California Environmental Voters Education Fund view the final California redistricting maps?
It was a major success! For instance, the North Coast, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, and the I-5 coastal corridor encompassing San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station all stayed in their own Congressional districts, maintaining united federal stewardship of some of our sensitive and important environmental features. We’re also deeply pleased to see a new Latino-majority district that unites the counties around the Salton Sea at the southern edge of the state and a new Sierra Nevada district that brings together the voices of the Eastern Sierra by joining Inyo and Mono Counties with Lake Tahoe and the Plumas National Forest.