SACRAMENTO, CA – In honor of Earth Day, on the afternoon of April 22, Assemblymember Lisa Calderon (D – Whittier) announced legislation that seeks to address the effects of climate change in communities across the state.
Assemblymember Calderon has introduced the following bills that seek to alleviate intensifying heat in urban areas:
- AB 2251 – Urban forestry: statewide strategic plan: this bill would require the state to develop a strategic plan to increase tree canopy coverage by 10% in urban centers.
- AB 2566 – Urban forestry: school greening projects: this bill would create a grant program to support K-12 school greening efforts in disadvantaged or low-income communities.
In 2018, California’s fourth Climate Change Assessment found that, without action, the annual maximum daily temperature would increase by 5.6-8.8 degrees by 2100. Additionally, by 2050, heatwaves in cities could cause 2-3 time more heat related deaths. Extreme heat disproportionately affects low-income communities, which often consist of dense, multi-family housing, a lack of adequate tree canopy coverage, and older, lower-quality building infrastructure with less air conditioning and more heat-retaining material.
“California continues to experience record-breaking temperatures, with escalating heat waves occurring more frequently,” stated Assemblymember Calderon. “The prevalence of extreme heat in our state’s urban centers, which has intensified due to climate change, underscores the need for a statewide blueprint to better inform existing urban forestry efforts. Extreme heat detrimentally impacts low-income communities and people of color in districts like my own, who already suffer from a lack of tree canopy coverage, access to parks and open space, and higher exposure to pollutants.”
Children that attend schools in urban areas built with heat-retaining materials and that are ill-equipped to shelter students from extreme heat are at heightened risk of suffering heat-related illnesses like skin cancer, asthma, and obesity. As such, a method to mitigate the impact of extreme heat in cities, schools, and other pavement-intense environments is to develop greener landscapes.
Research indicates that when vegetation, tree canopy, and soil moisture increases, human morbidity and mortality decreases, and that being in nature helps develop children’s cognitive, emotional, and behavioral connections to their surrounding environment.
“My [Assembly] bills, 2251 and 2566, aim to transform communities paved by asphalt into greener landscapes, which will reduce the effects of increased heat and benefit overall community health,” Assemblymember Calderon continued. “These measures will ensure that California is ready to lead the nation with urgency to propel the growth and protection of urban tree canopies across the state.”
For full text of these bills, visit: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov
Contact: Alberto Ruiz, email@example.com
 Lovasi, G.S., et al. (2008). Children Living in Areas with More Street Trees Have Lower Prevalence of Asthma. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. 62(7): 647-49
 Katz, D. L. (2005). Public Health Strategies for Preventing Controlling Overweight and Obesity in School and Worksite Settings: A Report on Recommendations of the Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
 Wolf, K. & Flora, K. (2010). Mental Health & Function. University of Washington.