REDLANDS, Calif. - ANCA, short for Accelerated Neighborhood Climate Action, has been recognized with the 2023 Mayor's Award at today's annual State of the City event. The organization has been praised for its efforts in developing and promoting a local vision aimed at preparing Redlands for the present and future impacts of climate change. This award is a testament to ANCA's commitment to addressing one of the most pressing issues of our time.
Linda Hamilton, Founder of Redlands ANCA, explained that during the process of developing their vision, organizers were struck with a stark realization - climate change is here, and the solutions need to focus on ways to adapt to its inevitable impacts.
"We found ourselves talking about strategies to address the impacts, but finally realized that we need to know what the alternative to a very bleak future looks like. That would be a vision," Hamilton shared in an email.
ANCA's Vision for a Climate Resilient Community consists of specific actions that contribute in some way to reducing carbon emissions, increasing community preparedness, and ensuring environmental justice.
"These are three essential things we need and can do at the local level," said Hamilton.
The group has identified 10 elements for the community to prepare for and mitigate the impacts of a warming planet:
- local sustainable food system
- cooler homes and neighborhoods
- low carbon transportation system
- sustained water conservation
- protection of biodiversity
- disaster preparedness at the neighborhood level
- localized economy
- zero waste community
- localized and accessible healthcare
- energy-efficient homes and businesses
"There is no question that we will go through extremely hard times even if we miraculously manage to abolish fossil fuels," warns Hamilton. That's why ANCA is proposing things like disaster preparedness, localized and accessible healthcare, and sustainable local food systems.
ANCA anticipates that to accomplish this vision, it will take everyone from city leaders all the way down to the neighborhood level.
"By working on a common vision, we will get to know our neighbors better, strengthen our networks, and learn new ways to live as we face difficult challenges in the years to come," said Hamilton.
Local sustainable food system
ANCA is kicking off its fall Community Education Program with the topic of tapping into our local food system.
Fewer cold days, erratic weather, and hotter temperatures are expected to impact food supplies.
A recent study by the USDA and UC Davis published in Plant Science warns that climate change and extreme heat may significantly affect California's food production. Some researchers worry current models underestimate the reduction in crop yield because of climate change.
Further, the average meal travels 1,500 miles from the farm to the table in the United States, contributing to emissions. But it does not have to be that way, according to Sue Struthers with the Riverside Food System Alliance.
Struther, who will be one of the speakers at the ANCA event on Wednesday, explains the benefits of supporting local food systems. Supporting local food systems keeps farmers in business, maintains open spaces, and ensures a food source when larger supply chains are distributed.
"We saw major food-supply chain disruptions during Covid... whether or not that product is local affects your local economy and your ability to have a supply source," said Struthers.
Struthers is also working to help establish a brick-and-mortar location for the Riverside Food Coop. The coop's monthly subscription boxes are filled with produce that rarely travels beyond 20 miles.
"When food is shipped in, it also puts miles traveled on that food, which means pollution. That is detrimental to the climate."
Struthers points out that individual habits can make a difference in maintaining a local food supply, whether it's joining a local food co-op, shopping at Farmers Markets, or stopping by local fruit stands.
Speakers at the event on Wednesday will also discuss supporting local agriculture, reducing food waste, and distributing fresh, sustainable food to the immediate community.
- Erin Sanborn, University of Redlands Sustainability Director
- Sue Struthers, Treasurer of Riverside Food Systems Alliance
- Autumn Yanez-Jacobo, Huerta del Valle's Community Supported Ag Coordinator
- Mandy Parkes, Inland Empire Resource Conservation District
The event includes an opportunity to draw for Huerta del Valle Produce boxes.
If you'd like to learn more about sustainable local food systems, you can register for the event next Wednesday:
The path forward
"One of our core beliefs in ANCA is based on a quote from Joan Baez, 'Action is the antidote to despair.' We have found this to be true," Hamilton said when reflecting on the work ahead.
She hopes the vision of a sustainable and healthy future could inspire more people to take action today.
You can learn more about the work of ANCA and how to get involved here.