These volunteers and fellows will take on California’s climate issues

The American tradition of service is alive and well. In California, volunteers and paid fellows will be tackling the climate crisis.

The new California Climate Action Corps creates 300 fellowships across the state. Fellows in local communities will work with the California government to develop and implement climate action projects.

The statewide citizen corps for climate action is the first of its kind in the United States, California officials say, and it empowers communities to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues, including the climate crisis.

“We must harness the power of our most important asset, the 40 million people who call California home,” Chief Service Officer for the State of California Josh Fryday said during a Foreign Press Center briefing May 6. “And we must engage everybody to be a part of the solution.”

Group of firefighters posing for a portrait (© California Conservation Corps/AP Images)
The California Conservation Corps, a civilian firefighter crew, during its deployment on the Chimney Fire in San Luis Obispo County, California, on August 15, 2016 (© California Conservation Corps/AP Images)

The first round of fellows will work on increasing tree canopy cover, bolstering wildfire protection and reducing food waste. The fellows will be deployed across the state, from rural communities to urban centers.

The state will also launch an online search engine of volunteer activities so all California residents can find opportunities in their communities. “You’ll be able to put in your zip code and find an organization near you that you can sign up to volunteer [for],” said Fryday.

A decades-old historical precedent

The California Climate Action Corps follows in the footsteps of the 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps, launched by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a part of the New Deal program, and the California Conservation Corps, founded in 1976. Both relied on Americans to step up and make a difference in their communities by tackling infrastructure, forestry and land maintenance.

“Service and volunteering and civic action has the potential to bring people together from all different backgrounds and perspectives to solve problems around a common mission,” said Fryday.

“Our hope is to empower people to be able to take action in their own community and work side by side with people of all backgrounds to get things done.”