Empowering Change: Community Climate Action Day in Riverside
Written by Rola Halawanji - Director of California Climate Action Corps
Climate change is a global challenge, and addressing it requires collective action at the community level. On September 23rd, Riverside, California, played host to an inspiring event known as the Community Climate Action Day. Organized by California volunteers, Office of the Governor, this event brought together community members, as well as members of the California Climate Action Corps and various AmeriCorps programs, with a shared goal of making a positive impact on their environment.
The Community Climate Action Day is more than just an event; it's a testament to the power of community collaboration and the dedication of individuals striving to combat climate change. This year's event was particularly special as it marked the culmination of the California Climate Action Corps 2023-24 Term Orientation, which marks the start of the term.
The orientation was an intensive week-long program that began with two days of virtual sessions, followed by a fully immersive experience whereby Members traveled from various corners of the state to converge at Alpine Meadows Retreat Center for two more days of in-person team development. The week-long orientation was not just about building knowledge; it was about building a strong sense of community and shared purpose among the participants. This set the stage for the grand finale – the Community Climate Action Day.
When the members arrived at Martha McLean-Anza Narrows Park in Riverside, they were greeted with a warm and heartfelt welcome.
Dignitaries and local assembly members joined the gathering to express their appreciation for the incredible service these members were dedicating close to a year of their lives. It was a moment of recognition for their unwavering commitment to the community and the environment.
One of the most poignant moments of the day was the swearing-in ceremony, where members were surrounded by community members and acknowledged for their service. This solemn yet empowering event symbolized the official commencement of their mission to make a positive impact on the environment.
Following the ceremony, the members were divided into groups and tasked with planting trees throughout the park. As I walked around the park, I couldn't help but notice the smiles on their faces and the sense of accomplishment that emanated from their hard work. What was particularly striking was the enthusiasm and pride with which they approached this labor-intensive task, especially after a rigorous week-long orientation. They were working with a profound sense of pride.
In conversations with many of the members, I asked about their experiences and their perspectives on the day's activities. Their responses were consistently inspiring. They saw this hands-on work as not just a task but a vital part of their mission. They explained that it was precisely what they needed to do to connect with the community and create a tangible impact.
Their passion and dedication to the cause were abundantly evident. They weren't just planting trees; they were sowing the seeds of change, nurturing a more sustainable future for all. Their words and actions that day served as a testament to their genuine commitment.
I couldn't help but feel an immense sense of pride in witnessing these members wholeheartedly embrace the physical demands of the day. Their willingness to get their hands dirty, quite literally, illustrated their dedication to making a difference in the world. They understood that tackling climate change requires both knowledge and action, and they embodied this understanding.
The Community Climate Action Day in Riverside not only united a diverse group of individuals but also demonstrated the power of passion, commitment, and a willingness to work together for a common goal. These members, celebrated by their community and local leaders, showcased the very essence of what it means to be a catalyst for positive change. Their efforts, particularly in planting over 100 trees, will leave a lasting impact on Martha McLean Park and serve as a symbol of hope and determination in the fight against climate change.