AB 30 would help ensure that every person has affordable access to nature and its benefits
Like food, water, and shelter, nature is critical to the health and well-being of all people. That’s why Save the Redwoods League supports Assembly Bill 30, titled “Outdoor access to nature: environmental equity.” Introduced by Assembly Member Ash Kalra, this bill would make it a state policy that access to nature and its benefits are human rights and that every person should have safe and affordable outdoor access.
Why AB 30 Is Important
Scientific studies and anecdotal evidence have shown that time in nature can mitigate anxiety and depression, reduce mortality rates, and promote people’s overall well-being. During these times of unprecedented stress from a global pandemic and its economic impacts, climate change–related events, and racial injustice, the benefits of nature are especially important for marginalized and under-resourced communities that are disproportionately impacted by all these issues.
The bill states that “one in three Californians do not live within a 10–minute walk to a quality park.” It also cites a recent Hispanic Access Foundation report that found that 55% of Latinos in California lack access to open space, and many Black and Latino neighborhoods have significantly fewer acres of green space than predominantly white neighborhoods.
About AB 30
AB 30 calls for state agencies, departments, and commissions to consult with and prioritize the needs of California Native communities, communities of color, and poor communities in their policy work, grant criteria, and expenditures related to outdoor access to nature. On April 26, the Assembly Water, Parks & Wildlife Committee voted to refer the bill to the Committee on Appropriations. The League hopes that the bill will make it to the Assembly floor and advance to the State Senate. California would be the first state to declare access to nature as a human right, setting a precedent for the rest of the nation.
AB 30 Reinforces the League’s Connect Programs
The bill is aligned with the League’s extensive work to connect all people with inspiring redwoods experiences. After helping to establish California State Parks and create 66 redwood parks in our first 100 years, the League is now focused on collaborating with our partners to reimagine iconic parks like Big Basin Redwoods State Park and Redwood National and State Parks to be welcoming and resonant to all Californians and visitors from across the globe.
The League is also opening the first new redwood park in a generation: Harold Richardson Redwoods Reserve in Sonoma County. This project is being developed in consultation with historically underrepresented communities, including the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians who have called the area home for generations. as. In the giant sequoia range, the League is developing public access to Alder Creek, which will become a part of Giant Sequoia National Monument and a new southern gateway to sequoia country for the diverse communities of Southern California.
Our parks projects are also enriched by innovative education programs, as well community outreach and partnerships with our focus communities, which include California tribes, poor rural communities, young people of color, and women and girls.
Protecting Nature for All People
AB 30 will help advance the state’s goal to protect biodiversity and address climate change under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent executive order. As California focuses on restoring climate resilience and biodiversity for the health of our environment, it must recognize ongoing inequities to make sure all Californians have safe and affordable access to the healing that nature provides. People and our environment are inherently connected; as one thrives, so does the other.