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When Communities Unite

Updated: May 6

Earth Day brought together a wonderful collaboration at the Casa Blanca Home of Neighborly Service in Riverside, California, showcasing what can be achieved when communities unite for a common purpose. CURE was at the forefront of this event, highlighting our deep commitment to sustainable growth and community empowerment.  We are especially grateful to Target Corporation, En-Gage Riverside and Greenbelt Growers who helped to underwrite the project and volunteered over three days to complete the planting.


Planting trees is more than a one-time event. CURE installed meters to measure the water needed to sustain these 20 avocado trees and to assess how trees can reduce heat and energy usage.  Avocado trees also will produce healthy food for the families visiting the pantry.  CURE’s policy goal is to demonstrate that targeted use of affordable water is critical to combat climate and that cities should prioritize and allocate a block of water for this purpose.


CURE is concerned that the State of California’s proposed restrictions on water usage will worsen the impacts of climate by discouraging food forests and green spaces.  Water policy directly impacts the quality of life and economies of an area.  For decades, CURE has urged regulators to consider the short and long-term impact of water transfers and conservation regulations on the disadvantaged communities most susceptible to hotter temperatures and pollution. Poorer communities often cannot afford air conditioning or escape to cooler areas on the coast.  Riverside has ample land and water yet California’s policies are forcing it to conserve and transfer water outside the city. This policy not only worsens Riverside’s environments but also promotes urban sprawl by moving water to areas not yet developed. 


CURE’s next goal in Casa Blanca is to plant barren land owned by the City that abuts train tracks.  Prior initiatives proposed affordable housing on that land, but the community and CURE successfully fought this project by highlighting the adverse air quality and health affects of moving more people within feet of a rail system.  Instead, greening this space by planting hundreds of trees would cool the surrounding climate and provide an escape for Casa Blanca residents when summer arrives.  Other fallow lands in Riverside also should be planted with food forests and used to train students in future jobs focused on climate adaptation.


Earth Day is a reminded of the fragility of our climate.  But these threats can be overcome if communities work together to solve this growing problem.  The Casa Blanca pantry effort is the beginning of that type of effort in Riverside.







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