Rep. Chu Bill Would Establish AmeriCorps Program to Address Climate Change
Washington, DC — Today, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) introduced the Climate Resiliency Service Corps Act of 2019 to establish a new AmeriCorps program to promote community adaptation, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery from the effects of climate change. Approximately 75,000 Americans join AmeriCorps programs each year, gaining work experience and developing in-demand skills while addressing conservation, disaster response, and community needs. This bill would harness the skills and resources of Corpsmembers to help at-risk communities across the country to prepare for the climate crisis.
“Climate change is a national threat, affecting every region of the country. And it is one that demands immediate action. My legislation will mobilize our country’s National Service Corpsmembers to do just that,” said Rep. Chu. “Not only will passionate young people get the chance to develop in-demand skills and work experience, they will also get the chance to support conservation, disaster response, and community needs. My legislation will empower AmeriCorps to provide education on climate change, disasters, and resilience at community-based organizations, proactively complete projects to promote climate resilience, and to respond and rebuild from disasters in a way that promotes resilience to future impacts. This is particularly important in my state of California, where we are dealing with impacts like larger wildfires, but it will also be a benefit across the country as states deal with sea level rise, severe storms, heat waves, and drought.”
“National service programs address challenges ranging from food insecurity, to illiteracy, to the backlog of maintenance needs on our public lands. With this bill, we see a path to engaging more national service programs in addressing the very real challenge of climate change,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President and CEO of The Corps Network. “We thank Rep. Chu for her leadership on this issue and look forward to working with her and our partners at the Corporation for National and Community Service to make climate resiliency projects a greater priority for Corps and other national service programs.”
“Cities and towns across the country are reeling from the impacts of climate change. Marginalized communities and disadvantaged young people are particularly affected by these threats – from devastating wildfires in California to catastrophic flooding in Texas,” said Elizabeth Gore, EDF Senior Vice President, Political Affairs. “Building resiliency is key to handling the impacts of the climate crisis and we’re grateful to Representative Chu for her work to help communities prepare for natural disasters, adjust to the threats from a changing climate, and provide meaningful service opportunities.”
“All across our country, communities are already facing intense challenges from climate change in rising sea levels, severe storms, floods, hurricanes, drought and wildfires,” said Marc Boom, director of federal affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “This new Climate Resiliency Service Corps is a smart and prudent idea that will train young people to help prepare communities for climate hazards and manage the harm they cannot avoid.”
This legislation is supported by the Corps Network, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, and the Audubon Society. The bill is cosponsored by Representatives John Sarbanes (D-MD), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Gil Cisneros (D-CA), Nanette Diaz Barragan (D-CA), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Joe Neguse (D-CO), and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ).