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Youth Voices: Greening Our City

Joie was one of the San Leandro HS students participating in our online community Open Houses. Here she reflects on some of her takeaways from the session.

How can we green our city, what can you do to help? Most of us contribute to climate change in our everyday lives because so many of our routines involve the use of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels pollute the environment, leading to health risks and the type of natural disasters caused by climate change such as wildfires and flooding. . Here at San Leandro 2050, our vision is to eliminate San Leandro’s carbon footprint, focusing first on the neighborhoods most impacted by pollution. Together, we can change the way San Leandro handles the things contributing to climate change, increasing environmental sustainability while reducing the hazardous pollutants that impact residents’ health every day.

When we look at the major sources of pollution, it comes down to emissions from diesel trucks, heavy traffic, and businesses as well as residences. These three factors are all detrimental to the air we breathe, especially in neighborhoods that lie in the industrial areas along Highway 880. These are more subjected to pollution due to most of the city’s diesel truck traffic occurring there.

Unfortunately, reducing harmful emissions may come at a higher price point. Many Bay Area residents rely on BART to get around. However, BART has increased in it’s price over the years, which I feel is deeply problematic. One possible solution is for San Leandro 2050 to advocate for a low-cost BART as a way to reduce the pollutants that regular cars are currently putting into the air.

Along with reducing the cost of BART, San Leandro could also provide safer and more efficient bike lanes so more people use bikes instead of cars to get around. Using our own physical energy to get around is very beneficial not only to the environment but also to one’s health. Another solution is greening our city which can have a positive impact on the environment and the quality of life in our community here in San Leandro. Community gardens are another improvement we can bring more of into the city. Creating more green space also helps bring our amazing community together and offers opportunities to contribute. I am hopeful that gatherings will soon be more permitted than they were a year ago.

Lastly, trees have many benefits, such as helping us breathe better air and storing carbon. San Leandro 2050 offers free trees to the following neighborhoods: Davis West, Davis East, Downtown, Washington Manor, Halcyon Foothill, Bonaire, Mulford Gardens, Floresta Gardens, Marina Faire (read more about this on our website). Any contribution made to combat climate change is important and impactful. We hope to see more San Leandro residents request free trees from us to help make our city greener and more resilient!

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