Summer Days Often Feel Much Hotter If You Live In One Of California’s Historically Redlined Neighborhoods

May 26, 2020 | By Randol White | Capital Public Radio

California’s triple-digit heat is back — and new research shows residents in the state’s most underserved neighborhoods suffer the most when the mercury rises.

Portland State University’s heat-mapping project tapped volunteers last summer in four California metro areas to attach GPS-equipped temperature collection gadgets to their cars and drive along set routes for an hour in the morning, afternoon and evening. They drove through the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Victorville and Sacramento.

The research project was led by Vivek Shandas, a professor who believes this form of heat-data collection can help city planners solve decades-old problems.

“We’re trying to bring the understanding of climate change and the changes happening on a planetary scale down to the individual person and down to the individual city block,” Shandas said.

The data collected that day indicates the temperature differentials between neighborhoods can vary by as much as 20 degrees.

Wealthy, tree-canopied neighborhoods are typically cooler, and low-income, asphalt-heavy communities run hotter.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels.

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Putting Vehicle Miles Traveled Guidelines Into Action

On May 26, 2020 the Environmental Council of Sacramento joined a large coalition of organizations in sending a letter to the Governor of California urging our state to move forward in implementing the Vehicle Miles Traveled guidelines for transportation impact analysis per Senate Bill 743 (2013).

We, the undersigned organizations, are grateful for the decisive actions you’ve taken to protect Californians during the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand the far-reaching impacts of COVID-19 and know that difficult choices will need to be made. We are aware that there are requests from some parties to postpone the implementation of SB 743 (2013); we urge you to not further delay the implementation of this very important statute.

COVID-19 has created an economic crisis for California, and the magnitude of the challenges ahead for our state’s recovery are immense, but postponing implementation of SB 743 would be a mistake. Rather, expeditious implementation of SB 743 is now all the more important to ensure a more sustainable, equitable, and resilient future for California.

Click here to read the letter in full.

Photo by Robert Couse-Baker via Pxhere

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New Harvard Study Links COVID Deaths and Air Pollution

Gretchen Goldman
April 8, 2020
Union of Concerned Scientists (blog)

The most important result is that we found that people living in counties in the US that have experienced a higher level of air pollution over the past 15-17 years have a substantially higher COVID-19 mortality rate. To quantify, we found that a one unit increase in long-term average exposure to fine particulate matter is associated with a 15% increase in COVID-19 mortality rate on average in the analysis. This increase accounts for adjustments for any systematic differences between county level characteristics [such as population density or smoking rates].

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Image from Getty Images.

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