Nailah Pope-Harden

  • published Meet Nailah Pope-Harden in Blog 2021-08-11 14:53:06 -0700

    Meet Nailah Pope-Harden

    As I sit down to write this my two-year-old son, Naeem, is playing in the backyard. It is hands down his favorite place to be. While the recent fires make air quality less than ideal, his south Sacramento-born and bred lungs are used to less than ideal air quality. Albeit, he could care less about pollution because he’s two and this is the most important part of Naeem’s day. He waters our lawn, plays in the mud, and runs back and forth until he’s exhausted. Sometimes between sprints, he stops and lifts his head up, looks directly at the sun, and roars. That little roar, from that free Black boy body, is why I care so deeply about climate and environmental justice. Making sure that he stays safe, healthy, and free in this world is the second thing (coffee being the first) that gets me out of bed.

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  • Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure (CAPTI) is the next step to achieving California's climate goals

    A year and a half after Governor Newsom issued Executive Order (EO) N-19-19 - a multi-agency call to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change impacts - we are now seeing a plan for how this EO will be implemented. The EO has asked that the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) leverage $5 billion of discretionary state transportation spending to prioritize reaching our state’s climate goals. In response, CalSTA has created the Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure, known as CAPTI. 

    Through stakeholder meetings, comment letters, and surveys, CalSTA created CAPTI’s guiding principles and investment strategies. These recommendations will be the foundation for how future transportation decisions are made. CAPTI is an opportunity to create significant shifts towards more equitable, healthier, and climate-friendly transportation. The ClimatePlan network and partners have been engaging with CalSTA and other agencies to provide input on the guiding principles along the way. 

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  • Women can move California into a healthier, more equitable future!

    The events of 2020 - a global pandemic, calls for racial justice, wildfires in our state, and a contentious national election - have put us in need of equity and climate focused leadership more than ever. A few weeks ago, ClimatePlan asked for real climate leaders who understand equity and justice. ClimatePlan welcomes the changes happening at the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which is at the forefront of combating climate change, and the State’s Legislature, which has developed some of the most ambitious climate laws in the nation. 

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  • ClimatePlan says, "Equity is Not Salt; We Need to Add Spice" at CTC / CARB / HCD joint meeting

    On Wednesday, November 4, 2020, ClimatePlan and Greenlining Institute gave a presentation at the California Air Resources Board / California Transportation Commission / Housing and Community Development Joint Meeting on what it looks like to co-fund transportation equity. In the clip below, I share that we must stop treating equity as if it's salt. We cannot sprinkle equity into programs, or sprinkle a little equity into a public participation workshop. We cannot add equity as garnish to transportation plans that are already baked and mostly finalized. We must season our programs with more equity. We need "fall off the bone, succulent, and satisfying programs." We can't create these programs by adding more salt, or adding more equity through public participation programs. We have to dig deep to identify what are the systemic issues. Watch the video below to hear me share more on what's needed for more succulent, fall off the bone transportation programs.

    Hana Creger at The Greenlining Institute presented after me and shared how the California Air Resources Board and California Transportation Commission can move beyond sprinkling equity, to actually adding spice into current transportation programs. You can review The Greenlining Institute's slides here or watch the meeting here (Hana starts at 2:15:33).

    I have written about the work ClimatePlan is doing to create an Equity Advisory Committee (EAC) here, here and here. If you are interested in getting involved in these efforts contact Nailah Pope-Harden, Policy Manager at Nailah [AT] climateplanca [DOT] org. 

    P.S. I also hope that I have changed the way that you cook. Now when you open your spice cabinet, I hope you're thinking about equity.

  • Advocates push for vision in California's most recent statewide transportation plan

    The California Transportation Plan 2050 (CTP)  was recently released by CalTrans. To respond to the plan, 17 organizations within the ClimatePlan network signed on to a CTP 2050 comment letter and submitted the letter on October 22, 2020. In the letter, ClimatePlan and other organizations highlight that we appreciate the aspirations of the CTP and its goals to provide a coordinated vision for transportation in California that reduces emissions, advances equity, and promotes public health. We also offer many recommendations on how the CTP can make even further progress in these areas. 

    Below are several general themes that ClimatePlan and other signers would like to see bolstered and addressed more thoroughly throughout the Plan. We include very specific recommendations within each of these themes in the full letter.  You can read the full PDF of the letter here. 

    Prioritizing Equity
    While we commend Caltrans for incorporating an equity portion into their plan, our overarching recommendation is, in addition to just having a separate equity goal, equity should be integrated into each strategy addressing the areas or people in most need. 

    Achieve Our Climate Goals
    The Plan appropriately draws on many other plans and builds on the earlier CTP 2040. However, it is unclear what progress, if any, has been made in the implementation of earlier plans or what barriers to implementation of earlier plans have been identified. To meet our climate goals, these types of assessments need to be made.

    Improving Quality of Life

    Our transportation system is inextricably linked to the quality of life. As we strive to make our transportation system cleaner, it is not enough if it is not accessible transportation in certain areas, particularly low-income and rural areas. Quality transportation promotes quality health outcomes.

    For more information, contact Nailah Pope-Harden, ClimatePlan's State Policy Manager, at [email protected] 




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Climate justice, equity-focused, hood adjacent, mother of free black body.


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