The Promise, and Potential Pitfalls, of a Civilian Climate Corps

January 17, 2022 — Washington Monthly

Congressional Democrats are trying to build one for the nation. They should check out California, which has already successfully rolled one out at the state level.

Los Angeles’s Griffith Park is instantly recognizable to movie watchers, with its iconic observatory, sprawling views, and, of course, the Hollywood sign. Tourists and Angelenos alike flock to the hills to hike and take selfies, oblivious to a quiet climate revolution taking place below, in a tree nursery at the park’s base.

For Amaiya Mason, that part of Griffith Park is the office.

Mason is a fellow with the California Climate Action Corps, a state-level program that utilizes funds from AmeriCorps, the federal government’s national service program, to place mostly young people with local organizations that work on climate-oriented projects. Beginning in September, she was deployed to a nonprofit called City Plants, which runs the Griffith Park tree nursery as part of a public-private partnership with the city.

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