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Davis, California

Sunday, April 14, 2024

CivicSpark AmeriCorps application open for the 2022-2023 school year 

Sacramento County is offering greenhouse inventory and building electrification in support of the fellowship position 


By SOFIA BIREN — city@theaggie.org


The AmeriCorps CivicSpark program, is a more state oriented subdivision of Americorps according to the Americorps website. Americorps CivilSpark applications are currently open for the 2022-2023 school year. Each region of the state has a region specific focus based on an issue that the community wants to address. In the Sacramento Valley, the programs center on climate mitigation and adaptation. 

AmeriCorps was founded in 1993 under the National and Community Service Trust Act which was signed into effect by President Bill Clinton. The National and Community Service Trust Act was an extension of the National and Community Service Act of 1990 under President George H.W. Bush. The 1993 Act aimed to solve domestic programs with resources no longer being directed toward the Cold-War, with the mission to engage young Americans in civil service. 

There are three tracks within the program and each of them focus on a different issue. The three tracks are climate, water and opportunity access. The applicants who are selected then become Americorps CivilSpark fellows, and receive a range of benefits. These can include a stipend, health insurance and some Americorps Programs offer tuition assistance. 

The Sacramento Valley program’s main focus is on climate change. According to CivicSpark website, “Climate Fellows will work on projects that focus on a range of issues including energy efficiency, climate adaptation and mitigation, and greenhouse gas reduction.”

This year Sacramento hosted two projects, these were titled “Urban Heat and Resiliency Support” and “Climate Planning and Equitable Clean Mobility.” The first project is being done in conjunction with the City of Sacramento Department of Public Works to research and collect data associated with climate change. The second project is a collaboration with the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District and focuses on research and urban planning. 

According to recent research by the University of Washington, urban planning is one of the tools that can be employed to mitigate the effects of climate change. This emphasis on utilizing urban planning to combat climate change will be implemented in Austin, TX under the Austin Climate Equity Plan. Under this plan passed in 2021, Austin intends to become a carbon neutral city by 2040. Tyler Fuertez, a first year sustainable environmental design major, said that urban planning is an important component to achieve this goal because high density housing within a city offers a multitude of benefits when it comes to climate change.

“When trying to increase the efficiency of a city in terms of mitigating the expenditure of carbon emissions,” Fuertez said. “Planning is a crucial component. In a high density area for example, you can cut carbon emissions by building more public transportation. That way more people can use it, and will be more compelled to do so if it is more efficient than alternative methods.”

Furthermore, more recent climate change action plans have been putting an emphasis on racial equality when discussing different approaches toward combating climate change. According to a study by Princeton University, racial minorities are more likely to fall victims to environmental hazards, live in highly polluted areas and die from environmental causes. Valerye Trevizo, a second-year community and regional development major, said that including historically underrepresented groups in the conversation about climate change is crucial to solving this problem because it is groups at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder that experience the harsher effects of climate change. 

“Including minorities is essential to reaching a solution,” Trevizo said. “Minorities, especially those within the Latino and Black community are the ones who are affected the most by climate change. For example, air quality is generally known to be worse in poorer areas as a result of environmental racism.”

The AmeriCorps CivilSpark program will be selecting 100 applicants to be fellows in California. These fellows will be placed in different projects around the state, but those who are selected to do their fellowships in Sacramento will help create solutions to combat climate change in the local area. 


Written by: Sofia Biren — city@theaggie.org



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