California Conservation Corps work 24 hour shifts in triple digit heat to protect homes from wildfires

‘Hard Work, Low Pay, Miserable Conditions and more!’ California’s conservation corps on the frontlines of wildfires and landslides

In the third part of our series exploring the idea of a nationwide ‘climate force’, Louise Boyle looks at America’s oldest and largest corps in California, with its Seventies’ roots as ‘a combination Jesuit seminary, Israeli kibbutz, and Marine Corps boot camp’

Louise Boyle
Senior Climate Correspondent, New York
Monday 03 May 2021 20:31

For a snapshot of the climate crisis unfolding, look no further than California.

The state suffered 10,000 wildfires in 2020 which left 33 people dead and blazed across more than 4 per cent of land, an unprecedented rate of burning which led to a new word - “gigafire”. California is also in the midst of a multi-year drought, facing another summer of perilously high temperatures, and ongoing threats of sea-level rise and landslides.

While there will be shortage of novel solutions to these myriad problems in tech-dominated California, one increasingly popular idea is relatively lo-fi: to expand on dozens of existing service and volunteering programs in the AmeriCorps national service network to engage in boots-on-the-ground, climate adaptation work.

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