What Does Climate Action Mean? | Cal Parks
Published: April 1, 2024

Climate change affects every part of our planet - from natural ecosystems to world economies. Climate threats are already costing people, communities, and countries dearly, and these impacts will only grow if we don’t take bold action. 

The urgency of the climate crisis is clear, and climate threats will only increase in the coming decades. Combatting this crisis demands climate action — a collective effort of individuals, communities, and governments to help mitigate the effects of climate change. This Earth Day Climate Action month, learn more about what climate action means and how you can help protect our cherished parklands and preserve our shared home. 

How can we take climate action?

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park:

Climate action includes a wide range of intentional steps to combat climate change. Simple changes can help reduce the carbon footprint of individuals and the general public — such as taking public transportation instead of driving a personal car, recycling, volunteering, or advocating for more sustainable policies. However, comprehensive, bold action is needed at the systemic level — such as implementing national and international policies that invest in sustainable infrastructure, enforcing regulations that limit industrial emissions, and restoring natural habitats to enhance biodiversity.  

Together, these efforts build a global movement towards a more sustainable and resilient future, aiming to mitigate the impacts of climate change and preserve the planet for future generations. 

Why is climate action important to California state parks? 

For California's state parks, climate action is essential to safeguard our natural and cultural heritage against inevitable climate impacts. 

This urgency is exemplified by the devastating wildfires of 2020, which consumed 97% of Big Basin Redwoods State Park during California's worst wildfire season in recorded history. Furthermore, rising sea levels could erase up to 75% of California's beaches by 2100, and approximately 400 plant and animal species are threatened or endangered due to habitat loss, ecosystem deterioration and, increasingly, climate change. The stakes have never been higher. 

Big Basin Redwoods State Parks after the 2020 CZU Lightning Complex fire.

But it’s not too late! By participating in climate action now, we can protect our state parks and mitigate climate change impacts across California. Building a climate-resilient state park system — meaning parks can prepare for, adapt to, and recover from climate impacts — is becoming increasingly crucial. 

California State Parks has proven itself an effective and efficient steward of the state's natural resources and is developing strategies to increase climate resilience in parks. This includes protecting natural and cultural resources, preserving park access, building climate-smart infrastructure, and offering educational opportunities. State parks can also transition to clean energy and climate-smart land management to further mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to statewide carbon neutrality. 

Climate-resilient state parks protect not only California’s natural and cultural resources but also its people. Severe heat waves, intensifying storms, poor air quality, and other extreme climate events affect communities across the state and particularly in under-resourced areas. Because of the wide range and diversity of the state park system, California state parks can support people where and how they need it the most. 

Time is running out to protect state parks from climate change. Bold, proactive climate action is critical to ensure that California's state parks are protected for all. 

How can you participate in climate action for California’s state parks and our planet?  

Volunteers at our habitat restoration volunteer workday at Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. Photo by Nicole Alvarenga.

This list does not cover all the ways individuals, communities, or organizations can engage in climate action. It is, however, a great collection of starting points in your journey for a more climate-resilient planet!  

California State Parks Foundation 

30x30 California  

  • Starting in 2020, the 30x30 initiative established by Governor Newsom set a state goal of conserving 30% of California’s lands and coastal waters by 2030. Check out their homepage for the latest information on 30x30, informational webinars, an interactive map of the state’s progress, and more at californianature.ca.gov.   

Volunteers at our volunteer workday at Fort Ord Dunes State Park. In partnership with Salinas Valley Pride Celebrations.

Climate Action cannot be done alone. It takes partnerships and relationship-building to create a collective movement to protect our state parks and our planet. We want to thank our sponsors who have helped us continue our 2024 Earth Day Climate Action partners. Thank you for your support in creating a more climate-resilient state park system.   

We would also like to thank the many park staff at California State Parks, our park partners across the state, volunteers, and Volunteer Core Leaders who keep our program going, and the many park advocates and park lovers who help push us toward a brighter future. With your help, our work can have an even greater impact. Together, let's create a climate action movement for all. 

Support this important climate work in state parks 

Donate today and thanks to a limited-time Matching Gift Challenge by Pacific Gas and Electric Company, every gift made between now and April 22, will be doubled, up to $100,000! Don’t miss this incredible chance to have your gift go twice the distance! Donate today