Local Solutions | Global Issues

Here in the Bay Area, we have the power to create the kinds of communities we want to see. And in doing so, we can be a beacon of light for the nation and the world.

Greenbelt Alliance shapes how the Bay Area grows in order to make where we live a model of sustainability, prosperity, and inclusiveness. Our local work is combating climate change and water scarcity and creating inclusive communities in a growing economy.

We’re Proving That

Smarter development combats climate change.
40% of the Bay Area’s greenhouse gas emissions come from our tailpipes. More auto-dependent sprawl makes this problem worse. One extremely effective step in the fight against climate change is to take a fresh approach to the way we plan our cities. Rather than designing for cars, we think about all types of uses and focus on benefits for, and the movement of, people. That’s why we endorse development that is near jobs and transit and is created for people across the income spectrum.

Saving natural lands, farms, and ranches reduces our carbon footprint.
In At Risk: The Bay Area Greenbelt, we lay out the values of the Bay Area ecosystems, especially forests and wetlands, including storing the greenhouse gas, carbon. Together, the region’s at-risk landscapes store more than 6 million metric tons of carbon. If these lands are developed, the carbon that would be released is equivalent to putting 1.3 million cars on the road every year.

Open space supports economic viability.
The Bay Area is a spectacularly beautiful place to live. It is also home to one of the most productive economies in the world. If not properly managed, these two assets can come into conflict. However, in this collaborative report with the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, we are proving to the world that preserving open space and increasing housing production do not have to be mutually exclusive goals.

Being smarter about land use fights against drought.
It will take more than a watery winter to recover from California’s four-year drought. And with a changing climate, water scarcity could be a new normal. Growth gone wrong will leave us parched. We are proving that water guzzling subdivisions in far-flung suburbs are antiquated in this era where every drop counts.

“The San Francisco Bay Area’s natural lands provide fresh water, wildlife habitat, and protection against the effects of climate change…Greenbelt Alliance’s work on forward-thinking and creative policies to save these places is critical to the future of the Bay Area.” 

Terry Tamminen, CEO – Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation

Local Matters

When it comes to creating a sustainable future that we can all be proud of, the current federal administration is a problem, not part of the solution. Greenbelt Alliance, however, is creating local solutions. Making a local impact on global issues has always been at the core of our work. Here are a few examples of how we are helping the Bay Area be a global leader.

In Silicon Valley, we are ensuring that the building of new homes brings sustainability, vitality, and affordability to existing cities like San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Santa Clara while fighting against water-wasting sprawl that threatens to consume the farmland and natural areas from Coyote Valley to Gilroy.

In the East Bay, in places like Walnut Creek and Concord, we’re advocating that new development happens near BART so residents can choose to drive less and the rolling hills on the edge of Contra Costa County can remain just that, hills instead of housing developments.

And in the North Bay, we are safeguarding growth boundaries that protect everything from carbon-storing redwood forests in Sonoma County to the fertile farms of Solano County.

You Can Help

Together we can show our nation and the world that—despite the rhetoric out of Washington—the communities we live, work, and play in can be environmentally sustainable, prosperous, and inclusive.

Donate now to support our work and take action to show your support to local leaders.

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Photo: Ian Simmonds