Meet RVAgreener Angela! In her own words:
I am originally from California and moved to Chesterfield, VA as a child. After obtaining an Associate Degree in Science, I moved to Richmond to attend VCU in 2004. In 2007, I moved to Phoenix, AZ. After living in the desert for a few years, I moved back to Richmond in 2011 with a new perspective on how climate change and heat affects our health. Living in a different (much hotter) climate caused me to change the way I lived day to day. I moved back to VA and all of its glorious humidity and under 100-degree temperatures as soon as I could.
I live south of the river, in the Forest View Heights neighborhood. I love my neighborhood because it is diverse and established. Everyone is friendly and we look out for each other. I have a good-sized yard for a city dweller and am learning how to use it in an economically friendly way. I am also close to the bus line which is great. I use the bus whenever possible. I do live off two very busy streets, one of which does not have a sidewalk. Safe, accessible streets is very important to me, especially now that I have a 3- year-old. I hope he will be able to walk to school one day. I have driven him to the park many times when I would have walked if there was a safe route for us to get there.
Besides my neighborhood, my favorite place in Richmond is Shockoe Bottom. I have frequented this part of the city since I was a teenager and have worked there and in the surrounding the neighborhoods. To see its transformation, while preserving its history and culture is truly inspiring. It is far from perfect and there is a long way to go, but I see this neighborhood as the heart of the city, and I love spending time there. I also love Jackson Ward for the same reasons.
I get around Richmond, by driving, lyfting, carpooling or taking the bus. My family has one car and does not have the need for a second since my spouse and I both work from home. I would rather walk, or take public transportation but as mentioned above, sometimes I do not feel safe doing so due to the infrastructure. Sidewalks would be amazing! The sidewalk on Jahnke is there, but it is broken, floods easily and difficult to use for those community members who use wheelchairs or scooters and strollers. When I lived in Carytown, I biked quite often. I no longer feel safe doing this since my neighborhood is not bike friendly. I would like to see this change as well.
Aside from pedestrian infrastructure, the flooding in Richmond is a concern. I am not affected at my home directly at this time, but my neighborhood is, as well as others around me. Flooding causes damage to homes and property and makes transportation difficult and dangerous. This, along with rising temperatures, make our city unsafe. I am currently concerned for my neighbors who are getting older, folks who use wheelchairs or individuals with health concerns. Climate change is impacting all of us, but for them, the problem is directly impeding them now.
In recent days, I have noticed a lot of changes within the city. With the pandemic a lot of businesses have closed, but I have also have seen a lot of businesses thriving and a community focus on buying locally whenever possible. There is also a lot of work being done to preserve the true and full history of Richmond. I am ecstatic that many monuments to racist traitors and colonizers have come down around the city and throughout the world. Understanding our true history is imperative to ensure that Richmond is an inclusive city that celebrates its diversity. All Richmonders should be empowered to take ownership of their part and their impact in the city. I hope that these changes also empower Richmond residents to join the efforts to stop climate change.
I hope to see people everywhere moving towards living more symbiotically with the environment. I am not a climate expert, but since being a part of RVAgreen 2050 I have learned how important climate change is on the health of the community and I hope the efforts of RVAgreen 2050 not only impacts the city's transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions, but also inspires individuals find more ways of having less of a negative impact on our environment. We can all take small steps, which will lead to huge changes.