This video, from Policy Consensus Council and Community Focus, depicts a community collaboration program established by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District in 1991. The program created Air Quality Resource Teams in each of the nine counties of the San Francisco Bay Area, all of which continue to operate.
Consisting of representatives from community organizations, business, public agencies and environmental groups, each committee not only plans but implements a variety of “Spare the Air” projects. These are credited with helping to achieve air quality goals by reducing auto use and traffic congestion through public education and active organizing in local communities.
The Contra Costa County team has focused on environmental justice issues, particularly the reduction of diesel engine use in school buses and facilities near schools.
To quote from the District’s description of the program:
The resource team approach involves recruiting community leaders – including representatives from business, government and civic organizations – to implement public policy and long-term social change not by simply analyzing problems or proposing solutions, but by actually implementing solutions using the shared resources that the resource team members themselves possess (time, energy, expertise, money and connections). This method was chosen because the use of community leaders on resource teams helped mobilize the behavior change that the Spare the Air advertising and media campaign was encouraging.
Community Focus has provided facilitation for the resource teams for more than 15 years. Its approach emphasizes building active working relationships between government and local communities that go beyond dialogue to organizing and action.