By Aldon Thomas Stiles, California Black Media

Last week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a historic $15 billion climate change package. The initiative has funds in it to combat the state’s current environmental crisis as well as to help communities prepare for and prevent any disasters that may result from shifting weather patterns and changing global temperatures.

It is the largest investment of its kind in the history of the state.

“At the KNP fire today, while the realities of climate change surrounded us, we signed into law a $15 BILLION package that will help California tackle the climate crisis — from record heat waves, to extreme drought, to massive wildfires,” Newsom tweeted after the press conference he held in regards to this investment.

The governor was referring to a range of wildfires authorities have designated the KNP (Kings Canyon National Park) complex that has been burning since Sept. 9 in that park and in the adjacent Sequoia National Park. As of Sunday, that wildfire had burned nearly 46,000 acres of land.

Across the state, the effects of climate change have decimated over 1.9 million acres of land, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Some experts believe this is due to California’s severe drought this year.

As is the case with many other crises in the United States, communities of color are disproportionately affected by climate change.

This climate package hopes to change that by providing grants to help communities plan for climate change, as well as bolstering fire and drought prevention and response through program funding.

“California is doubling down on our nation-leading policies to confront the climate crisis head-on while protecting the hardest-hit communities,” said Newsom.

“We’re deploying a comprehensive approach to meet the sobering challenges of the extreme weather patterns that imperil our way of life and the Golden State as we know it, including the largest investment in state history to bolster wildfire resilience, funding to tackle the drought emergency while building long-term water resilience, and strategic investments across the spectrum to protect communities from extreme heat, sea level rise and other climate risks that endanger the most vulnerable among us,” he explained.

The state has not yet announced a schedule for release of the funding to communities or at how it will be dispersed. California Black Media will be following that process.