Community Action Plan to Create a More Breathable Future in Fairfield

By Alex Lunine, Resilient Communities Program Manager

Fairfield residents will come together to create a path towards cleaner, healthier air in their community at a public community action plan workshop 12-3 pm Sunday, Jan. 28, at the Fairfield Adult Recreation Center.
Register here.

This indicator map through CalEnviroScreen shows the high asthma rates in Solano County 

Solano County, on the whole, has the ninth highest asthma rate in California, with the majority of Fairfield neighborhoods east of the I-80 having a more severe asthma burden than 90% of other census tracts. To address our air pollution and empower the community to tackle the air quality issues afflicting their city, Sustainable Solano will be facilitating the creation of an Air Quality Community Action Plan with Fairfield residents in a public workshop Jan. 28.

During the creation of this community-driven action plan, residents, governmental agencies and air quality experts will highlight the vulnerabilities they see in Fairfield’s short- and long-term air health, and identify priority actions they wish to see taken by the city to ensure that current and future generations in Fairfield have equitable access to clean air.

The Youth Air Protectors led a sustainability walk through Fairfield that highlighted air quality concerns in the city

This event will build off of earlier roundtables hosted in Fairfield, where a few of the key concerns raised by community members included air pollution in relation to traffic, improving Fairfield’s walkability and bikeability, air quality concerns regarding agriculture, setting up a community air monitoring station in Fairfield, and Travis Air Force Base’s impact on air quality.

By participating in the creation of a community action plan, residents can have a voice in how important issues are addressed within their communities. We’ve seen the value of such community engagement in Suisun City, where a community-driven action plan around flood risk and resilience continues to inform city decisions and future planning. We hope to see a similar impact in Fairfield around air quality.


Re-envisioning Fairfield’s Streets: Youth Air Protectors Present Final Projects Aug. 27

By Alex Lunine, Resilient Communities Program Manager

Over the course of the past five months, SuSol’s high school Youth Air Protectors have dedicated themselves to learning about the air quality in Fairfield and using their voices to bring the community together to tackle environmental injustices in the city. From spreading awareness at tabling events throughout Fairfield, to helping to facilitate air quality-focused meetings, to leading residents on a sustainability walking tour of downtown, the Youth Air Protectors have been indispensable in the push for a healthier, more breathable Fairfield.

August marks the last month of this internship cohort, and our students will be presenting their final projects to the community on Aug. 27. Each air protector chose a street in Fairfield with poor walkability and high volumes of traffic, and reimagined them to be more pedestrian friendly, green and promote cleaner air. We believe that if their concepts and ideas were actually implemented, such changes could help to reduce the high asthma rate of Fairfield, mitigate the impacts of the urban heat island effect, and bring our community together on our sidewalks and streets.

Here the YAP interns share about their final projects. See the projects and talk with the students on Aug. 27!  (Ed. Note: Intern statements are lightly edited for clarity.)

“I redesigned the intersection of North Texas and Utah Street to make traveling through the area more sustainable. My design includes protected bike lanes and sidewalks, reduced lane sizes to protect pedestrians further, better views, bus stops, and more! I’m a firm believer that walkability is one of the most essential (and undervalued) parts of a sustainable city, and this project reflects that.”
– Sachi Bansal

“I decided to choose the street redesign project because after taking a sustainability walk around downtown Fairfield, it became clear that there are a lot of improvements to be made for Fairfield’s roads. The main issues I noticed during the walk were a lack of shade on the sidewalks, the lack of safety for bikers on the bike lanes, and lack of greenery. I wanted to make a drawing of a street where I implemented changes to combat these issues.”
– Prabhjot Kaur

“For my project I decided to redesign the street Travis Boulevard. I thought that it had too many street lanes and though it made sense since it leads to a highway, I reimagined it to be in a people-oriented city and worked upon that. Along with changing the street I also changed the buildings and parking lots in a way where it would look more pleasing, and easier to access. I also added wider sidewalks, a bus stop and a bicycle rack so it would encourage public transportation. I hope that Fairfield in the future would incorporate these ideas to create a more sustainable environment while also adding more elements that persuade people to try to live sustainably; like recycling, farming, shopping locally and more!”
– Esther Lopez

“I choose to redesign the Pennsylvania Avenue and West Texas Street intersection because it has a lot of potential in terms of walkability. In this model, I hope to show that Fairfield can become more people-friendly even with our current infrastructure.”
– Hannah Lopez

“Enhancing Fairfield’s existing infrastructure to be more sustainable is imperative in bettering the lives of residents while promoting an eco-friendly lifestyle. For my project, I chose to redesign the Gateway Plaza, a strip mall located adjacent to the Solano Town Center. Featuring a sizable parking lot with hundreds of parking spaces and minimal walkability, the Gateway Plaza is a motorist’s paradise. Through visualizing how the area could be altered with bikers and pedestrians in mind, I intend to show how changes towards sustainability are realizable in even the most seemingly despairing of locations.”
– Harjot Singh

Register for the event here. If you or someone you know would like to sign up for the next cohort of high school Fairfield Youth Air Protectors, starting Sept. 7, apply here. 

We’re excited to share our greener, more just vision of Fairfield with you and hope to see you there. 

Let’s Make Fairfield a Walkable Forest

By Alex Lunine, Resilient Communities Program Manager

Growing up on a fairly quiet street, my summers were filled with wiffleball and basketball in the middle of the road. It’s no surprise that as we have become more and more dependent on our cars and shifted further towards virtual work, we have lost some of our connection between our community and nature. Concrete maintains a stranglehold on our streets and yards, while increasingly blistering summers and poor air quality limit our freedom to access our city’s amenities and outdoors. What we need is a drastic change to what we, as a community, prioritize in our public spaces, and that starts with you.

Map of Fairfield Communities

Sustainable Solano is looking to help grow an urban forest here in central Fairfield (see map above), where we have identified a lack of walkable infrastructure and a desperate need for tree canopy cover. By shading our yards, sidewalks, and streets with tree cover, we can mitigate the impacts of urban heat islands (making our 100+ degree summer days much more livable and reducing your energy costs), purify our polluted air, and make it more pleasant for our community to walk, bike and play outdoors more often.

SuSol has several programs that focus on creating green spaces within our cities, including waterwise, sustainable yards and community gardens that support neighborhoods through creating access to fresh garden produce. Through our programs, we seek to create resilient neighborhoods where neighbors can come together to create spaces that are abundant in habitat and tree cover and where neighbors can share resources. We’re inviting Fairfield residents, particularly those in the areas labeled in the map, to come together with their community around this type of project.

We can help support these efforts through our programs! If you want to transform and beautify your block with trees and greenery, please fill out this interest form so we can see if the site is a good fit for our programs. SuSol brings together community members in free educational workshops that are used to install these gardens, which are planned and led by a professional designer. There is a commitment from the property owner, but the programs help to fund these projects. If you’re interested for your yard or community, let us know, and please share this with your neighbors so we can grow beautiful, breathable, and walkable communities.

Youth Air Protectors: An Important (and Exciting) Opportunity

By Prabhjot Kaur, Youth Air Protectors intern

SuSol launched our Air Quality program in 2022 in Fairfield. The program is centered around Youth Air Protectors — high school students and young adults who learn about air quality challenges that affect Fairfield and seek ways to educate the community about those challenges and possible solutions while working on hands-on projects. As part of the initial cohort of Youth Air Protectors, we thank Prabhjot for sharing about her experience so far!

Youth Air Protectors interns (Prabhjot is second from left) work on collage projects to envision a world that is environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling and socially just

The Youth Air Protectors program by Sustainable Solano is definitely something I will often look back on in the future. I found out about the Youth Air Protectors program from my friend, who persuaded me to apply for it. I signed up with the expectation that the program would require interns to research about the environment and air pollution levels, remaining strictly academic. However, I was incredibly surprised when we were asked to make a collage about nature and what we perceived to be a sustainable, or ideal world during the internship certification meetings. I was even more shocked when I realized that I was unable to visualize a world like that even though I considered myself to be fairly optimistic. Also, later on in the internship, we were given the task of designing flyers that would raise awareness about air pollution in our community. Overall, the program offers more creative freedom and independence than I initially expected, which was a pleasant surprise.

My other expectation when signing up was that the program would focus strictly on air pollution. However, in the internship certification meetings, we were given the assignment to watch videos from an online course called “Awakening the Dreamer,” which informed us about the current major world crises. It was interesting to see how the problem of air pollution related to social and economic issues. Also, the videos showed me how the efforts of environmentalists are making a significant difference, and with more consistent efforts, we can eventually reverse climate change, which was something that I originally thought was impossible.

SuSol interns explore a demonstration food forest during a tree guild workshop

However, what I was truly excited about when applying for this program was going outside and interacting with nature. As someone who spends a lot of time indoors, I figured that this would be a great opportunity to possibly plant flora and meet new people. Due to this, I decided to attend a Tree Guild Workshop, which was run by Sustainable Solano. Although I did not get to install plants, it was calming to walk around and learn about sustainable gardens. On top of that, everyone at the event was really kind, and they were happy to answer any questions I had about gardening and the environment in general. It was definitely one of my best, carefree and most memorable days of 2022.

From the fact that the air pollution level in Fairfield is causing rates of asthma that are considerably higher than the rest of California to the fact that dandelions are not always “weeds,” I have already learned a great deal from the internship. And there is still a lot more to come that I am excited for! In the future, we are going to be participating in beautification projects, sustainability walks, and other garden installation events. Overall, I am glad that I was given this opportunity and made the decision to apply for the Youth Air Protectors program, because it is definitely shaping up to be one of the most important parts of my high school experience.

We are seeking applicants for the next cohort of Youth Air Protectors that starts in April. Interested? You can learn more and apply here.

Interested in learning more about the Air Quality program and how you can be part of working toward better air quality for Fairfield? Learn more here!

New Program in Fairfield Will Tackle Poor Air Quality

By Alex Lunine, Resilient Communities Program Manager

Interstate 80 cuts through Fairfield / Photo Credit: Tony Webster, Flickr

For too long, residents of Fairfield have had to shoulder a burden that, in large part, remains unseen by the naked eye — poor air quality. Despite its lack of visibility, this threat follows many residents in all aspects of their lives in the form of increased rates of asthma and higher rates of cardiovascular disease. This strain prevents children from playing outside, ruins family barbeques, and makes it harder for residents to connect and enjoy our community spaces. A new program from Sustainable Solano, with funding from the California Air Resources Board, invites you to join the grassroots movement to ensure everyone in Fairfield can breathe clean and safe air.

Being wedged between Interstate 80 and Highway 12, Fairfield is vulnerable to the pollutants produced by high volumes of traffic. Additionally, wildfires fill our air with dangerous smoke that can make simply going outside a risk to our health. Through the new air quality program, Sustainable Solano will collaborate with Fairfield residents through the establishment of a high school Youth Air Protectors Program and an extensive community outreach campaign.

The Youth Air Protectors program will assist Fairfield in reclaiming the clean air we all have a right to, inspiring a new generation of activists. High school students will have the opportunity to problem solve as a tight-knit team to tackle air pollution. Each team of up to 10 students will make a five-month commitment to the program, with the first group starting work this fall. Youth Air Protectors will be empowered to collect air quality data in Fairfield, analyze the sustainability of Fairfield’s urban planning, and reflect on how environmental hazards disproportionately impact different communities. Students will play a pivotal role in spreading air quality awareness in Fairfield and will help spearhead the movement for a more walkable and sustainable future. SuSol will share more information on how to apply for the Air Protectors program in the coming weeks.

We are excited to form bridges with Fairfield residents to forge a community-centered push for clean, breathable air. We hope to see collaborations with passionate Fairfield residents that will inspire widespread participation in clean air advocacy. In conjunction with the Youth Air Protectors, we will draw upon the needs of the community and will work with local leaders to provide beautification projects that can encourage more walking and biking, as opposed to driving. Finally, using direct community feedback and conversations, we will assist the people of Fairfield in constructing an Air Quality Action Plan that will serve as a blueprint for continued efforts in addressing air quality within the city and serve as a model for other cities.

The air quality program is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities.

Fairfield needs active community members to make our city a safe, green, and beautiful community for all of us. If you are interested in becoming a sustainability leader – as a student or concerned resident – or if you have any questions, please reach out! I can be contacted directly via email at I look forward to building a brighter Fairfield, together.

Youth Air Protectors Program

The program is a five-month commitment with priority given to Fairfield students, though open to any high school students in Solano County.

The program will

Create valuable leadership experiences;
Prepare you to effectively communicate the importance of sustainability;
Serve as a gateway for a future career in environmental science;
Provide impactful and engaging volunteer hours;
Offer a stipend for successfully completing the program.

Interested in joining the fall group? Contact 

New Program to Focus on Air Quality in Fairfield

Sustainable Solano Awarded 3-Year, $260,000 Community Air Grant

By Sustainable Solano

Photo credit: Visit Fairfield

A new program that will focus on air quality concerns, causes and solutions will help Fairfield residents to address air pollution within the community.

Sustainable Solano was recently awarded a $260,000 Community Air Grant that will support the planning and implementation of this new program over the next three years. The goal of the program will be to build public awareness around air pollution, its environmental causes and health effects, and engage community members in ways to monitor and mitigate air pollution on an individual and community scale. It will launch later this spring.

“From the crosswinds to the local environmental conditions, poor air quality impacts the population of Fairfield greatly,” Sustainable Solano Executive Director Elena Karoulina said, citing the grant and highlighting its importance. “Our goal is to increase public awareness and strengthen community capacity to monitor and respond to air quality issues in real time with help of local youth leaders.”

The program will engage high school youth leaders through a Youth Air Protectors program. These youth will research the air quality challenges for their communities, create outreach campaigns and support community-based projects centered around air quality. The program also will increase the number of air monitors in and around Fairfield, and will build community resilience through air quality mitigation projects, such as planting trees or improving community spaces to make them more appealing for foot and bike transportation.

Ultimately, the youth involved in the program will create an air quality plan for the City of Fairfield that incorporates what they have learned through research and community engagement and could set the foundation for future air quality improvement projects. This plan could serve as a model for other Solano County communities, as well as the greater region.

Sustainable Solano was one of 33 community organizations and five Native American Tribes that received a total of $10 million in grant funding from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for projects that would help reduce air pollution in communities.

The Community Air Grants program is part of CARB’s overall efforts to implement Assembly Bill 617. Community Air Grants are designed to establish a community-focused approach to improving air quality and reducing exposure to toxic air pollutants at the neighborhood level. AB 617 is unique in that it requires CARB and air districts to work with residents, businesses and other stakeholders to tackle air pollution at the community scale. The current grants elevate community voices and their specific priorities regarding air pollution where they live.

As a result, the projects funded will help communities identify areas with the most harmful air emissions and then take actions to reduce exposure or address the underlying cause of the pollution.

“The Community Air Grants provided by CARB are an important tool to help residents and Tribal communities throughout the state identify and combat the harmful effects of local air pollution — and create a cleaner environment for their families,” said CARB Chair Liane Randolph.

Read more from CARB’s press release about the Community Air Grants program and find additional resources here:


About Sustainable Solano

Sustainable Solano is a countywide nonprofit organization that is dedicated to “Nurturing Initiatives for the Good of the Whole.” The organization brings together programs that support and sustain one another and the Solano County community. Initiatives include sustainable landscaping, local food, resilient neighborhoods, youth leadership, sustaining conversations and community gardens.

For more information, visit

About CARB

CARB is the lead agency in California for cleaning up the air and fighting climate change to attain and maintain health-based air quality standards. Its mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through the effective reduction of air and climate pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy.