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Clean Tech & Natural Resources

Starting in the mid-1990s, the rapid growth of offshore production by transnational corporations increased the need for worldwide distribution centers (Bonacich 2005). This growing demand favored new warehouses that needed to be larger and more high-tech than warehouses along the coast in places like Long Beach. The Inland Empire saw an exponential growth in new warehouses during this time. A by-product of this increase in warehouses was the influx of transportation and other logistics activity in the region, a trend that has accelerated through the development of e-commerce, particularly after Amazon opened its first California fulfillment center in San Bernardino in 2012. 

New innovations in clean logistics and electrification are poised to significantly change the landscape of goods movement, reducing pollution and routing trucks away from historically disenfranchised communities. For example, commercial trucks may utilize cleaner fuel systems or more efficient routes, further away from large residential populations. While much of this work is still underway, it is essential that community organizations and advocates be included as experts and leaders in finding viable solutions. There are significant opportunities in the Inland Empire to take a leadership role in sustainable mobility, with lessons that can be adopted elsewhere in the country.

Recent Sector Highlights

The San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) is piloting zero-emission rail technology for the new Arrow service between San Bernardino and Redlands. In 2024, SBCTA will debut the first battery and hydrogen- powered passenger train in North America. The Zero-Emission Multiple Unit (ZEMU) rail vehicle will use a hybrid hydrogen fuel cell and battery technology to propel the vehicle, providing a cleaner transit option for the community. It will begin static testing in August 2022 and unveiled at the world’s largest rail conference in Berlin on September 20, 2022. 

Learn More: Zero-Emission Multiple Unit (ZEMU) – SBCTA ( 


UC Riverside ecologists are leading a $1 million plant protection project that will help Southern California’s tribal nations adapt to climate change. Canyon live oak Oak trees and acorns hold special significance for Southern California tribal nations. The goal of the project is to preserve plant species and ecosystems that enable the continuation of native tribal cultural practices. Currently, some of these species are facing threats including hotter temperatures, prolonged drought and increasing urbanization. The Resilient Restoration project will include public education and outreach components to share science and solutions with managers, leaders, elders, youth and community members across the region.

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Plant Prefab is the first prefabricated design and construction company in the United States dedicated to sustainable construction, materials, processes, and operations. In 2019 they committed to full carbon neutrality in our operations by 2028, the first prefabricated home builder to announce a net zero goal. Their patented Plant Building System™ and purpose-built facility in Rialto, CA allows them to custom build a variety of housing typologies. From single-family homes and accessory dwelling units (ADUs), to multi-family dwellings and affordable housing projects, they help people bring their projects to life faster and more sustainably than traditional builders. 

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