Last month, community members joined us for a walking tour through Old Town National City. Together, we saw firsthand the problems our neighborhood faces and celebrated the progress we're making to find solutions.

We visited the construction site of affordable Paradise Creek apartments near a transit stop and a beautiful park. We walked the improved route to Kimball Elementary School, which has new safety features and no longer neighbors polluting industries across the street.

9 Discussion of New Stop Signs and Extended Side Walks

13 Group Photo in Front of Kimball Elementary

16 Discussion of New Street Light Posts and Speed Bumps

23 Remediated State of Safe and Clean Paradise Creek

19 Paradise Creek Walking Path Construction

30 Group Photo in Amphitheater

18 Paradise Creek Observation

5 Discussion of Paradise Creek Affordable Housing Apartments

Thank you for joining us to make National City a beautiful, safe and healthy place we're proud to call our home.

Click here to see more photos of the inspiring community tour.

Recently, The Port of San Diego announced its plans to significantly expand the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, located less than half a mile from Perkins Elementary School and residential neighborhoods in Barrio Logan. If approved, the project would bring hundreds of polluting trucks and ships to our communities every day, making our air increasingly hard to breathe and catalyzing the toxic pollution our communities already struggle with.

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By expanding the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal without a plan to address the social and environmental impacts it will cause, the Port’s current plan would:

  • Bring 800 more diesel trucks through our neighborhoods – per day. Added to existing and projected traffic, there may be over 30,000 truck trips per year through Barrio Logan.
  • Increase toxic air pollution by 600 percent. A steady flow of diesel trucks through our neighborhoods is a disastrous hazard to our health.
  • Catalyze climate change. A 540 percent increase in greenhouse gas pollution will virtually erase our progress in the fight against climate change.
  • Disturb our neighborhoods with excessive noise. We don’t deserve hundreds of noisy trucks passing by our homes, schools and workplaces.
  • Worsen traffic and parking problems. Barrio Logan needs better transit and safer streets, not more congestion.

You can use your voice to stop the Port from bringing more toxic pollution to Barrio Logan and developing the Tenth Ave. Marine Terminal in an irresponsible way that harms our communities.

Take action in three steps to tell the Port that we deserve better.

Our communities become #healthyhoods when we unlock our most powerful tool – our voices.

Our leadership training program, SALTA (Salud Ambiental, Líderes Tomando Acción - Environmental Health, Leaders Taking Action) does just that, and it has turned hundreds of community members into environmental justice leaders. Last year, SALTA became accessible online for community members to enhance their skills to become the powerful leaders they were meant to be.

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Here are a few reasons why we’re celebrating.

1. Local leadership is at the heart of social and environmental justice.

Community victories come to fruition when local leaders speak up and encourage neighbors to do the same. Last year, after strong demand, we developed this free, online and bilingual curriculum for community members anywhere in the world to turn their skills, passion and vision into action, power and change.

2. We’re sharing our most effective leadership tools with you.

After decades of fine-tuning SALTA with in-person trainings, we’re sharing what we’ve learned to help you use your voice for change. Our training is field-tested and proven, featuring best practices and case studies from real people working to make our neighborhoods healthier. Available for download in English and Spanish, this curriculum builds lasting power in our communities.

3. Our leaders make a difference.

Over the past year, 308 people from around the world downloaded SALTA and learned to be leaders and advocates for safe and healthy communities. Today, we celebrate being one year and 308 people closer to our goal of creating #healthyhoods for all people.

Click here to register and bring SALTA to your community.

We know our communities are hit first and worst by the impacts of climate change and air pollution, and today the fight for climate justice has never been more urgent. 

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Together, we're making incredible progress for climate justice in our communities. Click here to learn more about our goals and visions for climate justice in the region for the next few years.

Here are three ways EHC proudly leads this effort in the San Diego/Tijuana region.

Our focus is unique.

EHC is the only binational environmental justice organization in a cross-border region with a population of nearly five million people. This gives us a responsibility to speak up for climate issues in our communities.

Our communities deserve better.
Everyone has a right to live, work and play in a healthy and safe environment. With grassroots advocacy, we lift up the community voice and, together, urge our leaders to prioritize social equity in their response to climate change.

We are setting a precedent.
We have worked directly on energy and climate issues for more than a decade, and on air pollution issues for more than 30 years. In 2008, we launched a new campaign to focus specifically on climate justice. Thanks to the momentum we’ve built, our grassroots advocacy efforts have secured local, regional and state policies that protect the most impacted communities from the effects of climate change. We hope these policies can serve as models for similar regions throughout the country.

Learn more.
Click here to learn more about our progress to address dangerous impacts of climate change in our communities.

Located in San Diego County’s second oldest city, Old Town National City remains a primarily low-income Latino neighborhood with evolving surroundings. Over the past 50 years, the community has changed from a mainly residential neighborhood to a mixture of auto-related businesses located around schools and homes. Auto-body shops in residential neighborhoods burden the health of the community by emitting toxic pollution into the air we breathe.

In 2005, our community decided to combat conflicting land use and bring health back to the community with a vision for a vibrant and toxic-free neighborhood. Our plans included affordable housing within walking distance of a transit center, construction that wouldn’t damage Paradise Creek and a healthy community park to replace polluted grounds.

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After 11 years, the community’s vision has become a reality. Today, if you walk by the 24th blue line trolley station on 22nd street in National City, you will see 201 affordable Paradise Creek Apartment Homes under construction by Community Housing Works and Related California. Most recently, the project was awarded $9.2 million by the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Grant through California’s Cap-and-Trade program, which you can learn more about here. The first phase of construction will be completed in 2016 and 109 families will move into homes in December 2016.

This project, spearheaded by the community voice, has received recognition across the country including a national award from the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Most importantly, the Paradise Creek Apartments set a precedent for low-income communities nationwide. National City neighbors identified the community’s needs and remained involved every step of the way.

Now, it’s your turn. Learn to become a leader in your community and make your voice heard to build a better environment to live, work and play in, because everyone deserves a healthy neighborhood.

By: Carolina Martinez, policy advocate at Environmental Health Coalition