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The unequal burden placed on low-income communities of color resulting from historically discriminatory policies calls for an environmental justice (EJ) analysis of the City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan (CAP). Start Here, Start Now: An Environmental Justice Assessment of the San Diego Climate Action Plan evaluates implementation progress and recommends immediate and long-term solutions.

Start Here Start NowDivided into six sections, Start Here, Start Now: analyzes the overall allocation of funds to program management and implementation, the CAP’s strategies, and air quality. It is important to highlight that this is a baseline analysis, which includes recommendations to advance equity and data collection necessary to assess progress.

For key findings, please see executive summary.

When cities advance environmental justice, everyone benefits. Through this assessment, it is evident that climate investments need to be measured to demonstrate a clear benefit to EJ communities. The assessment also demonstrates the centrality of mass transportation. Nearly all of the key priorities of the San Diego Climate Action Plan would benefit from significant investments in public transit and active transportation. Transportation Justice – here and now – is the most important message of this report. Vast improvements in transportation will improve air quality, create jobs, increase access to economic opportunity and do more to achieve GHG reductions than any other action.

Download full report here.

What to learn more, support, and get involved:
•Contact Caro This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 619-474-0220 ext 131

climate justice

Low-income communities of color must lead when it comes to climate solutions. The climate crisis is real, is here, and affects us all, but it hits low-income communities of color first and worst. Environmental Justice (EJ) communities are at the center of the issue and we are the solution.

The Climate Justice Working Group defines climate justice as: “ensuring that the people and communities who are least culpable in the warming of the planet, and most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, do not suffer disproportionately as a result of historical injustice and disinvestment”. Unfortunately, the impacts of climate change are disproportionately felt by low-income communities of color, and it is these same communities who “have been kept out of the global processes to address climate change” (Indigenous Environmental Network, North America).1 As a result, Climate Justice affirms the rights of indigenous people and communities most affected by climate change to lead with the solutions. EJ communities represent and speak for themselves.

Climate justice sign

Llesenia Cevallos at the Transportation Justice Poster Making Workshop, 2015

Climate scientists predict significant changes in the San Diego region, like extreme heat, water shortages, drought, increased wild fire intensity and frequency, increased air pollution, sea-level rise and coastal flooding. The effects of climate change hit first and worst in EJ communities such as Barrio Logan, City Heights and National City. The effects are magnified because these neighborhoods house the largest sources of pollution and are already burdened by inadequate infrastructure, limited transportation options, and poor economic opportunities.

EHC’s Climate Justice Campaign works to ensure that the residents of Barrio Logan, City Heights and National City are able to speak for themselves and advance climate policies at the local, regional, state levels.

Campaign Core Elements:

1. Start Here, Star Now: An Environmental Justice Assessment of the San Diego Climate Action Plan. The prioritization of Environmental Justice Communities for climate related investments is key to real climate solutions. When cities advance environmental justice, everyone benefits.
2. Transportation Justice. Transformation of the San Diego region into a mass transit paradise where EJ community residents will not have to own a car to access jobs, go to the doctor, go to school and take care of their basic needs. Mass transit is the way.
3. Energy Democracy. Organizing to ensure investments in renewable energy are achieved for residents of low-income communities of color. Renters want solar too.

1 Indigenous Environmental Network, North America, et al. Bali Principles of Climate Justice (2002)

Since 1980, Environmental Health Coalition has defended the right to live in healthy and sustainable communities. We empower people, organize communities and achieve justice.

Through leadership development, organizing and advocacy, EHC improves the health of children, families, neighborhoods and the natural environment in the San Diego/Tijuana region.

The cumulative impacts of environmental, social, political and economic vulnerabilities that affect the quality of life in our communities inspires our work. We focus on climate justice, healthy kids, border environmental justice, leadership development, voter empowerment and toxic-free neighborhoods because we believe in the right of everyone to live, work and play in a healthy community.

Homepage rotator transportation justice freeways can waitWe all need to move. How we get from place to place is deeply connected to our quality of life. Unfortunately, not all communities have the same access to healthy, safe, reliable and affordable transportation options, such as public transit and biking and walking paths. That means some people don't have access to the same quality of life, just because of where they live. Transportation justice is the equal access of all people to the transportation they need for a better quality of life.

Start Here. Start Now.
How we move matters, but not all communities have the same access to healthy and safe transportation options.

Public transit in communities south of the I-8 is often unaffordable, inaccessible and inconvenient. For those that don’t travel by car, a trip to the grocery store may require an hour walk on an unsafe sidewalk. Work commutes can be up to two hours longer by transit than they are by car. Improvements in transportation infrastructure must be prioritized for the people that need them most. It’s time that we demand transportation justice.

Transportation Justice Means:

  • Accessibility – Better and more abundant transportation options and increased affordability give community member's greater access to goods, jobs, housing and services.
  • Increased public health and safety – Pollution, along with pedestrian and bicyclist collisions with cars, are reduced through improved infrastructure.
  • Equity in investment and benefits – Investment in transportation for historically underserved communities creates an equal distribution of transportation benefits for all San Diegans.

Complete Streets
Transportation justice begins by transforming streets and public space into safe places to walk, bike and take advantage of comprehensive mass transit and drive. The Complete Streets program encourages the creation of streets not just built for cars, but for all modes of transportation. The program also promotes roundabouts to slow traffic, wide sidewalks to encourage walking and protected bike lanes to separate bicyclists from traffic and streetlights.

Get involved to make your voice heard and ensure transportation justice for all. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today: (619) 474-0220.