The Environmental Health Coalition collaborated with the Tijuana Colectivo Chilpancingo Pro Justicia Ambiental Youth Group, to launch a comic book that tells the story of Tijuana’s Alamar River and its importance for regional sustainability.

Check out the digital version of the comic book "Mi Comunidad y el Alamar, un rio binacional y una comunidad fronteriza,” or “My Community and the Alamar, a Binational River and a Border Community":

 

The Alamar’s riverbank forest is a very important opportunity to mitigate the air pollution emitted by the Mesa de Otay maquiladora industry in Tijuana and by the heavy-duty diesel cargo trucks passing through nearby communities.

Learn more about EHC's Border Environmental Justice work in Arroyo Alamar.

Read the full press release on the comic book launch.

Mayra 2

Mayra Velazquez de Leon is the President and CEO of Organics Unlimited, a family-run organic banana business. Banana cultivation is a family tradition, with an emphasis on natural, organic methods that protect our environment. Mayra remembers fondly that her grandfather would water their crops using water from the river that flowed through their farm. Her father carried on that tradition of respect for natural resources, and in 1972 initiated a partnership to import the first commercially grown organic bananas into the US.

Growing customers and community

Organics UnlimitedMayra explains, “Our mission is to provide the best quality organic bananas and tropical fruits in a socially responsible way. Alongside quality stands our commitment to serving customers and the community.” Organics Unlimited is dedicated to organic farming using sustainable methods not only for the health of the workers and the consumers, but also for the health of the environment. Mayra continues, “Growing organic gives us the ability to sustain the land on which we grow our produce. Without the addition of chemicals, the land can continue to raise wholesome, delicious produce year after year, without the threat of destroying nature’s balance.”
 

In 2005, Mayra created the Giving Resources and Opportunities to Workers Fund (GROW), a Donor Advised Fund managed by the International Community Foundation, to provide funding for various social responsibility programs. This includes programs that help improve the quality of life of farmers and communities where Organics Unlimited is located. GROW also provides funding for organizations that share the objective of preserving natural resources and creating healthy environments for our future generations.

Sustainability on both sides of the border

GROW Fund 4

In 2016, Mayra attended Environmental Health Coalition’s Awards Celebration One People, Una Frontera, and discovered our shared values for sustainability. EHC is the only binational organization fighting for clean air and a healthy environment in the region, thus our mission and values naturally aligned with those of GROW. Since then, GROW has supported EHC on sustainability projects on both sides of the border, such as advocating for renewable energy and mass transit in San Diego and protecting the Alamar River region in Tijuana.

Your donation makes twice the impact with GROW

GROW Fund 3

This year, we are happy to announce that in addition to our sustainability partnership, GROW is offering match challenge throughout December. “EHC works relentlessly to protect our communities and fight for clean air, so I hope this match will inspire new supporters to join their efforts or give more to EHC,” anticipates Mayra. GROW and an anonymous donor have set a challenge to match $25,000 in donations.
 

For the month of December, know that your donation will make twice the impact. Together, we can raise up to $50,000 for environmental justice in our communities.
 

To learn more about GROW and their social responsibility program, visit Organics Unlimited’s website.

cropped3

Both starting and ending in the United States, the Arroyo Alamar (Alamar River) is an example of a U.S-Mexico shared ecosystem. The river is born east of San Diego in Campo, as a network of creeks and springs that join the Tecate Creek south of the border, and travels west through Tijuana and the community of Chilpancingo, it crosses back north and makes its way to the Tijuana River Estuary in Imperial Beach, and into the ocean.

Most of the river in Tijuana has been destroyed and covered by concrete. The Arroyo Alamar is the only stretch of the river where the natural habitat remains and where ducks, owls, raccoons, cranes, woodpeckers and crawfish can be found. The Arroyo Alamar helps clean the air and is one of the few open green spaces left in Tijuana where residents can enjoy nature and wildlife.

EHC is working to preserve this threatened pocket of natural habitat by hosting tours into the river to educate youth, through the recently launched “Cuaderno de Actividades del Guardián del Alamar” (Guardian of the Alamar Activities Booklet), and by working with Mexican authorities to have the Arroyo Alamar be declared a natural protected area.

To learn more about the Arroyo Alamar, please click here, and to learn more about EHC’s binational work, please click here, or contact Anibal Mendez at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For over a decade, Environmental Health Coalition (EHC) has worked with residents in Old Town National City to address food insecurity. Responding to an EHC community survey in 2005, residents were already voicing their concerns about the lack of affordable healthy food in OTNC and its impact on their daily lives. Their struggle for food access has been acknowledged at the federal level by the United States Department of Agriculture that designated Old Town National City as a “food desert”; defined as a part of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthy whole foods1. Residents of National City are suffering and dying from preventable diseases that are a result of poor nutrition and lack of access to healthy food. Within National City, there are approximately twice as many fast food and convenience stores as there are general grocery and fruit and vegetable markets2. Over 50% of children in the National School District are overweight or obese3, and National City residents have the highest rate of heart attacks in all San Diego County4.

In response to this severe community health crisis, residents have been working with city officials to find community driven solutions. Community members have identified the inclusion of a community garden in the Paradise Creek Park plan design as a solution to help increase physical activity and food access.

EHC will continue to work diligently to ensure that National City residents remain in the planning process and that their neighborhood transitions from a toxic to a healthy one . Follow EHC on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates on the Paradise Creek Park community garden and contact Sandy Naranjo, National City Policy Advocate, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for ways to get involved.

2017 1213 NC Community Garden Rendering

1  American Nutrition Association. USDA Defines Food Deserts. http://americannutritionassociation.org/newsletter/usda-defines-food-deserts
2  National City, National City General Plan (2011), 227. http://www.nationalcityca.gov/home/showdocument?id=5217
3  San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative, State of Childhood Obesity in San Diego County (2016), 7. https://sdcoi.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/stateofchildhoodobesity-sdcountyfinal1.pdf
4  Schroeder, Lauryn “Coronado has Good Hearth Health, National City Much Less So. Find Your Community on Interactive Map. http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/data-watch/sd-me-cardiovascular-rate-20180209-story.html. July 23, 2018.

Untied to vote 2

United to Vote 3

Justice for our communities begins with your voice. When we vote we are united, and when we are united we are powerful.

Remember to vote on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. Use our voter guide below to vote for environmental justice and advance the policies that will build #healthyhoods for our families.

  • For all voters: Vote NO on Proposition 70
    Preserve funding for affordable housing and better transportation in our communities.

  • For National City voters: Vote NO on B
    Don't repeal voter-approved term limits for the Mayor of National City.

  • For National City voters: Vote YES on C
    Retain voter-approved term limits for the Mayor of National City and create term limits for the National City Council. 

For more information on statewide ballot measures, please click here.

To learn more about EHC's civic engagement work, please click here or contact Jorge Gonzalez at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

United to Vote 1