Pollution affects everyone in California. Many live in smoggy areas like Los Angeles and Riverside where breathing the air can take as many as three years off a person’s life.
People of color—African-American, Latino, Filipino—are more likely to live near the huge facilities that spew toxic and greenhouse gases. And it’s a fact–the lower your income, the more likely you are to live in an area with lots of local pollution.
Founded in 1978, Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) is one of the preeminent environmental justice organizations in the nation. The mission of CBE is to build people’s power in California’s communities of color and low income communities to achieve environmental health and justice by preventing and reducing pollution and building green, healthy and sustainable communities and environments.
CBE provides residents in heavily polluted urban communities in California with organizing skills, leadership training and legal, scientific and technical assistance, so that they can successfully confront threats to their health and well-being.
CBE’s vision embraces local transformation. But the CBE vision goes far beyond local as humanity now faces environmental crisis of global proportions.
The earth’s most vulnerable populations experience the greatest suffering from environmental degradation. Climate change has triggered deadly drought, water shortages and wildfires; air and water pollution threatens food supplies and ways of life. It’s the world environmental crisis can be solved only through a fundamental transformation of our society–from values based on profit-before-all to an approach based meeting people’s fundamental needs.
Lasting solutions happen from the ground up–with the participation and leadership of residents and workers most directly affected by pollution and environmental degradation. The struggle for environmental justice is intrinsic to movement for social justice–in the U.S. and throughout the world.
CBE envisions a society in which production and consumption are based on environmental and social sustainability, where it’s held as a basic human right to breathe clean air and drink clean water in the environment where we live, work, go to school, play, and pray—regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, culture, ability, nationality, or income.