How we create change

In over 35 years of cutting-edge environmental advocacy work, CBE has learned to combine community organizing backed by legal strategy and strong research to create environmental justice and societal change.

Triad model

Community organizing

CBE’s organizing engages and educates low-income communities of color to build the power to influence environmental decisions that affect their lives.

Through door knocking, community meetings, school groups, political education, and other approaches, CBE’s programs empowers communities to fight local pollution sources and work for greener, healthier communities through support of initiatives like Green Zones and locally-controlled alternative energy sources.  CBE’s community organizing also works to bring healthy food to our communities.

Legal strategy

CBE’s break-through legal work continues to create precedents for environmental justice in our communities and beyond. In legal fights with industry and regulators, lawsuits and settlements—along with strong organizing and solid research—have won agreements that make sure plants and refineries use the most effective pollution-reduction equipment. Other legal victories have created funding for healthcare for asthma and other public health support. Successful lawsuits against public agencies have pushed stricter regulations and enforcement of them to reduce pollution.


Chemicals, exposure levels: Fighting for environmental justice requires an understanding of where toxic emissions come from, where they are heaviest, who is being exposed and to what chemicals.  CBE’s science and research team takes a rigorous approach to researching these questions—and strives as well to provide solutions to promote global health, clean jobs, and a robust economy.

Communications and Media

CBE supports members in developing their own stories to create strong and effective messages for key audiences—neighbors, policy makers, and the general public. Media and communications amplify the impact of our organizing, legal advocacy, and community-centered research, and inject our unique environmental justice perspective into the larger policy debate.


Voter education and mobilization efforts combine with issue organizing to strengthen and expand the base and build power for CBE policy campaigns.

The strength of CBE’s social change model: all these strategies working together for environmental justice.