Imagine a state made up of healthy, thriving communities, where every urban and rural neighborhood across California has the means to prevent industrial pollution and transition off fossil fuels. Residents have sustainable living wage jobs, affordable housing, and green open space, and use community-led planning to sustain their vibrant future. There is a statewide movement growing to make this vision a reality through the Green Zones Initiative.
Green Zones are a place-based strategies that uses community-led solutions to transform areas overburdened by pollution into healthy, thriving neighborhoods. Green Zones are neighborhoods heavily impacted by pollution — most often low-income communities and communities of color — where residents are organizing to reduce industrial pollution and cultivate new, coordinated opportunities to implement community-based solutions.
CEJA first launched our Green Zones Initiative in 2010, building upon years of local organizing. Since then, our members and partners have developed and grown their place-based Green Zone campaigns. CEJA connects these statewide efforts into a unified voice for change, winning new policies that reflect the Green Zone principles, opening up new opportunities for local campaigns to advance, and creating new possibilities for even more bold and transformative state programs and policies.
Each local Green Zone reflects the needs and priorities in a particular community. But all Green Zones share common roots. Each has developed from decades of organizing by groups working directly in low-income communities and communities of color to address the overconcentration of polluting facilities and the cumulative impacts of toxic emissions. They have emerged from community efforts to reconfigure the unhealthy — and often discriminatory — land use patterns that shape how our communities look today. And although each community vision is unique, they all share core principles that link them together: All Green Zones are comprehensive, community-led, solution-oriented, and collaborative.
CEJA’s 2018 report documents nine local Green Zone communities that are developing solutions to long-standing environmental health and justice issues across the state. It also provides information on the statewide tools that CEJA uses or has helped create to advance Green Zones as an overall movement. Both statewide and local efforts are connected through the transformative Green Zone approach to realize community visions for sustainability and economic opportunity.
This website serves as an ongoing repository for the archives and updates of the Green Zones Initiative.