How Is CEJA Advancing Green Zones Statewide?

The Green Zones Initiative consists of three components:

1. Identifying Overburdened Communities

Low-income communities and communities of color have been bearing the brunt of pollution for too long — too many of our communities suffer from asthma, cancers, and other illnesses borne from heavy industrial pollution. While the residents in these communities are the first-hand “experts” in what defines an environmental justice community, policy-makers often need more data and research. CEJA has worked with agencies such as the California Environmental Protection Agency and academics such as Dr. Manuel Pastor and Dr. Rachel Morello-Frosch to develop tools that can scientifically identify overburdened communities. With these tools, such as CalEnviroScreen 3.0 and the Environmental Justice Screening Method, we can link identified communities to visionary policies that can transform overburdened areas into thriving Green Zones.

2. Advancing Visionary Green Zones Policy

The Green Zones Initiative focuses on policy that follows community priorities. Grounded in the local organizing of our anchor campaigns, we have developed a comprehensive, statewide Green Zones Initiative that will finally move our state away from environmental silos and towards transformation of toxic hotspots. Our program starts by identifying highly impacted communities, and then directs a range of benefits and programs into our communities. Our program also puts Green Zones first in line for resources, regulatory attention, and green business development, and tackles critical environmental justice issues. The Green Zones Initiative has the potential to benefit hundreds of environmental justice communities throughout California.

3. Demonstrating the Model on-the-ground with Anchor Campaigns across the State

The CEJA Green Zones Initiative offers a way for communities take their health into their own hands. CEJA members have pinpointed seven overburdened areas that serve as local anchor campaigns for the Green Zones Initiative. From San Diego to the Inland and Central Valleys, and from Los Angeles to San Francisco, these campaigns are demonstrating how toxic hotspots can be transformed into healthy communities through our unique approach. Through these campaigns, residents are creating plans for pollution reduction, healthy jobs, affordable housing, clean energy and more to transform overburdened neighborhoods into vibrant and healthy communities. The CEJA Green Zones Initiative connects our local campaigns across the state so that Green Zones can become a model for reducing industrial pollution and cultivating thriving communities across California.