Community advocates celebrate environmental justice

Many underserved communities in San Diego are feeling the effects of pollution and climate change.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. – Local Encanto advocates gathered on Wednesday for Environmental Justice and Climate Equity Day and locals say it’s a great first step because it’s about raising awareness .

However, they also say more needs to be done for underserved communities.

“When we hear these conversations about climate change and extreme weather we laugh about it like ‘oh it was 90 degrees yesterday and now it’s freezing’ we laugh about it…it’s no laughing matter,” said Jacquelyn Clark.

Clark is a member of the San Diego branch of the NAACP and a climate ambassador for the group.

Clark spent Wednesday pointing out environmental injustices.

“We all live and breathe the same air, why can’t it be the same in every community,” Clark said.

Clark says some communities in San Diego are seeing more and more pollution. Neighborhoods like Linda Vista, the Midway District and eastern parts of the city need vital investment.

“Maybe changing truck routes, maybe some times limiting that transportation, trees and shade,” Clark said.

Some of the organizations at Wednesday’s conference included “I Am Green,” the San Diego Urban Sustainability Coalition, and the Climate Action Campaign.

They believe more needs to be done, such as adding more housing close to public transit and additional electric charging stations.

“The goal would be fairness, fairness, and the city intentionally prioritizing these communities of concern,” said Madison Coleman, policy and climate action campaign advocate.

Coleman is a policy advocate for the Climate Action Campaign and she’s here to say there are neighborhoods in San Diego that are being ignored.

“The climate action plan update has a plan target of 35% shade trees,” Coleman said. “We want the city to specifically invest in communities that are historically responsible for air pollution and asthma,”

These Communities of Concern are divided into 13 areas.

Coleman asks the city to invest, educate and include community input before making policy decisions.

“As a black person, this resonates with me personally, and I think city governments and city council members should stick to the promises they’ve created,” Coleman said.

Advocates told CBS 8 they are concerned about high rates of asthma and cardiovascular disease in communities such as Ocean View, South Crest and Shell Town.

And that’s something that can’t be ignored for San Diego communities.

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