The Environmental Justice Program is committed to creating more equitable, healthful, and sustainable communities. As we understand it, environmental justice includes our built environment; we want our buildings and transportation infrastructure to support health and sustainability for all residents. We have convened community coalitions in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties to advocate for these priorities in local land use, housing, and transportation decision-making. In both counties we work closely with the San Joaquin Valley Health Fund and ClimatePlan for funding, technical expertise, and exchanging strategies and best practices both regionally and statewide.

The Healthy Neighborhoods Collaborative in San Joaquin County has been deeply engaged for the past 4 years in the San Joaquin Council of Government’s Sustainable Communities Strategy and now the City of Stockton’s General Plan Implementation. The Collaborative meets the third Tuesday of each month at 1:00 PM at Catholic Charities in Stockton (1106 N El Dorado Street). To learn more please contact Jonathan at [email protected]. Our partners include Public Health Advocates, Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership, California Walks, Cafe Coop, San Joaquin Public Health Services, Puentes, Center for Climate Protection, Climate Plan, and many more.

The Sustainable Communities Coalition in Stanislaus County started in 2015 is engaged with the Modesto General Plan Amendment and the Stanislaus Council of Government’s Sustainable Communities Strategy. The Coalition meets the first Wednesday of each month at 10am at Catholic Charities in Modesto (2351 Tenaya Drive). To learn more please contact Martha at [email protected]. Partners include the Tuolumne River Trust, Fresno Metro Ministries, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, Congregations Building Communities, and the Farmland Working Group, among many others. This Coalition recently won a Blueprint Planning Award from the San Joaquin Valley Regional Policy Council for our community leadership on the SCS.
The Central Valley People’s Housing Coalition is a group that advocates for renters rights against unjust legal action. During the COVID-19 pandemic this group has been proactive in the struggle against the mass evictions of tenants across California. By creating a strong social media presence the Central Valley People’s Housing Coalition has successfully created a platform of followers who advocate for the human right to a sustainable shelter. Showing support for laws such as AB 3088 and AB 1436 are the seeds needed to sprout a generation of caring individuals.

West and South Modesto have faced some of the hardest economic disparities that the modern age has to offer. These communities have been heavily impacted by lack of infrastructure, pollution, and gang violence for generations. In order to help improve the lives of the residents in these neglected communities the Airport Neighborhood Collaborative was formed. By attending city council meetings and educating city officials on the local discrepancies facing the community the ANC can begin to reverse derelict environment.


SB 350

The Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act, passed by the California Legislature in 2008, called for regional planning agencies to integrate their land use and transportation planning with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These plans are called Sustainable Communities Strategies. By reducing the distance between where we work, live, and play and increasing the options for alternative transportation, we can reduce how much we drive. This, in turn, reduces our emissions that contribute to climate change. Of course, there are many co-benefits of this kind of planning including better air quality, reinvestment in existing neighborhoods, a wider range of housing options including affordable homes, more walkable neighborhoods, investment in green jobs, and protection of valuable farmland. Both San Joaquin and Stanislaus Councils of Government have adopted high-quality Sustainable Communities Strategies, but our coalitions will continue to work for full implementation of these plans as well as laying the groundwork for an even better second round. Read the San Joaquin SCS or the Stanislaus SCS.


Modesto is the process of updating their General Plan and Stockton is in the Implementation process of their General Plan. This could be considered the “economic constitution” of a community as it outlines where we are going to grow, invest, and improve, and how. It has dramatic ramifications for housing type and affordability, the range of active and alternative transportation options, the kind of investment (if any) in struggling neighborhoods, and the impact our communities will have on the natural environment around us. These plans are updated periodically and present an opportunity for our coalitions to make an impact on the health, equity, and sustainability of our cities in the long term.


Draft CalEnviroScreen 4.0

This tool, developed by the California Environmental Protection Agency, maps pollution burden and social vulnerabilities to determine the most disadvantaged census tracts in California. How does your neighborhoods compare?

SB 375 in the San Joaquin Valley

This presentation from ClimatePlan partners provides a summary of the SCS plans and challenges in San Joaquin, Fresno, and Tulare counties.

San Joaquin Valley Platform

This is a summary, compiled by ClimatePlan and statewide partners, highlights the areas of concern and opportunity throughout San Joaquin Valley related to the SCS process.

“Land of Risk Land of Opportunity” Executive Summary

This study by the UC Davis Center for Regional Change describes the cumulative environmental vulnerabilities of the San Joaquin Valley.

Sustainable Communities Flyer

This is a short summary of our work on health, equity, and sustainability in the built environment.

San Joaquin SCS Info Packet

This provides general background information on legislation as it relates to San Joaquin County and our organizing efforts.


Agricultural Land Loss Fact Sheet

As cities grow wider, they consume more valuable farmland. This fact sheet from American Farmland Trust summarizes this trend and highlights the challenges around loss of farmland.

San Joaquin Valley Housing Fact Sheet

An overview of the current and future housing needs and challenges in the San Joaquin Valley from the Local Government Commission.

San Joaquin Valley Health Fund Launch

The San Joaquin Valley Health Fund aims to make the San Joaquin Valley a healthier place to live, work and prosper by strengthening the capacity of communities and organizations to advance program, policy and systems change efforts to promote community health. Learn about the San Joaquin Valley Health Fund and meet three grantee partners who are doing great work in the Valley – including the Environmental Justice Program!

2014 State of the Air Report

This annual report from the American Lung Association ranks the metro areas with the worst air quality in the country. Note the many California and San Joaquin Valley cities!

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