Marin City Climate Resilience and Health Justice (MCCRHJ) is an African-American led environmental justice organization comprised of community members and allies advocating for climate resilience and health justice. Their work seeks to establish equitable inclusion in planning and community preparedness, as well as the equitable allocation of resources. MCCRHJ addresses crucial community issues including emergency preparedness (including flood and hazard mitigation planning), adaptation to climate change and sea level rise (including wetland restoration), and pollution (water, air, and soil quality). They plan and develop activities related to all of the above, while promoting community engagement, social equity, youth leadership development, and advocacy with governmental and regulatory agencies, political representatives, as well as other organizations as they relate to advancing equity in Marin City.
History and Disparities: Marin City is a historically disadvantaged and underserved community in Marin County, California. The negative health impacts tied to discriminatory and exclusive decision-making, policies, and practices have resulted in a highly disproportionate pollution burden. The area was developed to house people who worked at the Marinship factory during WWII. After the war, it was one of the only places where African Americans could live due to redlining. Though redlining was outlawed more than half a century ago, its harmful effects are still felt by residents of Marin City, as in many other redlined communities who continue to be the most impacted by pollution. Marin County overall currently ranks second in racial inequity in California – meaning they are second from the bottom regarding racial equity, and fourth from the bottom for racial disparity regarding proximity to hazardous waste sites, per the Advancement Project California.
Community-Led: Currently, Marin City Climate Resilience and Health Justice is working with local community members to understand how water issues, especially issues resulting from recurrent flooding, manifest in Marin City from the community’s perspective, and how to address them, by conducting needs assessment activities including a water survey, stakeholder engagement, and community forums regarding water issues. Marin City Climate Resilience and Health Justice has also engaged and is partnering with political representatives, including Congressman Huffman and Senator McGuire, and agencies including the Army Corps of Engineers to bring in funding and technical assistance to advance equity in Marin City.
Public Health: Many of the Marin City Water Assessment questions were focused on understanding the health impacts of environmental issues that Marin City residents are facing. When asked about issues associated with climate change and flooding respondents were most concerned about mold and mildew, respiratory diseases and allergies (asthma, rhinitis, atopic dermatitis/eczema, common cold), poor mental health, loss of human life, sewage spillovers, and waterborne infectious diseases (Giardia, Cholera, Botulism, E. Coli, Dysentery).
When asked about other concerns about Marin City, many respondents said they are concerned
about housing and displacement, tap water quality, lack of a grocery store, health disparities, lack of educational opportunities and employment, and chronic flooding that mixes with historic contamination and 12 acres of runoff, as well as road access to Marin City being cut off by recurrent flooding.
Solutions: Currently, Marin City Climate Resilience and Health Justice is focusing on a public health impact assessment, identifying environmental hazards including water and air pollution and infrastructure needs such as new pipes and barriers to protect against noise and air pollution from Highway 101 and stormwater runoff, as well as working on habitat restoration, and advocating for an EPA superfund site assessment.