San Gabriel Mountains: A Symbol of Environmental Justice
Robert García, a relentless advocate for environmental justice communities in Los Angeles, passed away on Monday, April 6, 2020. As founding director and counsel of the City Project, a nonprofit legal and policy advocacy team, García led the important work of engaging, educating, and empowering vulnerable and marginalized communities for equal access to public resources. He will be deeply missed.
This is a transcript of the video, produced as a partnership between NRDC and Next100.
Robert Garcia, civil rights attorney and founding director of the City Project, Los Angeles: Going up the San Gabriel Mountains is a great thing to do for all the people of L.A. County, especially for underserved people. Once you're up there on that trail going up into the mountains, you totally forget that you're in one of the two largest cities in the nation.
My connection to the San Gabriel Mountains goes back to when I was growing up in L.A. as a child. I am an immigrant. I came to the United States when I was four years old from Guatemala with my family, and I remember going to the San Gabriels with my mother, father, and sister.
What is special about the San Gabriel Mountains is that it's so close to L.A. Within an hour's drive of most of Los Angeles County, you can hike up into wilderness areas along the San Gabriel River and see wild animals.
We went there recently with a group of friends. We saw nobody else. There were bighorn sheep—came right up to the river.
It's not just about conservation, clean air, clean water, clean land, habitat protection. It's about the people.
Dozens of cities and diverse groups—from fishermen's groups to hiking groups to civil rights and social justice groups—have all banded together to support the creation of the national monument.
President Obama: Today I'm using my executive authority to designate the San Gabriel Mountains as a national monument. (audience cheering)
Garcia: President Obama specifically said there are not enough parks in L.A. County, especially for children of color and low-income children. The smiles on children's faces who have never seen these places before, that's priceless. I see myself when I was a little boy, and it's such a joy to be able to bring that to more children.
And for this administration to step in, in the last few months and say, We're starting over, we're revisiting this, we're reexamining this, is wrong.
It's wrong on environmental grounds, it's wrong on social justice grounds, it's wrong because it violates the will of the people, for no good reason.
Local environmental justice groups get a boost from the city’s Clean Up Green Up policy, which brings green zoning to three heavily polluted communities.
Whether they are delivering food or climate justice or standing up for clean air or access to nature, these activists are uplifting communities across the country.
Residents who live near the country’s busiest ports are getting a new lens on the pollution in their backyards, and new tactics to help fight it.
Audrey Peterman, a long-time advocate of natural and cultural American treasures, describes the transformative nature of the first-ever national monument dedicated to honor an African American.
The latest executive order takes aim at iconic public places that store carbon, protect ecosystems, and keep fossil fuels in the ground.
Trump likens our “inner cities” to war zones . . . then guts the programs geared to safeguard clean air and water for low-income communities of color.
After years of work by NRDC and its partners, about 5,000 square miles of ocean—with massive canyons, majestic underwater mountains, and more than 1,000 species—have received permanent protection.
With a new series of bills, California promises to protect the environment no matter what happens on the federal level.
From undersea coral canyons to deep northern woods, these seven places deserve to be part of the president’s legacy.
Use NRDC's toolkit to help you take action against the Trump administration's agenda.
The interior secretary’s proposal to hand over park management to private companies has riled up some very unhappy campers.
The administration’s assault on our environment and health is unlike any threat we’ve ever faced.
As the interior secretary ponders the fates of 27 national monuments, he seems to be hearing some voices more acutely than others.
For archaeologist Angel Peña, this national monument is more than just home to cultural and geological artifacts—it’s where memories and history are made.
This month’s National Park Service centennial presents an opportunity to create a parks system that is reflective of—and accessible to—all Americans.
As our national monuments come under attack by Trump, park conservationist Audrey Peterman reminds us that protecting our monuments is also about protecting the legacy of America’s people.
President Trump and the Republican-led Congress are poised to wipe out crucial environmental safeguards. Here’s how you can join the fight.
Former BLM employee Hillerie Patton describes this Nevada landscape as the essence of “This Land is Our Land”—and how preserving wildlife, archaeological sites, and recreation is about quality of life.
Now deemed national monuments, these natural beauties will be protected for generations.
The Trump administration’s review of national monuments threatens America’s culture and natural beauty.
If we don’t address these increasingly severe threats, America’s most treasured lands might soon be unrecognizable.
Dr. Michael Anthony Mendez on his new book, "Climate Change from the Streets", and the readiness of Latinos to act on climate and justice.
These iconic American vacation spots will soon become unrecognizable—or worse, vanish. Pack your bags, quick!
Vulnerable communities across America pay the highest price for environmental justice issues brought upon by polluters.
Why are there so many names for legally protected waterways? And what do they all mean?