Los Angeles is a diverse and progressive city that sets an example for the world on environmental issues. Yet, for decades, problems of environmental racism, climate-related public health concerns, and corporate environmental irresponsibility have festered. Fellow James Crisafulli sought to expose some of the less publicized impacts of climate change on communities in LA, as well as give a platform for Angelenos to hold LA’s leaders accountable. He hoped to cultivate an ambitious environmental agenda through his project Climate Impact LA.
James himself has seen the impact of climate change through numerous wildfires that affected his family and loved ones, along with severe droughts and deteriorating air-quality. These events transformed his interest into a mission. Climate change, and particularly environmental justice, represents the most egregious and global form of unfairness in our society today. While there has been international engagement, James knew that for him to be able to make an impact at this stage, he would need to act locally.
Climate change, and particularly environmental justice, represents the most egregious and global form of unfairness in our society today.
James started reaching out to organizations in and around Los Angeles working around environmental justice in order to gain insight and potentially interview people involved for some of the videos. He formally partnered with Earth Guardians and the Sunrise Movement. Each could tap into their networks and resources which would have been much more difficult for James to pursue on his own. Earth Guardians hosted blogs on their website and promoted James on social media, and Sunrise connected him with video editors for his videos.
He continued to do online research and reach out to people who he thought could offer a needed perspective for his videos and worked with video editors to make educational content about the important environmental justice issues facing LA.
James also paired the videos with longer, more detailed blog posts for those wanting to learn more about the topic.
The videos highlight various topics including the diesel pollution coming from freight trucks in Los Angeles that transport goods to and from warehouses. Thanks to a call to action that was created through awareness around the videos, a massive rule is being considered by the local air quality agency. The rule would provide the first substantive pollution regulation for the warehousing industry.
In the video, James spoke with two activists who had been working on this issue for over five years. Following the interview, he sat in on a public meeting of the air quality agency and ended up making a public comment. Less than a minute after he finished speaking, he saw a new email. It was the two activists he had interviewed thanking him for his remarks and dedication to the fight.
You can find the video series on Youtube at Climate Impact LA.
Future Ambitions & Getting Involved
James hopes to make more videos for the project and build out the website to be a hub for ways to get involved in environmental justice activism in LA.
To help in his mission, you can also visit the Climate Impact LA official website, complete call to actions & reach out about an environmental LA based organization you believe is important to look into!