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Community Strategies for Sustainability and Justice

Celebrating 15 Years of Action Research and Principled Partnerships

The Community Strategies for Sustainability and Justice (CSSJ) Program advances environmental health, justice, and sustainability in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color in California through research and action with community-based organizations and coalitions.

We believe that communities have the right to excellent research support and that a participatory research process can support many aspects of community organizing and advocacy campaigns to win healthy neighborhood environments, a thriving economy, and social justice.

In September 2009 the CSSJ program launched a new three-year strategic plan, with three major initiatives:

  1. Research for Environmental Justice, an initiative to build research capacity and conduct participatory research in partnership with California-based organizations;
  2. Sustainable Economic Development, which advocates for the sustainable redevelopment of the Oakland Army Base and expands our successful Bay Area freight transportation justice work to other California communities; and
  3. Movement-Building for Sustainability, which develops and shares our successful and time-tested methods for advancing environmental, economic, and social justice by cultivating powerful leaders, organizations, and coalitions.

Launched in 1995, the CSSJ Program has completed seven major research projects with publications that have led to and supported numerous community environmental health and justice victories, including the creation of a truck route to get cargo trucks off residential streets in West Oakland (Paying With Our Health); the closure of Red Star Yeast, a manufacturing facility in West Oakland that was among the Bay Area's top polluters (Neighborhood Knowledge for Change); and the stalling of high-end development plans for the Breuner Marsh in Richmond, California (North Richmond’s Wetlands Threatened by Development).

CSSJ works with community-based organizations and coalitions in long-term strategic partnerships and shorter tactical alliances. It also provides consulting on projects that fit with its mission. If you are interested in contracting with the program to conduct a small-scale research project; to deliver targeted training focused on research, advocacy and/or environmental justice; or to adapt our movement-building tools to meet your organization’s specific needs, please contact Eli Moore or Catalina Garzón.

Download the CSSJ Program brochure.

Current projects:


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Catalina Garzón
Eli Moore

Download the CSSJ Program brochure

Read an interview with Environmental Activist and Institute Board Member Margaret Gordon


At a Crossroads in Our Region's Health: Freight Transport and the Future of Community Health in the San Francisco Bay Area

Water Works: Rebuilding Infrastructure, Creating Jobs, Greening the Environment

Safe Return Project: Research for Formerly Incarcerated Residents in Richmond, Calif.

Freight Transportation Justice

Sustainable Redevelopment of the Oakland Army Base

West County Indicators Project/Measuring What Matters

Community Research Academy

Movement-building for Sustainability

Participatory Research on Nitrate Contamination of Groundwater in the San Joaquin Valley


Speaking Truth on Coming Home

Gearing Up for Action: A Curriculum Guide for Freight Transport Justice

Advancing Community Health through Community Benefits

Measuring What Matters:
Neighborhood Research for Economic and Environmental Health and Justice in Richmond, North Richmond, and San Pablo
(also available en Español)

The Impacts of Sea-Level Rise on the California Coast

Taking a Toll – Pacific Institute and East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy

Richmond’s Tax Revenue from

Paying With Our Health: The Real Cost of Freight Transport in California

Deluged by Diesel: Health Solutions for West County

Clearing the Air: Reducing Diesel Pollution in West Oakland

Neighborhood Knowledge for Change: West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project

Brownfields Redevelopment: Meeting the Challenges of Community Participation


[2/04/09] New Report Finds Enormous Health Costs from Port of Oakland Trucking System

[10/09/08] New Report Looks at Tax Revenue from Chevron

[4/07/08] April 2008 Update: Spring Cleaning: River and Air

[11/21/07] Consider air pollution in Trade Corridor Improvement Fund spending (PDF)

[5/09/07] Online Update: Freeway Collapse, Corp. Water Reporting, more

[5/03/07] More than a Detour: West Oakland's Environmental History

[1/16/07] West Oakland Community Meeting: Health Risks of Diesel Soot

[11/14/06] Cleaning Up Freight Transport Pollution Costs Pennies, Saves Billions

[10/13/06] Oct. Online Update: Inst. Welcomes Program Director; FRP, CSR, & NGOs

[6/21/06] West County Crematorium: More Information on Air Pollution

[2/03/06] Diary: Smelling Like Petrol

[1/23/06] Diary: Happy Pongal!

[10/18/05] Institute, Collaborative Refuse to 'Sit Idle' on Diesel Exhaust

[7/18/05] New Report: Solutions Abound to Diesel Pollution in Contra Costa, California

[11/15/03] New Report on Diesel Pollution: West Oakland Breathes Too Much Pollution

[4/02/03] "Research, Advocacy Help Shutter Major Polluter in West Oakland"

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