Hundreds of San Bernardino youth and adults participated in the Global Climate Strike on Friday, September 20.
The strike began at the Inland Regional Facility and ended at the Amazon Fulfillment center, located roughly 2.5 miles apart, both in San Bernardino.
“San Bernardino youth and residents are calling on Amazon and its developer Hillwood to agree to a Community Benefits Agreement that will prevent air pollution, guarantee safe family sustaining jobs and ensure the city’s infrastructure can handle the increased traffic flow,” said Anthony Victoria, Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice member.
At the strike in San Bernardino, many youth shared testimony on the state of the climate.
“The Inland Empire has the worst ozone pollution in the nation due to air pollutants from trucks and planes,” said Inland Congregations United for Change (ICUC) Youth Leader Angela Cardenas. “This pollution directly contributes to the extreme weather patterns, such as wildfires, that are depleting our most precious ecosystems.”
“Pollution from trucks and planes exacerbates lung diseases, asthma, diabetes, and contributes to premature deaths, particularly for children, the elderly and those who work and play outside. A recent study by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that Latinos in California, compared to white residents, are exposed to particulate matter pollution that is almost 40 percent higher on average,” continued Victoria.
Thousands of residents fear that the pollution will get much worse once Amazon begins operating its air cargo facility at the San Bernardino airport.
“These type of warehouse and air cargo expansions are bad for the climate. You’re taking about an area that is already highly saturated. The transportation emissions and fuel used for combustion increases our ozone problem…the operating vehicles are spreading green house gasses into the air, which contribute to hotter summers and dangerous air to breathe,” said Andrea Vidaurre, Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice policy analyst.
With the millions of participants around the nation and the world, who used their voice on Friday, over 1,000 Amazon employees walked out of work in support of the cause.
“San Bernardino climate strikers are also standing in support of the more than 1,000 Amazon employees around the world, who are walking out of work today for a zero-emissions Amazon by 2030,” says Sierra Club Climate Activist Becky Hernandez. “With 14 facilities in the region, Amazon’s current business practices are suffocating working-class families like mine. We deserve a better standard of living.”
At the close of the strike ICUC youth held a research meeting with school board President Abigail Medina, school board member Gwendolyn Rogers, and California State Assemblymember Eloise Gomez Reyes to discuss air quality impacts on student health.
For more information, visit ccaej.org.