Social and Environmental Issues Around Santa Cruz and Monterey

Last Friday at our weekly ASB meeting, we talked about social and environmental issues in the Santa Cruz and Monterey area. We each researched two issues before class, and during class we shared them and gathered them all graphically in the form of a map of the area! I was going to take a photo of the colorful maps before leaving class, but unfortunately I forgot.

I didn’t know much about the area, so I learned a lot during this session. Quick recap of the issues I remember:

Santa Cruz: Homelessness, Water desalination plant construction
Watsonville: Air pollution indoors in public areas
Salinas: Nitrate poisoning of water because of pesticides, inaccessible to education, lack of doctors, obesity
Monterey: Large oil reserve that could be used by tracking

Those are the big ones I can remember. That’s a lot of stuff! It was interesting to see how different each of the counties were, even though they may have been right next to each other.We discussed the so-called “lettuce curtain” that stops interaction between certain areas such as Salinas and Monterey. 

As Maria pointed out, it is important to look at these issues from an economic standpoint as well – not just thinking about environmental justice.

I’m looking forward to actually going to the area over spring break to see these issues happening with my own eyes and talk to people.


One thought on “Social and Environmental Issues Around Santa Cruz and Monterey

  1. I was struck by the fact that the income inequality is so severed in the Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay area. In Watsonville and Salinas, there are so many undocumented immigrant workers in poverty in contrast to the affluent neighborhoods in Santa Cruz and Monterey. I hope we can explore more in this area during our trip.

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