The World We Need celebrates America’s unsung grassroots environmental groups — often led by people of color and the poor — that defend communities against polluting industries and help them mitigate the impacts of climate change. This excerpt highlights the work of the community organization T.E.J.A.S. and the activist artist collective Not an Alternative.
This post was produced in partnership with The New Press.
Bryan Parras had always wanted to build a museum in Houston. Growing up amid a dense agglomeration of oil refineries, chemical plants, and industrial waste facilities on the city’s east side — the predominantly Mexican American neighborhood of Manchester, and all along the Houston Ship Channel — he was compelled by their noxious fumes to launch a community environmental justice organization with his father, Juan, in 2006. By then, Juan had been organizing the neighborhood for 11 years with the group he founded, Unidos Contra Environmental Racism, and now, they renamed it Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services, or T.E.J.A.S.
The group leads “toxic tours” of local Shell, Valero, ExxonMobil, and Chevron facili... Read more