In the Shadow of the Smokestacks (Part I): Richmond, California
Richmond, California is one of the many communities in America where economic and environmental injustice intersect. A waterfront city in the San Francisco Bay Area, you might expect it to be dominated by affluence and comfort, but you’d be mistaken. Back in 1901 Standard Oil moved in, and built what currently operates as the Chevron Richmond Refinery, and since then, the city of Richmond has literally grown up in the shadow of the smokestacks. Chevron has not been the most responsible of neighbors, and those of us who have lived in the Bay Area for a while can’t help but associate Richmond with chemical leaks and warnings for residents not to leave their homes. But this week’s guest on Sea Change Radio has an inspiring story of a community coming together to blow back at the smokestack. Host Alex Wise speaks with Greg Karras, a senior scientist at Communities for a Better Environment, an organization that advocates for working-class communities like Richmond that don’t have the money or political influence to fight Big Oil by themselves.