Environmental Justice organizing has been one of the cornerstones of the SouthWest Organizing Project’s work since its inception in 1980. SWOP has worked hand in hand with environmental justice communities, from our historic fight against the Intel Corporation, to the protection of sacred lands, to reclaiming water rights, defending against nuclear waste and proliferation, to the fight for better air quality, and the fights against corporate water and tax grabs.


All of these environmental justice campaigns are different, but they also have some important things in common. We abide by the tenets set forth by the Principles of Environmental Justice and the Jemez Principles of Democratic Organizing, which means that we work with the community to uplift them in their acts of self-determination. This work isn’t easy; it often pits the community against powerful politicians and corporations, or regulatory bodies on the Municipal, County, and Federal levels, and the work often demands that we collect our own pollution data to provoke action.


Over the past few years, SWOP has: worked with community members to protect water from the Santolina development, pushed back against the Sunport Extension that is set to be built through the environmental justice community of San Jose, worked with community members to gather a year’s worth of air pollution data that they used to push regulatory bodies to provide clean air, filed multiple Title VI discrimination complaints against racist governmental bodies, and we are pushing the Air Force to speed up their clean-up of the giant jet fuel plume that is contaminating Albuquerque’s drinking water.


‘Justice where we work, live, and play’ is our motto to express that everyone deserves a clean living environment, and that the environment for someone living in an environmental justice community doesn’t necessarily just involve natures reserves, or solely plant and animals. Environmental injustices don’t happen by accident, which is why our communities have to ask, "who pays, and who benefits?" That is how we attack the root causes of inequality, while also ensuring a safe environment for our families every day. SWOP remains committed to working with environmental justice communities to ensure that their right to self-determination remains intact as we work to achieve their rights to clean water, air, and land.

For more information, please contact Juan@swop.net