Diagram of a potential "environmental justice transect"

Voices of the Salton Sea

Postcards to raise awareness of the shrinking Salton Sea

Balloon mapping to monitor shoreline levels

Diagram of a potential "environmental justice transect"

Voices of the Salton Sea

Voices of the Salton Sea

The Salton Sea, California’s largest lake, is shrinking rapidly and releasing lakebed dust into the air. As part of a coalition of NGOs called Alianza, KDI is leading a campaign with a cohort of youth to collect data, elevate community concerns about public health, and help residents take a seat at the decision-making table.

Context

The Salton Sea is shrinking quickly

Due to high temperatures and water diversions, the Salton Sea is shrinking, exposing fine lakebed dust to strong winds.

According to local residents, the resulting air pollution triggers nosebleeds, asthma, and other breathing difficulties. Data on air quality is insufficient and residents need clear pathways to make their voices heard.

Process

The Youth Cohort is using science and storytelling to elevate community voices

KDI and Alianza have trained a cohort of local youth to collect data on air pollution and monitor the Sea’s receding shoreline.

Through journalism and storytelling, the youth are elevating community stories about the environmental, social, and economic effects of the Sea. We are simultaneously working with the State of California to formulate engagement that will integrate community voices into in the management plan for the Salton Sea.

Solution

Possible solutions to remediate the Sea's shoreline

Through our work with the State, we are creating a pathway for residents to redesign the Sea's shoreline to be more environmentally and socially productive.

Possible solutions could include a new environmental justice hub, ecological demonstration parks, air quality data sharing stations, and public spaces for residents to share their environmental justice concerns.

Impact

The three layers of resiliency

This community-led data collection and advocacy project will provide residents with the tools and knowledge to participate in policy making around the Salton Sea in meaningful ways.

As the State of California works to address the lake’s decline, residents will be able to make their voices heard so it benefits not just wildlife, but also local economies and communities.