Environmental Justice Activist to Visit April 23

A dark haired young woman at podium advocating for urban drilling to stop
By Jill Dolan

April 19, 2024 - 04:28 PM

Nalleli Cobo, a prominent advocate for environmental justice, will bring her inspiring story to Mt. SAC students on April 23 as part of the college’s Earth Week activities.

Growing up in South Central Los Angeles, Cobo experienced firsthand the impact of pollution and environmental degradation of her community. Cobo's journey includes leading campaigns to shut down toxic oil wells, including the AllenCo drilling site.

Her tireless advocacy also led to legislative victories such as SB 1137, which enacted a 3,200-foot public health and safety setback, or buffer zone, to protect sensitive sites, like homes and schools, from the toxic emissions associated with oil and gas extraction.

“Mt. SAC is honored to host Nalleli Cobo as our Earth Week keynote,” said Sustainability Director Eera Babtiwale. “Her advocacy bravery and perseverance is an outstanding model of environmental stewardship. We know that our campus community will be inspired by her personal journey and by her continued fight for environmental justice.”

According to Greenpeace, in California, more than 2.7 million people live within 3,200 feet of an oil or gas well. Most of them are Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian immigrants, and working class. Many more Californians work near these wells, both in the oil industry itself and at schools, healthcare facilities, and countless other professions. 

Cobo's keynote, weaving personal experience with activism, will emphasize the urgent need for inclusive environmentalism. Attendees can anticipate gaining insights into the transformative power of grassroots movements to effect systemic change. Cobo was recognized with the 2022 Goldman Environmental Prize and was included in the 2022 Time 100 Next list.

Attendees can anticipate a thought-provoking discussion on the power of grassroots movements in driving systemic change and fostering sustainable solutions for a healthier planet and fairer society. This keynote serves as a rallying call for individuals to engage in collective action and advocate for environmental justice in their communities.