environmental justice

LISTEN: Nayamin Martinez on organizing for farmworker justice

"The only sustainable way to move forward is if we stop using pesticides."

Nayamin Martinez joins the Agents of Change in Environmental Justice podcast to discuss advocating for farmworker health and workplace protections in California's Central Valley.


Agents of Change fellow Rodrigo Alatriste-Diaz hosts the show, as Martinez, the director of the Central California Environmental Justice Network, talks about threats to farmworkers' health, including extreme heat, ozone, COVID-19, and pesticide exposure. She also outlines a vision for a more just and healthy food system.

The Agents of Change in Environmental Justice podcast is a biweekly podcast featuring the stories and big ideas from past and present fellows, as well as others in the field. You can see all of the past episodes here.

Listen below to our discussion with Martinez, and subscribe to the podcast at iTunes, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Transcript 

Annie Hoang

Hi everyone, this is Annie Hoang here. I am an Agents of Change fellow and also in my last year of medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, or UCSF, and I am here with my partner in crime, Rodrigo.

Rodrigo Alatriste-Diaz

Hi, everyone. This is a Rodrigo Alatriste-Diaz. I am a researcher at the UC Merced Community and Labor Center. We had the great opportunity to interview Nayamin Martinez, the executive director of the Central California Environmental Justice Network. And in this phenomenal interview, Nayamin was able to kind of outline how community organizations were forced to step in during COVID to assist farmworkers in a variety of issues, but specifically, and with very basic things like masks. In the later part of the interview, I was also super excited to be able to learn about the citizen science projects that are going on in the Central Valley. And some of the effects that these projects have in building capacity, in communities in terms of environmental science, and knowing where to report air pollution, which is a critical issue for the valley. Annie, did you have any thoughts about the interview?

Annie Hoang

Yeah, no, I thought it was a fascinating episode. I learned so much about farmworkers and the unique challenges that they face in the Central Valley and, specifically regarding women farmworkers and kind of that double edged sword that they kind of have to experience during the pandemic, especially with regards to childcare and for working conditions. So I just thought that was just a phenomenal episode overall, in learning everything. And I think, everyone, I think there are so many points from this episode that people from all across the United States and across the world would be able to resonate with. So, for everyone, enjoy the show.

Rodrigo Alatriste-Diaz

So I'm here with Nayamin Martinez. Nayamin Martinez directs the Central California Environmental Justice Network. She holds a master's degree in public health and sociology. And she's worked for the Madera County Public Health Department as a health educator, sorry, health education coordinator, and was a health projects coordinator for the Binational Center for the Development of the Oaxacan Indigenous Communities. Nayamin, thank you for being here. It's really nice to see you.

Nayamin Martinez

Thank you for the invitation.

Rodrigo Alatriste-Diaz

And we wanted to start off to by getting more information about the work that CC… CCEJN does, and the ongoing work on pesticide advocacy and protection of farmworkers in the Central Valley. Can you talk a little bit about that, please?

Nayamin Martinez

Sure. Well, first and foremost, I just want to acknowledge that Central California Environmental Justice Network or CCEJN for short, was founded in 2000, by very visionary leaders that have noticed that many parts of our Central Valley were burdened more severely than others, by numerous sources of pollution, pesticides being just one. But others are, for example, the oil and gas extraction varies, and obviously, the air pollution that is a chronic problem for the entire region. But what these visionary leaders encounter is that it didn't matter if you live in in Modesto or in Kern County or in Fresno, or Merced, the common denominator is that the neighborhoods that were more impacted are neighborhoods with low-income people of color residing there. And for that, you know, the way that these leaders describe that situation was environmental racism. And I know that this is a term that nowadays is in fashion, is used everywhere. And now at the government level at both, you know, federal, state, local, there's an effort to teach environmental justice and just put it in, you know, in the mission statements of all the agencies. But 21 years ago, CCEJN was already talking about environmental racism, and that the vision of the organization was really to fight this environmental racism and to make sure that in our communities, we had environmental justice, that we have health equity, and that people of color will not be burdened by more pollution sited in our neighborhoods just because of these racist practices. So, I am extremely proud and humbled to have the opportunity to work leading this organization, because of what I said, I mean, it is completely stunning that 21 years ago, there was already the vision of, of these paths to move forward. Sadly, on the other side, is that 21 years, we are still fighting for these principles. Because, unfortunately, in our valley, there are so many ways in which pollution continue to affect low-income people of color. And pesticides, it's one of those topics, not the only, but a very significant one.

Rodrigo Alatriste-Diaz

Yeah. And could you go into some of the work that CCEJN is currently working on related to pesticides and farm worker protection?

Nayamin Martinez

Yes, so our, our work on pesticides, I could describe it in short, medium, and long term goals. In the short term, what we have been doing is educating farmworkers and residents living in rural communities that are fenceline to the fields where these pesticides are applied, to know their rights. To know that, you know, there are rules that are meant to protect their safety, and that there's ways to report these violations. And that we're going to make sure that those violations when reported are fully investigated. And if there's any violation that there are fines applied to whomever is responsible for doing that. So, education is a key part of our work. We do that by going to the field, we do that by doing house meetings, community meetings, a very gradual approach. So education, you know, I would say it's an ongoing effort.

But we understand that education is not the only thing that we can do. And we, we are always advocating when we see that there is either a missing rule or regulation or where there is a lack of enforcement of existing regulations. And in terms of the missing elements, one of the current campaigns that CCEJN is working [on], hand by hand with other advocates across the state, is that the Department of Pesticide Regulation implements a statewide notification system that would allow residents who live near the fields or residents of communities near where the pesticides are applied to know before the application is happening. Right now, there's no such a system. And we believe that the right to know of people, it's fundamental to be able to protect their health. So luckily, in this year’s state budget, the government allocated $10 million for the statewide notification system, which we see as a big accomplishment in the right direction. But we are pushing the DPR, because right now, like any other regulatory agency, they are saying that, oh, they are not going to have these in place and they won’t finalize until 2024. And for us that, that's not admissible. The residents have the right to know today, they had the right to know yesterday. And they don't need to wait until 2024, especially because the information is already at the tip of the fingers of the commissioners. They receive a notice of intent every time a farmer is going to apply a restricted material. And what we are asking is that you have information, just make it public put it in a website, so that anybody that wants to know has access to that information. So we're working, we're participating, we're making sure that residents’ voices are heard. We recently hosted a tour with the acting director of the DPR, Julie Henderson, which we took her in rural areas in Fresno County to hear from residents. She was also joined by the Fresno County Commissioner. So that is our short-term campaign.

But in the, in the meantime, where, we also have realized is that the only sustainable way to move forward is if we stopped using pesticides, we wouldn't need a notification system. We wouldn't need more regulations if less pesticides were used. In our state, there's more than 200 million pounds of pesticides applied every year. And 61% of those are applied in the Central Valley with Fresno, Kern and Tulare been the top three users. So there are other ways of farming, and frankly it's not only to protect the health of residents and farm workers who are affected by pesticides, but in general, if California really is about stopping this crisis of climate change, agriculture is a big culprit of it. And right now, that is not being discussed or talked about in all the different plants and agencies that are trying to address climate change in our state. So we need to start by recognizing that, and we're taking measures. So because of that we are active in other coalitions that are, for example, encouraging the state to invest more in offering funding and technical assistance to farmers, so that they can transition to sustainable agricultural practices. That includes not using pesticides, no using chemical fertilizers, having, for instance, adopting more solar panels in their farms, using cleaner tractors and the whole, you know, the whole process. So that is kind of our midterm goals that those investments are made. And that farmers, small farmers of color are not left behind, but are given access and actual priority in this funding.

Rodrigo Alatriste-Diaz

I think that's a great point. I recently saw a webinar about extreme heat and standards for farmworkers. And so the, the mitigation tends to be, you know, breaks, monitoring of, of human, the temperature of human, of humans’ bodies, and mitigation terms to tends to be tree cover. And so it was a very interesting discussion, because I think what they pointed out was, in places where you have a high density of population, and absence of tree cover, those are areas that you would want to focus on in cities. And it's almost the exact opposite in rural communities, right, densely populated, and we have a lot of trees and we have, but you know, they're in agriculture. And so it's a very different relationship.

Nayamin Martinez

Exactly. And you know, and definitely, you talk about another important aspect of how in agriculture is contributing to exacerbate the impact of climate change in a certain population, which are the farmworkers. Especially that it suffers in the Central Valley and other areas of the state where we have very, you know, hot summers. Because you know, you have your farm workers working in days where, when we easily exceed 100 plus degrees. And we, as you were saying they give them more breaks. But that's really just a band aid. We have not seen that many cases of heatstroke. But what we're not measuring or monitoring is the health, long term health effects. Right now, we're asking these farmworkers to be working out exposed to the, to the heat, exposed to super high levels of ozone, that that's the pollutant that we have significantly high during the summer months, and also being a gas, there's no way you can be protected at…For PM, at least you, like for example, California adopted the rule that states that when the air quality is above 151, in the air quality index, that employers need to give the farm workers N95 masks, that protects them from particle, fine particles. But there's no protection for ozone, the only protection is to be indoors. So one of the recommendations that we have made is what about investing or, or supporting farmers that can and be willing to, to change their business model so that the farm workers for instance, can work in the evenings when there's not going to be exposure to ozone or heatstroke or all those conditions. So I think that there's a lot of potential in just making sure that the, the investments are going to the right strategies and to the people that need it the most.

Rodrigo Alatriste-Diaz

You also mentioned long term strategies…

Nayamin Martinez

The long-term strategy that we are, we would like to see in terms of just farming, agriculture, pesticides use in the valley and in our state is that California actually creates and implement a plan for towards sustainable agricultural farming. So, I am part of a group that is called the Sustainable Pest Management Working Group that was established earlier this year. It is very diverse, they have representation from industry, so the citrus industry, the almond board, but also researchers from different universities of California, environmental justice advocates like myself. And what it is envisioning what can and California should do to, to, to, you know, just transition to sustainable agricultural practices. So we're going to end in next year with a set of recommendations, policy recommendations for the state, that hopefully can act as a roadmap of where we, where we go from here. And in, the other thing that we're doing toward that long term goal is not waiting until that is a reality in the entire state. We are right now implementing two pilot projects in collaboration with other organizations. One is in Tulare, one is here in Fresno. And these pilot programs are offering, will be offering classes to farm workers that would like to become small farmers, but using sustainable agricultural practices, giving them access to land where they could apply those practices, giving them access to knowledge—we know that our farm workers already know how to farm. But sometimes they don't know that business model. They don't know what other permits what is required. So that's going to be provided. And, and these are two pilots, but our long-term goal is in partnership with these organizations to establish an agro-ecology center in the Central Valley. That really would be the model of how we should be farming in our region. In, contrary to the, you know, conventional farming that is going on right now.

Rodrigo Alatriste-Diaz

Thank you, Nayami. I think those are great points to, to outline. We, I had a question about the, how farm workers have fared during COVID. I know that in social media and the news, there's been a lot of interest around wildfires and its, and their effects on, on farm workers. And also your experience in terms of how enforcement occurred or didn't occur during the pandemic?

Nayamin Martinez

Well, I can tell you that, you know, we saw firsthand that the farmworkers were severely affected. I mean, I know that the pandemic changed our lives, too, for everybody. But again, some populations, you know, fared, or had more more impact. So I can say that because CCEJN was part of that COVID farmworkers study that was conducted in 2020. So we were one of the six organizations that statewide conducted over 900 surveys among farm workers. We were involved in the Central Valley and collected over 150 of those surveys. So they were done over the phone to to ensure you know, safety. But some of those surveys and then follow, that were followed by in-depth interviews, we find and document with data that farm workers were affected in many ways. Some of the crisis was affecting obviously their, their, you know, their income and their family economy for a variety of reasons. One was that there was places where there was they, they saw a lot of people that were formerly employed in other sectors already, like, you know, they were in in the, you know, social services or like working in restaurants or working in, in sales or something. When all these businesses closed, these people went back to the fields to try to find work. So I remember really well, woman from Exeter, telling me how her crew that used to be 30, all of a sudden, there were 90 of them. So the work that they were supposed to do in an entire day, they were done in two, three hours. So that means that she would have to pay for the babysitter, the ride to go to the field and, and earn two hours of income and then come back home. So she ended up spending more than what she was earning. And the story multiplied and occurred so many times. And on the other end was the women who are more impacted than the men. Why? Because when the schools closed, women were kind of like the ones that were staying at home to take care of those children that normally would be in school. Because there was not that ability to send the children to school or to have anyone else take care of your children. So childcare became among one of the top issues that we also heard a lot from farmworkers.

The other thing is that, you know, despite the dire state, the state really said, ‘Oh, farm workers are essential workers, so we're going to protect them.’ And they came up with certain recommendations of, they have to allow to social distance, they have to give them masks. In reality, what we heard from farmworkers is that, you know, that more than half of the people that we interviewed did not receive a mask or received one mask for an entire month, for example. The social distancing was was not allowed or not practiced. And in particular, I was able to hear the testimony of a woman who not only was not allowed to social distance, was retaliated. When she asked, ‘Can I, you know, can I be spaced enough from my coworkers?’ She, the next week, she was not called back to work in retaliation for her asking for her rights. And when I tried to report that to Cal OSHA—no, I didn’t try, I did report to Cal OSHA—I got a letter back from Cal OSHA, saying that I had provided “vague information” so that they would not do anything with their complaint. So your question about enforcement is that was like zero. And, you know, we were asking these essential workers to be working more than, as much as doctors, because they wanted to show that we have food on our tables, but we were not protecting them. It was just on paper, but in reality, they they were falling through the cracks. And obviously, the other way in which the pandemic affected them, it exacerbated pre-existing problems, like the poor access to health services. So a lot of the people that we talked to that were became ill with COVID, they were uninsured, and the clinics were already closed. So you know, that that created a problem. So definitely, I think that the state tried to solve some of these issues by, you know, creating programs like Cosecha Sana and other things. But, you know, based on the stories that we heard, they they were not meeting every farmworker’s need, and definitely the few counties that were able to track down data by occupation like Monterey County, you see the numbers, you see that the number of cases of COVID positives were higher in, among farmworkers than in other occupations.

Rodrigo Alatriste-Diaz

I follow CCEJN, on social media. And I remember also seeing work to distribute masks.

Nayamin Martinez

Yes. So we were able, because, I mean, when we were hearing that the people were not receiving the mask, and at the same time, we were aware that the state was buying the mask in bulk. We're like, wait a minute word, where are the masks, but what is happening? So the, the state had the great idea that sending the masks to the Ag Commissioners was the best way to get them out to the farmworkers. Not knowing that probably, at least in the Central Valley, the agency that has the least contact with farmworkers are the commissioners, because they don't interact with farmworkers, and they don't care about them, frankly. And so that's when we turned around and say, Hey, wait a minute, we need those masks. So our commissioners actually start sharing the masks with all, like to Tulare, Fresno and Kern they gave us masks and that's how we took the mask and we're out in the field distributing the mask along with COVID-19 relief funds that we were able to receive from private grants. But we had to do that because in the middle of all this they were not being provided with the mask by the employers, neither by by the you know, the commissioners had all these boxes of masks not knowing what to do with them, and in some specific cases we've been heard that the contractors that had received masks from from from the commissioners were turning around and selling them to the farmworkers. Or in the little stores that are you know, where people's, when they're on their way to work where they stop to buy coffee or whatever. I saw it myself, in Talavera, a little store, you know, supermarket there was selling a disposable mask, one of those that, you know, are surgical masks, $1.

Rodrigo Alatriste-Diaz

Price gouging

Nayamin Martinez

Totally. So it's like, I mean, I think that it was good that not only CCEJN and but many organizations were trying hard to fill in the gaps and distribute the mask. And when the wildfires started in August that we were in, with super high you know air quality for what, three months almost. And that's when we started noticing that they didn't know anything about the right to get an N95. They had no clue what the N95 was, there was a shortage of N95s, and they were super expensive if you find them. So, again, that motivated a special campaign program that we started this year, where we created a special little booklet that explains the right according to the law, what is the mask that should be used during wildfires, and also how to get registered to receive the notifications when our air quality goes above the 151. Because that's the other you know, kind of like, weakness of that regulation is like, really, this, a contractor, a farmworker will really know what their quality is? How are they going to know? So, you know, we've tried to fill in the gaps again, and you know, that those are two instances in which we have done it. But if anyone falls through the cracks during the pandemic, and the wildfire season, were the farmworkers.

Rodrigo Alatriste-Diaz

Certainly, thank you for sharing that, Nayamin, and all that very detailed information. In terms of the rulemaking process, and the laws that are on the books, and enforcement, is there anything else that any other criticisms about, you know, one thing is a community need and then another is how, how that's enforced, or how that's created as legislation and then enforced? Anything else about pesticide advocacy there?

Nayamin Martinez

Absolutely, I think that CCEJN, in collaboration with other coalitions like the Californians for Pesticide Reform, have been documenting, and really analyzing how is enforcement done through these Ag commissioners, because that's the unique model that California has. The Department of Pesticide Regulation is the entity that creates the rules, the regulations, they write them down, they you know, they, but then they do not enforce it directly, they delegate that authority to the commissioners. And this is where the, the irony comes, they are delegating that authority, yet, they do not seem to have a lot of ability to actually make sure that the commissioners are enforcing those rules. In theory, I think they do have the authority, but in reality, they don't have the political will to exercise that authority. And we have seen and heard in many instances when we come to DPR to complain, they're not doing this, they're not doing that, oh we cannot tell them how to do their work. Or even hearing Ag commissioners like Fresno County, Ag commissioner, during this visit that Julie did. She told Julie in her face, the DPR director, you are not my boss, my boss are the supervisors. So that is a problem. If they don't see that really DPR can tell them how to do things and think that they have no authority over Ag commissioners, and they're the ones that are enforcing the rules. That, it's a broken system. And that's why you know, for instance, in the Central Valley in Fresno it has improved. But it’s, the average investigation for a pesticide violation took 19 months, two years to investigate. By the time they come to the investigation, the farmer workers have more likely to have already forgotten that it happened in the first place. Then when, when there some let's say that they concluded that there was a violation, they find the farmer, the pesticide applicator or whomever. And all the money goes back to the, to the Ag Commissioner. There's no, no nothing given as a, you know, compensation or anything to the farm worker. Sometimes they don't even bother to tell them, hey, we completed the investigation and find the applicant, nothing. So there's some very, in our opinion, there's a lot of problems with enforcement. And we are really working to push for DPR to have more ability and exercise that ability to, to come up and say to the commissioners, this is a way you're gonna do things and if you're not going to do it, then they should then not receive the money that they're receiving from DPR. Like if I don't do a part of a contract, I don't get paid. Rightfully so, why are they paying them to do something that they are not doing. So I wish that you know, for me, the solution to that is that they get away with that model. I don't think that it's a good model because of the lack of accountability from the Ag commissioners to the DPR. There's a right now an extreme case of just how broken the system is. In the community of Shafter this is one of the AB 617 selected communities, AB 617 is a law that, you know, encourage the selection of communities that are burdened by air pollution. And then these communities form a steering committee with residents and other stakeholders. And we decide, we designed a plan with the strategies that we thought would cut our emissions. And these plans were based on what the community members considered were the main causes of pollution in the community of Shafter people thought pesticides were a big problem. And they wanted a notification pilot. So kind of like what the state is trying to do right now statewide, okay, well, they wanted that. It was approved in the SERP it was approved by the air district, by CARB, $250,000 were allocated for the implementation of that. Guess what? The Ag commissioners say, I am not going to do it. We have been asking that the Department of Pesticide Regulation, the CalEPA Secretary had, send letters to the commissioner, he responded saying, sue me, I'm not going to do it. And two years after that measure had, was passed, and after having money on the table, we're in an impasse, because apparently, if we don't sue, if the state doesn't sue this guy, nothing is gonna happen.

Rodrigo Alatriste-Diaz

So definitely an example of how the organizational structure of of authority doesn't coincide, right? It makes me think that maybe you had something like the California Ag commissioners that were put at the county level. So that system was in place before DPR. And so you know, it doesn't follow the same kind of chain of command as some of the other EPA office.

Nayamin Martinez

No, this is, yeah, so definitely, I mean, I'm not sure that I have the right, you know, solution for this. But I just do know that there, there has to be a significant change in how, how we have these. this enforcement operations, because it's not functioning for, for our communities.

Rodrigo Alatriste-Diaz

It's not working. Thank you, Nayamin. So this it, we're getting close to the completion of the interview. And I know that you have a lot of experience working with academics and community-based research projects. And building on this wealth of experience, I wanted to ask your advice, and how you envision for these collaborations between academics to work with community?

Nayamin Martinez

Yes, indeed, we have a lot of experience. And I would say this experience of CCEJN working and collaborating with researchers precedes my tenure with the organization. So we have a long term working relation with researchers, especially from UC Davis, because, you know, UC Merced was not even, it didn't exist at the time, right. But definitely the way that I have seen these partnerships been very effective for both the researchers, but also the community, is by engaging in participatory projects, where it's not the researcher, on one hand deciding ‘I'm going to study this,’ but actually bringing both entities to the table, have a dialogue, where residents or else an advocate can say, these are all the things that we have seen, these are all the things that the community have expressed are, you know, threat to their health, but we need your help documenting them. Not that we have not tried, I think one of the uniqueness of CCEJN is that we have tried for many years, and we have done citizen science. So we have trained our residents on how to do air monitoring of pesticides of air, we have done water sampling, the gamut of things. But you know, there's always that like, oh, you know, if you don't get, if you don't have a PhD then that data is not reliable, kind of thing. So what the partnership with universities has given us is, it has given, legitimized the data if you will, and make it you know, stronger and robust and really have been a very important element to advance some of the most critical campaigns that we have been able to, to further, you know, work on. And I have, like a very recent example. For years, we, we knew, I mean, you don't need to have a PhD to know that it's not a good idea to have an oil well next to a house for a variety of reasons from, you know, like we have residents that say that they cannot even put something on their walls because the vibration of the oil rig, that everything will fall. So that's just one thing. But you know, the rotting egg smell, that, the headaches, I mean, we have been documenting with residents, all these problems, health problems, and they have experimented, we have collected, grab samples documenting levels of benzene near homes. But obviously, that's just citizen science. However, recently, the state agency that regulates the oil and gas extraction in California, CalGEM, announced that, it was the governor making the announcement, that the state will adopt a 3200-foot setback between new oil wells, and homes, schools and other sensitive locations. Again, for all of us, it was a no brainer, but they needed to to have more support from the scientists saying, Yes, this is needed to ensure the health of community members. So there was a panel of scientists with researchers from Berkeley and other universities that work for months, and make a, recently, a recommendation to CalGEM saying yes, there's a robust body of scientific evidence linking all kinds of health problems to the proximity of living to these oil wells, or storage tanks from pre-birth, you know, premature birth to having birth problems as a result of mother living through, near an oil well during the pregnancy. Lower IQs, asthma, and all kinds of health problems that were documented. And that, you know, based on that the recommendation was just to have to do this. So I think that although we have been advocating for a setback, I don't know, for a decade, it was a big difference when when there was these scientists recommending that this was actually needed. We're not yet done, because that is a proposed rule. So CalGEM is receiving comments as we speak. And I would encourage everyone that cares about the health of communities to submit your comment, you know, just say, yes, the state needs this. And, you know, but that's, to me, one of the most recent examples that we have, where scientists can really support, why communities of color are being affected by some of these industries. And what can the state or the, you know, authorities do to protect our health.

Rodrigo Alatriste-Diaz

It makes me think of kind of a complementary relationship where you have organizations that do citizen science that are almost the eyes on the ground, right, they're embedded with communities, and so bringing folks in to make that local knowledge known and information, and then…

Nayamin Martinez

And I have another example where we have done that, especially with pesticides. So, again, I mean, it's not rocket science to understand that there’s strain happening when your house is just like 200 feet from a field right. But we have to prove it. So we have been working in collaboration again with UC Davis but also with the state, universities out of our state, Colorado State is one of them. So we have been doing different kinds of sampling from taking dust from the inside the houses to getting urine samples from residents who live that close to the field, to actually giving the residents some backpacks with like, like a pump that was collecting samples.

Rodrigo Alatriste-Diaz

Oh, I was a participant in that study in Tulare County.

Nayamin Martinez

And rig cultures and all kinds of things. Right. That, right now, so the data is collected by the residents, but it then is being analyzed and you know, make it official, if you will, by researchers. So I think that that's the perfect, you know, marriage where you have the two that experience the lived experience of the restaurant with legitimization of the scientists that are, you know, coordinating the work.

Rodrigo Alatriste-Diaz

Nayamin, I want to, I have a follow up question about how these research projects, the ability of them to contribute in the community. And so one of the ways that, that comes to mind, it's about like skill building, right? So when you involve community organizations and residents in the data collection process, from your experience in these projects, do you see that in, in the, in the community members and participants in your organization?

Nayamin Martinez

Definitely. It is, by far a skill-building that then allows them to be alert of other violations. You know, like, not only, and it is not only about, you know, monitoring all that, it's just even other things. A few years ago, we have a citizen science project, funded by EPA, and one of the, one of the trainings that we allowed the participants to receive was the visible emission certification training that normally would only be available for our district staff or for CARB stuff. But we took our cohort and we all received that training. So I also received that.

Rodrigo Alatriste-Diaz

I did as well. I was one of I think the cohort was five people that didn't pass, but everybody else passed and was certified.

Nayamin Martinez

You see? And, and the thing is that, that as a result of that, there was a violation, that one of the participants was able to verify it in Bakersfield. Because they were, but they were doing it at midnight when no inspectors were watching. So based on okay, this is ,this is a positive this is this and this and that. So, they, they, these residents gave them the time when it was happening, and he had a log, and then the air district sent inspectors at that time, and were able to verify it, and fine the company and that stopped. So you know, that's a way of okay, beyond the project, this is knowledge that remains with them and that they can use to make sure that things are going okay in their community. So definitely, we think that all these capacity building opportunities for for residents right now, most recently, we have been working a lot with youth, really are, you know, life changing, you know, in the terms of the youth, even inspiring them to maybe even pursue some of these careers. We recently did an exercise here in Fresno, South Central Fresno, where are our youth, they wanted to do a truck counting exercise outside of the Amazon warehouse. So they're, in the summer, they went and count trucks for two hours, sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the evening. But then they got training from CARB on how to calculate the emissions from those counts. So you know, that's, that's the way of actually ground truthing. You know, they knew that the trucks were polluting, but now they they knew for sure how much pollution was coming of, you know, one hour of trucks.

Rodrigo Alatriste-Diaz

Yeah. In research, you call it primary data, right, because it's it's data that isn't out there and that folks are creating. Nayamin, I left the the last question to the end. This is the, you know, you leave the most difficult questions to the end. I know that you like to run and I wanted to ask, I was curious about what your longest run is and your fastest mile.

Nayamin Martinez

Wow, run, like, like really run? Okay, my longest run, I have run five marathons. So that has been the longest, 26.2. I'm not a fast runner. So my, my fastest marathon was four hours and 13 minutes. And my, I have done a lot of half marathons and my fastest one has been like one hour and 15 minutes or so. My fastest mile could be seven minutes. But that's just one mile.

Rodrigo Alatriste-Diaz

And because you're, like you're a long-distance runner, so the one mile is not as important.

Nayamin Martinez

Exactly. So yes, I love running long distances. It's just I don't like 5-K's. You know, when you’ve got to go fast. I’d rather have a, you know, more like a steady pace, but do long distances.

Rodrigo Alatriste-Diaz

Nayamin, thank you so much for taking the time. Thank you. It was a pleasure.

Nayamin Martinez

Likewise. Thank you, Rodrigo.

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