Join us in welcoming our new Water Justice Specialist, Danielle Garcia, who started with Bayou City Waterkeeper last month.
What is your subwatershed?
My subwatershed is the White Oak Bayou.
Tell us about your background.
I am from the central Texas region near Killeen/Fort Hood. The landscape of central Texas was my first inspiration in pursuing a path in the environmental field.
I also grew up living near a military base. The military operations and training exercises caused constant exposure to noise pollution, which contributed to my desire to pursue environmental justice. Noise pollution has significant health impacts and disproportionately affects nonwhite communities.
Recently, I graduated with a graduate degree in urban planning and environmental policy from Texas Southern University. My undergraduate degree is in geography and environmental sustainability at the University of Texas at San Antonio. My research interests are related to environmental and sustainable land use planning and using geographic analysis to address inequities.
What part of your job do you think you will nerd out about?
I am committed to using my voice to advance environmental justice, environmental policy, and sustainable development toward a more just and equitable community. I nerd out about urban and regional planning and related tools including SPSS statistical analysis and GIS analysis.
Framing diverse community voices in urban planning is also important to me. I believe we have to approach planning from an intersectional lens. I also am excited to engage our community and build new relationships to support community needs around water injustices in our region.
How do you think your work as the Water Justice Specialist will impact our community?
Our community needs more toolkits, analysis, research, and mapping that illustrate water injustices. I look forward to working alongside community members and our team at Bayou City Waterkeeper to collaboratively develop the tools needed to tell the stories about water inequities in our city. Hopefully, my work will deepen community members’ understanding of various water injustices, spark action, and create solutions.
Why is Houston special?
Houston is special because of our incredible diversity. Houston is also a city on the frontline of climate change. There is so much we can learn at this moment in our city, as we battle more intense hurricanes and flooding. I believe environmental planning is an important tool to identify solutions for our city and fight for our most vulnerable communities.