Marybelle Nzegwu Tobias

For over a decade, I’ve advocated for environmental and climate justice on behalf of marginalized and over-burdened communities across the country. I’ve worked hand-in-hand with members of under-served communities to combat environmental disparities and secure meaningful investments. I’m experienced in environmental and civil rights litigation, environmental justice advocacy, coalition leadership, program development, and project management.


Graduate of U.C. San Diego (Political Science, B.A.) and U.C. Hastings College of the Law (J.D.)

Staff Attorney and Co-Director of the Civil Rights Project at the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment. Led civil rights work alongside mentor, CRPE co-founder and former Executive Director, Luke W. Cole (who tragically lost his life in 2009). Successfully increased environmental protections for community groups across the country. Represented California’s environmental justice community in a groundbreaking climate justice lawsuit that helped usher in an era of renewed commitment to environmental and climate justice in California. Wrote “friend-of-the court” brief that Ninth Circuit Judge Tashima called “helpful” in holding that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had unlawfully delayed in resolving Title VI civil rights complaints.

Faculty of the International University College of Torino in Italy. Taught environmental justice to international students earning master’s degrees in law and economics.

Adjunct professor of environmental justice at U.C. Berkeley School of Law.

Staff Attorney at Public Advocates. Co-led the 6 Wins Coalition, the 9-county Bay Area region’s climate justice coalition and the California Climate Equity Coalition (formerly the SB 535 Coalition) a statewide coalition with over 200 active members, winning significant climate justice policy victories.

Speaking to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments on behalf of the 6 Wins Coalition

Helped lead the vanguard on California’s Climate Investment program, working with the UCLA Luskin Center, other academics,  nonprofits, community advocates and state agency administrators. Instrumental in unifying the advocacy of several coalitions, and developing principles and frameworks for robust investment guidelines that address the needs of disadvantaged communities. The campaign has resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars going to climate projects that benefit disadvantaged communities, including affordable housing in transit-oriented development, clean transportation, increased mass transit, clean freight and urban forestry.

Manuel Pastor (USC, Program for Environmental & Regional Equity) & Marybelle Nzegwu Tobias at the UCLA Luskin Center Climate Investments Conference