Over 3 days in August, hundreds gathered virtually and in person for action-oriented sessions on diverse environmental and climate justice topics at the eighth UMD Environmental Justice and Health Disparities Symposium organized by the Community Engagement, Environmental Justice and Health lab. In the context of major investments in EJ, including from the Justice40 initiative and the Inflation Reduction Act, participants focused on how to make the most of the moment to advance environmental health and racial justice, while also drawing inspiration from past struggles such as the fight against the Warren County, North Carolina PCB landfill led by Benjamin Chavis and others in 1978 who shared reflections in the August 13 opening panel. The event showcased more than 50 sessions and 200 speakers who came together across sectors, from academia to community organizing, business to the public sector. This year’s symposium’s theme was “Energy vs Power: Visions for the Future,” highlighting energy justice, climate change, power dynamics in environmental justice, and the use of technology in environmental justice work.
View select sessions featuring critical topics including Justice40, mapping environmental exposures, legislative initiatives, just energy transitions, corporate action on environmental justice and much more! To access all recordings, please visit the CEEJH YouTube page.
View a photo gallery from August 13, 2022 here.
ENERGY VS POWER: VISIONS FOR THE FUTURE
Dr. Jalonne White-Newsome, Senior Director for Environmental Justice, Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), will give a keynote speech on the theme of the 8 th Annual EJ and Health Disparities Symposium. She will share her views on issues of energy equity and justice, the role of CEQ in helping to advance environmental justice, provide a progress report on CEQ’s implementation of the Justice 40 Initiative, and discuss her visions for the future and share her thoughts about our collective vision for a just and equitable clean energy future.
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AND HEALTH: THE TIME IS NOW
Dr. Sharunda Buchanan, Interim Director, Office of Environmental Justice and Senior Advisor, Climate Change and Health Equity, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will give a keynote speech on the connection between environmental justice and public health. She will discuss her experience working on these intertwined topics. She will then describe the new Office of Environmental Justice within HHS, the role of the Office in HHS, and how the Office and HHS can play a bigger role in addressing environmental injustice and environmental health disparities. She will discuss why the time is now for the field of public health to have a bigger role in the Environmental, Climate, and Energy Justice Movements.
THE UNITED STATES EPA AND THE JUSTICE40 INITIATIVE
- Daniel Blackman, Regional Administrator, Region IV, US Environmental Protection Agency
- Lisa Garcia, Regional Administrator, Region II, US Environmental Protection Agency
- Matthew Tejada, Director, Office of Environmental Justice, US Environmental Protection Agency Earthea Nance, Regional Administrator, Region VI, US Environmental Protection Agency
- Adam Ortiz, Regional Administrator, Region III, US Environmental Protection Agency
- Sacoby Wilson, Director, CEEJH and Professor, UMD School of Public Health (Moderator)
During his first days in office, President Biden signed Executive Order (EO) 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad that created a government-wide Justice40 Initiative with the goal of delivering 40 percent of the overall benefits of relevant federal investments to disadvantaged communities, and tracking performance toward that goal through the establishment of an Environmental Justice Scorecard. The order initiates the development of a Climate and Environmental Justice Screening Tool, building off EPA’s EJSCREEN, to identify disadvantaged communities, support the Justice40 Initiative, and inform equitable decision making across the federal government. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) is viewed as the bellwether for Justice40 implementation because of its long history of supporting environmental justice initiatives and the work of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC). Additionally, with a greater focus on environmental justice in the new strategic plan, the US EPA is primed to act as a leading federal agency in the implementation of this groundbreaking Initiative.
In this session, Regional Administrators from US EPA Regions II, III, IV, and VI, and the Director of EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) will describe their plans for implementing the Justice40 Initiative. The regional administrators and the OEJ director will discuss their priority communities and projects that will benefit from the Justice40 Initiative. They will discuss how they are implementing Justice40 through EPA statutes, programs, and initiatives including the brownfields program, Clean Air Act program, the Superfund program, diesel emissions reduction, and water revolving fund to name a few. They will describe how they are integrating stakeholder engagement and feedback in their Justice40 efforts particularly feedback from communities in their regions known to experience the cumulative impacts of environmental, climate, and energy injustices. The panelists will also share updates on successes, impacts, and challenges related to their implementation of the Justice40 Initiative. Additionally, the panelists will share future plans to make sure investments get to frontline and fenceline communities in their regions or that their offices serve. Finally, these leaders will discuss strategies that have or plan to employ to ensure that there is accountability through the tracking of robust performance metrics and that their efforts can be scaled and replicated throughout their regions and other parts of the country.
CORPORATE ACTION ON ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AND CLIMATE CHANGE
- Andres Jimenez, Executive Director, Green 2.0
- Brent Harris, Vice President, Governance, Meta
- Adrienne Hollis, Vice President, Environmental Justice, Health, and Community Revitalization, National Wildlife Federation
- Erik Antokal, Manager, Workforce Development, Orsted
- Jamal Watkins, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Advancement, NAACP
- Sacoby Wilson, Director, CEEJH and Professor, UMD School of Public Health (Moderator)
Carbon Majors, one of the most comprehensive dataset of historic company greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, recently published a report which focuses on fossil fuel producers, and highlights the role companies and their investors could play in tackling climate change. The report found that more than half of global industrial emissions since 1988 – the year the IPCC was established – can be traced to just 25 corporate and state-owned entities. According to the US EPA, 24% of greenhouse gas emissions comes from industry and additional greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to transportation, agricultural, and the commercial sector. This means that the activity of corporations is a major driver of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change and other emissions that lead to climate and environmental injustice and health disparities. These corporations should have a greater sense of responsibility when it comes to addressing climate change and environmental justice issues. This applies not only to changing their missions and investments, but also making changes in their leadership and workforce to help society transition to a just and clean energy economy. Due to shareholder and board pressure, many of these companies have started to alter their business models to move from dirty energy to clean energy. No longer is business as usual, actually good business, not good for the planet or public health. But there is hope for positive change.
In this session, a diverse group of panelists representing large corporations and non-profit organizations, will discuss corporate responsibility and actions that should be taken on climate change and environmental justice. Corporate representatives will discuss their company’s efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, thoughts on greenwashing, current programs, lessons learned as well as challenges they have faced. In addition, panelists will discuss the roles and responsibilities of social media platforms in advancing environmental and climate justice and some examples of successful programs in that space. Panelists will also reflect on diversity and inclusion (DEI) in the corporate sector and why it’s important to implement DEI principles to ensure a just transition to clean energy. Additionally, panelists will provide their thoughts on the ESG framework, its pitfalls, successes and roadblocks to implementation. Attendees will learn about a successful case of clean energy transition, and some lessons learned, motivations, benefits and challenges. Finally, the panelists will discuss what role if any should corporations play in the implementation of the Justice40 Initiative. They will share insight on how corporations can contribute in a positive way in supporting a just economy for frontline and fenceline communities who suffer from dirty energy infrastructure, climate change, and environmental injustice and related health impacts.
BUILDING COMMUNITY POWER TO ADVANCE CLIMATE JUSTICE, EQUITY, AND HEALTH
- Taren Evans, Environmental Justice Director, Coalition of Communities of Color (CCC)
- Carolina Martinez, Climate Justice Director, Environmental Health Coalition
- Samantha Hamilton, Manager, Live Well Springfield, Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts
- Ash-lee Woodard Henderson, Co-Executive Director, Highlander Education and Research Center (Moderator)
The Kresge Foundation is a private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and social investing in various sectors including health, the environment, and climate change. In early 2019, the Climate Change, Health and Equity (CCHE) division was launched to mobilize equitable climate action, improve climate resiliency of healthcare institutions, and address the climate justice needs of low-income communities in America's cities. The CCHE initiative includes three strategies that are designed to reinforce each other. These three strategies include: (1) Building the capacity of health institutions, (2) Transforming public health and health practice and (3) Strengthening community-based leadership. Through years of collaboration at the intersection of climate change, health, and equity, Kresge's Environment and Health programs have partnered in accelerating climate action and reducing health disparities. These investments grow from and reinforce the belief that climate change is a threat multiplier that affects everything in our lives.
During this session, representatives from the LiveWell Springfield Coalition of the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts (PHIWM), Coalition of Communities of Color’s Environmental Justice, and the Environmental Health Coalition will discuss their participation in the CCHE initiative. They will discuss how they have applied an equity and justice lens to their work including how they have addressed the role of structural and environmental racism in creating differential climate impacts. In addition, they will describe how they have promoted health equity and integrated social determinants of health into their climate action plans, sustainability efforts, policymaking processes, and systems change work. They will share the successes and impacts of peer learning activities, technical assistance, evaluation, and communications support in the development and implementation of their CCHE project. Finally, they will discuss challenges, lessons learned and best practices that can be instructive for peer agencies and grassroot organizations working to address climate injustice and advance health equity in other parts of the country.
FUNDING THE ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE MOVEMENT
- Robert Bullard, Director, Robert D. Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice, Professor, Urban Planning and Environmental Policy, Texas Southern University and Member, White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC)
- Beverly Wright, Executive Director, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice and Member, White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC)
- Peggy Shepard, Co-Founder, Executive Director, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, and Member, White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC)
- Sacoby Wilson, Director, CEEJH and Professor, UMD School of Public Health (Moderator)
For decades, communities impacted by environmental injustices, grassroots organizations that represent them, and other partners who provided research and other technical support to them struggled to secure resources to help address these issues. From limited and inconsistent funding from federal agencies to a lack of any funding from foundations except for a select few, the environmental justice movement was severely underfunded compared to other social movements. Now, after years of pressure on philanthropy, progressive action from organizations like the Donors of Color Network, expansion of work from foundations like the Kresge Foundation and Packard in the climate justice space, and a huge shift in funding from
Bezos Earth Fund, there are more dollars available for activists and advocates to their work. Coupled with the Biden Administration’s commitment to address climate change and environmental justice through mandates such as the Justice40 Initiative and recent legislation like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, historic amounts of money are available to address environmental, climate, and energy injustices. But is this enough? Are the structures in place to make sure that the environmental racism that led to these injustices does not lead to additional problems for frontline and fenceline communities like funding inequities and climate redlining.
In this session, three environmental justice icons will the change in the funding landscape for the environmental justice movement. They will discuss the impact of the Bezos Earth Fund, Google Environmental Justice Fund, and funding initiatives from other philanthropic groups on climate change and environmental justice. They will describe the opportunities with these new funding initiatives, challenges, and gaps. In addition, they will discuss Justice40 implementation, how to make sure that it is properly funded and how to ensure that EJ communities receive at least 40 percent of the benefits. They will also provide their perspectives on the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill and the Inflation Reduction Act. Do they see these as groundbreaking opportunities or just small steps forward for frontline and fenceline communities. They will discuss challenges in making sure that these dollars get to frontline and fenceline communities. Furthermore, the panelists will discuss the role of corporations, accelerators, and pass through organizations in providing resource support for advocates and activists working on environmental, climate, and energy justice issues. Finally, they will share their visions for the future landscape of funding for the environmental justice movement.
OLD ENERGY VS NEW ENERGY: ENSURING JUST ENERGY TRANSITIONS
- Leticia Colon de Mejias, Founder and CEO, Energy Efficiencies Solutions (EES), and US EPA National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC)
- Jose Bravo, Executive Director, Just Transition Alliance
- Yinka Bode-George, Senior Manager, Environmental Justice and Community Impact, Volt Energy
- Saniya LeBlanc, Associate Professor, George Washington University
- Colette Pichon-Battle, Founder and Executive Director, Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy
- Sacoby Wilson, Director, CEEJH and Professor, UMD School of Public Health
Low-wealth communities, communities of color, under-resourced communities, and those in vulnerable life stages are disproportionately impacted by a number of energy-related stressors that contribute to their overall health burden. The pace and trajectories of current energy transitions, while instrumental towards mitigating climate change-induced effects and greenhouse gas emissions, have provided challenges to reducing the inequities prevalent in current energy and transportation systems. The sole majority of the world’s economy is rooted in fossil fuels. Whether that be oil, natural gas, coal or nuclear energy, there has been limited progress in any form of energy transition. Energy transitions have co-benefits, such as improved air quality and heat stress reduction, and could provide multi-faceted public health benefits to communities.
In this panel discussion, speakers will detail the importance of a shift from dirty fossil fuels to clean energy in our society. They will share their
experiences in pushing for a just transition from old energy sources to new energy sources including wind, solar, and geothermal. They will also discuss the need to prioritize environmental and energy justice principles to ensure that frontline and fenceline communities that have been differentially impacted by the life cycle of dirty energy infrastructure receive benefits from technological advancements in the clean energy sector at the household level, neighborhood level, and opportunities for employment and economic opportunity in the clean energy sector. They will discuss strategies, solutions, and policies that should be implemented and scaled to ensure a just transition for communities experiencing energy injustices.
LEGISLATIVE EFFORTS TO ADVANCE ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AT THE FEDERAL AND STATE LEVEL
- David Fraser-Hidalgo, Representative, and Chair, Maryland Legislative Latino Caucus
- Lorig Charkoudian, Delegate, District 20, State of Maryland
- Larry Lambert, Representative, District 7, State of Delaware
- Stephanie Maddin Smith, Delegate, District 45, State of Maryland
- Paul Pinsky, Senator, State of Maryland
- Faith Taylor, PhD Student, School of the Environment, Yale University (Moderator)
Across the United States, many communities of color, low-income communities, immigrant communities, and indigenous communities experience environmental, climate, and energy injustices due to structural racism, extractive capitalism, segregation, poor regulatory enforcement, and other factors. Recently, federal legislators have recognized the importance of developing and advocating for new legislation to address these injustices. Representatives McEachin and Grijalva, and Senator Booker have sponsored versions of the EJ for All Act, an Act if passed would codify Executive Order 12898 and serve as a blueprint for reversing, and preventing further environmental racism in communities of color, low-income communities, or tribal and indigenous communities. Representative McEachin introduced the Technology Assessment for Air Quality Management Act to improve air quality nationwide by updating and implementing the best available technologies and data in the Technology Assessment for Air Quality Management Act. The recently announced Inflation Reduction Act includes nearly $400 billion dollars to help with climate change, the country’s clean energy transition, and environmental injustice. Additionally, states across the country including California, Washington, Illinois, and New York have passed progressive climate change legislation. In 2022, Maryland passed the Climate Solutions Now Act, one of the most progressive bills in the country focused on greenhouse gas emissions reduction and addressing climate justice issues.
In this session, legislators from Maryland and Delaware and US Congress will discuss their legislative efforts to address environmental, climate, and energy justice issues including successes, challenges, and lessons learned. Legislators from Maryland will discuss their efforts to pass legislation that can help address environmental, climate, and energy justice issues including the Climate Solutions Now Act, Clean Cars Act, Maryland Justice40 bill, and other related bills. All panelists will discuss President Biden’s Justice 40 Initiative and how they are developing legislation to increase the positive impact of this Initiative for disadvantaged communities. Federal legislators will discuss the importance of the EJ for All Act as a mechanism for implementing the Justice40 Initiative. Additionally, Delegate Lambert will detail his work to implement a Justice40 Initiative in the state of Delaware. Furthermore, all panelists will discuss how the recently passed Infrastructure bill and recently proposed Inflation Reduction Act can help address environmental, climate, and energy justice issues. The panelists will discuss the importance of states across the country including those in the Mid-Atlantic region replicating federal efforts like the EJ for All Act and the Inflation Reduction Act to help avoid federal pitfalls and ensure the sustainability of proposed measures found in federal legislation. Finally, the session will also allow for frontline and fenceline communities to connect with the panelists to discuss their environmental justice concerns and legislative priorities.
COMMUNITY-ENGAGED RESEARCH ON ENVIRONMENTAL, CLIMATE, AND ENERGY JUSTICE ISSUES
- Ora Marek-Martinez, Executive Director, Native American Cultural Center, Northern Arizona University
- Na’Taki Osborne, Co-Founder, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, and US EPA National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC)
- Jill Johnston, Associate Professor, Division of Environmental Health, University of Southern California
- Grace Tee Lewis, Environmental Epidemiologist, Environmental Defense Fund
- Jose Acosta Cordova, Environmental Planning and Research Organizer, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO)
- Raj Pandya, Vice President, Thriving Earth Exchange, American Geophysical Union
- Margot Brown, Vice President, Environmental Justice and Equity Initiatives, Environmental Defense Fund (Moderator)
Community-engaged research has been used to understand the impact of environmental justice issues- from urban air pollution, water contamination, transportation inequity, energy injustice, to climate-related disparities on the health and quality of life on communities of color, under resourced populations, and groups that have been historically marginalized in the United States. The community-engaged research continuum includes community-based participatory research (CBPR) and community-driven research that leverages community science principles. These approaches emphasize that impacted residents should be engaged in all stages of the research process while highlighting the value of community and cultural knowledge systems in the research enterprise.
Community-engaged research, if meaningful and authentic, can build trust and tend to power inequities, and lead to action, solutions, and positive social change. In this session, we will hear from a panelist on their community-engaged work on environmental and climate issues facing Native and Indigenous communities in Arizona. We will also hear about the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance’s community-engaged efforts to preserve green space from development and fight for water justice in Southwest Atlanta and fight for water justice. Furthermore, we will hear from Jill Johnson and Grace Tee Lewis on their partnership work with communities impacted by oil and gas infrastructure, air pollution and other hazards in California and Houston, Texas. Additionally, Raj Pandya will describe how the Thriving Earth Exchange is working to build community-scientist partnerships to support environmental justice work around the country. Jose Cordova from the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) will detail community-driven research efforts that led to EJ victories in Chicago. Finally, each panelist will share lessons learned, best practices, and strategies that others can employ to ensure that their community-engaged research is transformative and impactful for communities impacted by environmental, climate, and energy injustices.
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AND LIBERATION SCIENCE
- Nathalie Hernandez Barahona, Organizer, Yuma County Abolition (YCA)
- Karla Sanchez, Organizer, Yuma County Abolition (YCA)
- Kendra Krueger, STEM Outreach and Education Manager, City University of New York’s (CUNY) Advanced Science Research Center, Founder, Community Sensor Lab
- Jessica Hernandez, Founder, Piña Soul
- Jorge Moreno, People of the Global Majority in the Outdoors, Nature, & the Environment (PGM ONE)
- Luz Guel, Director, Community Engagement and Environmental Justice, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine (Moderator)
Liberation Science challenges the traditional anti-Black, imperialistic, capitalistic, patriarchal, and White supremacist approaches to science in order to solve environmental, climate, and energy injustices. This commitment is central to the need to expose and understand how systems of domination inform our current environmental, climate, and energy justice struggles and thus, develop alternative paths of resistance rooted in liberation. “Liberation” is a daily practice and a commitment to the radical transformation of ourselves, our community, structures, systems, and to justice and love. The panelists for this session are environmental justice activists, facilitators, scientists, and mutual aid organizers. They will share approaches, strategies, stories, perspectives, and visions for how we can organize within and outside of academia to address the root causes of environmental, climate, and energy injustices and build toward collective liberation. They will discuss lessons learned and best practices that can be implemented and scaled to transform the research enterprise, so it is more applied, community-driven, justice-focused, and action oriented.
REMEMBERING THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE WARREN COUNTY PCB LANDFILL FIGHT
- Benjamin Chavis, Jr., President, National Newspaper Publishers Association, Civil Rights Leader
- Dollie Burwell, Community Activist, "Mother of Environmental Justice"
- Charles Lee, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Environmental Justice, US Environmental Protection Agency
- Sacoby Wilson, Director, CEEJH and Professor, UMD School of Public Health
The birth of the environmental justice movement began with a fight against a PCB landfill being sited in Afton, North Carolina, a small, rural, poor, primarily Black community in Warren County, North Carolina. A group of residents formed the Warren County Citizens Concerned (WCCC) to protest the state’s decision to site a landfill in their county for the disposal of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a toxic chemical substance whose production was banned by congress in 1979. Residents like Dollie Burwell, and the Rev. Leon White, and civil rights leaders like the Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Jr., with the UCC’s Commission for Racial Justice, were major figures in the protest that would transform a community and ignite the environmental justice movement.
With the upcoming 40th Anniversary of the protest in September 2022, we use this session as an opportunity to celebrate this groundbreaking event and leaders who started the contemporary environmental justice movement. The panelists will discuss their role in the protest and impacts on Warren County then and 40 years later. In addition, the panelists will share their thoughts about how the environmental justice movement has
grown and the ripples of the protest in today’s environmental justice movement. The panelists will share their hopes and dreams for the movement and share a call to action with the next generation of environmental justice activists and advocates.
11TH ANNUAL CEEJH LECTURE AND KEYNOTE ADDRESS: BUILDING COMMUNITY POWER TO ENERGIZE THE ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE MOVEMENT
12:30PM - 1:15PM
Speaker: Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr, President and CEO, Hip Hop Caucus
In this 11th Annual CEEJH lecture, Reverend Yearwood will discuss how we can build, tap into, and expand the power of communities impacted by environmental injustices. He will provide examples through his work with the Hip Hop Caucus. He will share strategies, lessons, and best practices for energizing populations who live in frontline and fenceline communities impacted by environmental racism and structural poverty. He will describe his vision for energizing and revolutionizing the Environmental Justice Movement by engaging diverse stakeholders, leveraging cultural influencers, and tapping into sectors who have traditionally not been participatory as positive contributors to the efforts of activists and advocates to advance environmental justice.
WE NEED MORE POWER: OPPORTUNITIES FOR EQUITY IN ACCESS TO CLEAN ENERGY (GRAND BALLROOM)
- Tom Cormons, Executive Director, Appalachian Voices, and White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC)
- Paula Glover, President, Alliance to Save Energy
- Mustafa Santiago Ali, Executive Vice President, National Wildlife Federation
- Gilbert Campbell, Co-Founder, Volt Energy
- Sacoby Wilson, Director, CEEJH and Professor, UMD School of Public Health
Historically disadvantaged communities are often overburdened by petroleum, natural gas, and coal based energy production on top of numerous other environmental hazards and stressors. A just transition towards clean renewable energy provides a unique opportunity to promote environmental justice and build equity in these communities in a variety of ways. But there are concerns about what safeguards are in place to make clean energy equitable and accessible, as well how communities impacted by the transition away from dirty energy sources would see benefits or incentives. Additionally, without a focus on building the power of those groups who tend to experience more energy injustices including communities of color, low-income communities, indigenous and tribal communities, can we truly have a just and equitable clean energy future?
These issues, concerns, and calls for action are central to the work of Appalachian Voices, Alliance to Save Energy, the National Wildlife Federation, and Volt Energy. All of these organizations will be represented on the panel for this session. In this panel discussion, speakers will share their experiences in pushing for energy equity and a just transition from old energy sources to new energy sources including wind, solar, and geothermal and infrastructure in the Mid-Atlantic region. They will also discuss the need to prioritize environmental and energy justice principles to ensure that voices of frontline and fenceline communities that have been differentially impacted by the life cycle of dirty energy are heard in the transition to clean and renewable energy and shift to more energy efficient technologies. They will discuss their work to help impacted residents to secure employment and economic opportunity in the clean energy sector through a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. We will tap into the panelists’ expertise working with coalitions of stakeholders to find lasting, consensus-based solutions to create opportunities for energy equity and justice. Finally, panelists will share their visions for a just and equitable clean energy future for the Mid-Atlantic region and how the Infrastructure bill, Justice40, and the Inflation Reduction Act can help make their visions a reality.
CHEVERLY AIR QUALITY MONITORING PROJECT: A COMMUNITY-UNIVERSITY-GOVERNMENT PARTNERSHIP
- Vivek Ravichandran, CEEJH and PhD Student, Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health
- Tad Aburn, Director, Maryland Department of the Environment’s (MDE) Air & Radiation Administration (ARA)
- Jolene Ivy, Councilwoman, Prince George’s County, Vice-Chair, Health, Human Services, and Public Safety Committee
- Karen Moe, Air Quality Monitoring Liaison, University of Maryland School of Public Health, Member, Cheverly Green Infrastructure Committee
- Crystal Upperman, Senior Manager, Deloitte (Moderator)
The Town of Cheverly is located within the Capital Beltway and hosts several sources of air pollution including metal and e-waste recycling facilities, concrete block plants, and a confluence of heavily trafficked roads. Seventy-five percent of the population includes people of color, 25% of the population are listed as low-income, and 14% of the population have less than a high school education which were higher compared to state averages. CEEJH established a community-university-government partnership with the Town of Cheverly and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to develop a low-cost real-time air quality monitoring network to measure particulate matter near sources of concern in the community.
In this session, panelists will describe the community-university-government partnership. They will discuss how the community-based participatory research (CBPR) framework and citizen science (CS) principles were used to build relationships, trust, and collaborative decision-making between the Town of Cheverly, CEEJH, and MDE. In addition, panelists will discuss the development of a community advisory board (CAB), community-based air quality monitoring plan, quality assurance performance plan (QAPP), and MOUs to help facilitate the development of the hyperlocal air quality monitoring network and maintenance of the network to produce actionable data that could be used to inform health and policy interventions. MDE will discuss its targeted inspection initiative in and around Cheverly that supplemented the air quality monitoring efforts. The team will also discuss challenges, limitations, lessons learned and best practices and sustainability efforts.
SOCIAL IMPACT ENTREPRENEURSHIP WITH META AND ENVOLVE (PRINCE GEORGE’S)
- Marcellis Counts, Founder, Apiary in the Sky
- Joe James, Founder and President, Agri-tech productions
- Christopher Upperman, Head, Governance Partnerships, Meta
- Angeline Apostolou, Acting Executive Director, Envolve Entrepreneurship (Moderator)
Many communities of color and low wealth areas are experiencing environmental, climate, and energy injustice due to segregation, inequities in planning and zoning, and disinvestment. Many urban centers, once known as "legacy cities" were booming centers of commerce, only to have been exploited, polluted, and neglected. It is critical for businesses to create solutions to environmental, climate, and energy injustices and embrace green business practices without overburdening already under resourced communities. Social entrepreneurs are developing novel businesses to tackle community-based problems and social issues like environmental justice. It is important that business incubators support green businesses run by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) entrepreneurs from communities experiencing environmental injustices. In this session, panelists will discuss a new partnership between CEEJH, Meta, and Envolve to support social impact entrepreneurship. As part of this social impact entrepreneurship program, CEEJH is funding cohorts of founders who will establish green businesses that will help provide tech-related solutions to environmental, climate, and energy injustices that overburdened and underserved communities are experiencing in the DC area and Mid-Atlantic. In this session, the Founders of Apiary in the Sky, Loop Closing, and Agri-Tech Productions will discuss their individual experiences with environmental (in)justice, the issues that they are seeking to address through social impact entrepreneurship, and the technologies and business models they have created in attempting to address these issues. The panelist from Meta will discuss the importance of this work in advancing environmental justice in frontline and fenceline communities and describe how Meta is supporting founders as they launch their businesses as models of innovation, entrepreneurship, and environmental justice solutions.