City of Evanston, Illinois Resolution to Support Environmental Justice
The City Council of Evanston, Illinois adopted a resolution that acknowledges the harm that communities of color have experienced due to environmental injustices, and pledges to support environmental justice through initiatives such as creating a public engagement policy, incorporating environmental justice into City ordinances, policies, and processes, and developing a geographic information system (GIS) inventory of environmental justice areas in Evanston. By addressing the disproportionate impact that the climate crisis has on communities of color, the City of Evanston aims to foster a stronger and more climate resilient city.
The resolution, 72-R-20, stems from an acknowledgement of Evanston’s history of racial injustice and social inequities that have resulted in an unequal distribution of environmental hazards and health risks for the City’s Black, Latinx, and other communities of color. The City of Evanston seeks to combat these inequities by fostering an equitable share of environmental benefits and community assets in all neighborhoods and wards, such as parks, trees, community gardens, and equal access to the City’s investments in infrastructure and the environment. More broadly, this resolution aims overall to foster equity, community engagement, and transparent decision-making, and to promote environmental justice, defined as “when every resident experiences the same degree of access to environmental assets, protection from environmental hazards and health risks, and an opportunity to play an effective role in making decisions that affect the quality of life in this community.”
In order to achieve these environmental justice goals, the resolution calls for the City to:
- incorporate environmental justice into the City’s ordinances, policies, codes, and processes,
- commit decision-makers to engage in more meaningful and inclusive public engagement,
- develop a public engagement policy in consultation with the Equity and Empowerment Commission and community stakeholders, and
- develop and maintain an active GIS-based inventory of environmental justice areas in Evanston, which are defined as regions where there are likely to be disparities in access to environmental assets or exposure to hazards.
This resolution was developed in collaboration with Environmental Evanston, Citizens’ Greener Evanston (CGE), and the City’s Equity and Empowerment Commission and Environment Board. It is the first City Council’s first step towards fulfilling an action of the City’s Climate Action and Resilience Plan (CARP), which called for the adoption of an environmental justice ordinance building upon the work of Environmental Justice Evanston and the Equity and Empowerment Commission.
Publication Date: September 2020
- City of Evanston, Illinois