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Prince George's County, Maryland Environmental Justice Commission

April 2019

In 2018, the Maryland General Assembly enacted the Maryland House Bill 183 (HB183) establishing the Environmental Justice Commission to address the environmental and public health concerns in Prince George's County. HB 183 lists the composition of the Commission, outlines the missions and duties of the Commission, mandates a findings and recommendations report along with a plan of action within two years and a month. Enacting the commission to facilitate environmental justice in Prince George's County can help improve inequities of low-income and minority residents in the area impacted by climate change. After the Commission had submitted the first final report in February 2019, the General Assembly further acknowledged the Commission’s work and passed HB 1362 in April 2019 to extend the termination date of the Commission to June 30th, 2020. The final report was submitted on January 10th, 2020.

 

Related Organizations: State of Maryland, Prince George's County, Maryland

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Wells-Goodfellow Neighborhood Green Space Project - St. Louis, Missouri

August 2017

The Green City Coalition (Coalition) -- a partnership between the Metropolitan Sewer District, the City of St. Louis, Missouri Department of Conservation, and the St. Louis Development Corporation -- is leading the conversion of approximately 9 acres of vacant land into greenspace for stormwater management and recreation purposes. The Wells Goodfellow neighborhood in St. Louis has the highest proportion of vacant land in the city, and also struggles with combined sewer overflows, basement backups, and street flooding that affect the Bissell Point Watershed broadly.

Related Organizations: City of St. Louis, Missouri

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Jade District Greening Initiatives - Portland, Oregon

2019

The Jade Greening Initiatives refer to two concurrent initiatives to plan and implement targeted tree planting and greening in the underserved Jade District of outer southeast Portland, Oregon. Residents in the district experience significant economic and health disparities due to historic public disinvestment, its location surrounded by major transportation corridors on all sides, and lack of tree canopy and accessible green space. With assistance from community-based organizations, community members and businesses worked together to set priorities for neighborhood development and greening. Collaboration, planning, and design of new greenspace were supported through the EPA's Greening America's Communities Program and the Oregon Solutions Program.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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LA Green Zones Program: Groundtruthing

2018

The Los Angeles County, California, Department of Regional Planning (DRP) developed the Green Zones Program in 2015, to attain equitable development for the next 20 years, and to help update the Los Angeles County General Plan. Centering on environmental justice and community engagement, the program aimed to ensure that residents of all income levels can enjoy the development of the County under the changing climate and severe heat. The program addressed the contamination problems in the unincorporated communities, and also secured affordable housing to avoid displacement of the existing residents due to development. The Green Zones Program Framework contained four elements: land use policy, community engagement, environmental justice screening map, and prevention and mitigation. "Groundtruthing" was the main procedural tool utilized by the program to collect and study the potential environmental hazards information in the communities. It emphasized the importance of collaboration with community members and community-based organizations. Groundtruthing was not a one-time event, but a continuing effort between the government and the local communities. 

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Citizen Science: Mapping Urban Heat Islands in Richmond, Virginia

The urban heat island mapping project in Richmond, Virginia is a collaborative project that brings community members together to collect temperature variation data in order to design community-scale adaptation plans. Richmond is a highly populated city that has encountered increased urban heat island effect in recent years. While current technology such as satellites can provide city-scale urban heat data, a more detailed, block-by-block examination of temperature variation in each community has to be studied to understand which communities are most vulnerable to the extreme heat. "Citizen-scientists" were gathered to help measure temperatures in their own city, and related human activities or land use. The citizen-scientists included students from the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University; the Virginia Academy of Science; the City of Richmond’s Sustainability Office; and Groundwork RVA, a nonprofit focused on empowering local young people in the communities.  

Related Organizations: City of Richmond, Virginia, Groundwork RVA

Resource Category: Monitoring and Reporting

 

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Minneapolis Resolution Establishing "Green Zones"

April 28, 2017

On April 28 2017, the Minneapolis City Council approved a final Resolution establishing a Green Zones policy to facilitate community-led planning in socioeconomically vulnerable neighborhoods in Minneapolis, Minnesota with the goal of prioritizing city initiatives to combat a range of resiliency challenges. Within Green Zones pilot areas, city officials will work with the community to develop work plans, focused on specific neighborhoods, that will be designed to prioritize initiatives and link city policies on economic development, gentrification, racial equity, and climate resiliency, to achieve an equitable distribution of resources.

Related Organizations: City of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Our Power Puerto Rico: Moving Toward a Just Recovery

2019

The Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) Our Power Puerto Rico report demonstrates how the "Just Recovery" model can be utilized to help the island recover from Hurricane Maria of 2017, which devastated Puerto Rico’s agriculture and rural farms. Just Recovery is a model centered on frontline communities' ability to respond, recover and rebuild from climate accelerated disasters. The model is created through the accumulation of hands-on cases conducted by Climate Justice Alliance which is an organization with 67 urban and rural frontline communities, organizations and supporting networks. The goal is to lay the groundwork necessary to activate community participation in both immediate emergency responses and long-term rebuilds. It also emphasizes that the process must be led by those who have been treated unequally in everyday life - the queer, trans, working-class, folks of color, disabled, immigrants, and/or femmes on the frontlines. By doing so allows frontline communities to build their own power, agency and self-determination while achieving climate adaptation. The report also includes a list of practical steps for conducting the Just Recovery model. 

Related Organizations: Climate Justice Alliance

Resource Category: Education and Outreach

 

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The Texas Title Project

2013

The Texas Title Project was a two-year program that began in 2013 after Hurricanes Dolly and Ike devastated Texas, and critically impacted lower-income communities. The purpose of the program was to help low-income families whose homes were destroyed during the hurricanes to acquire clear title to their property so that they could be eligible for government funding. In clearing any issues relating to these titles, homeowners then became eligible for federal government rebuilding assistance. The project's threefold mission was to: clear titles for those homeowners and families that participated in the program; develop a general model for providing these types of legal services that could be implemented in the future, when another disaster occurred; and to study the barriers that existed that prevented low-income homeowners from having a clear title, especially in areas that are disproportionately affected by disasters. In the two years it was operational, the Texas Title Project provided services for more than 350 families seeking disaster recovery assistance in East Texas and the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

Related Organizations: University of Texas, Austin, Texas General Land Office

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Maryland Resiliency Hub Grant Program

November 1, 2018

The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) created a $5 million Resiliency Hub Grant Program to provide funding in 2019 for the construction of community Resiliency Hubs with solar power and battery storage. The program provides funding to microgrid developers to offset some of the costs to build a Resiliency Hub in high-density, low- and moderate-income neighborhoods in Maryland. The program defines “Resiliency Hubs” as community facilities “designed to provide emergency heating and cooling capability, refrigeration of temperature sensitive medications and milk from nursing mothers, plug power for charging of cell phone and computer batteries, as well as emergency lighting.

Resource Category: Funding

 

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Resilient Boston: An Equitable and Connected City

July 13, 2017

The Resilient Boston plan focuses on racial equity, social cohesion and resilience strategies for Boston, Massachusetts. The report outlines visions, goals and actions that support climate change adaptation measures and solutions targeting the most vulnerable residents in the city. Resilient Boston is part of the city’s participation in the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities initiative. 

Related Organizations: City of Boston, Massachusetts, 100 Resilient Cities

Resource Category: Planning

 

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