The fair distribution of environmental benefits and burdens…

Traditional mechanisms used for development have often left low-income, minority communities to deal with environmental harm without having any role in the planning process. Instead of leaving little option but to fight against these issues retroactively, the environmental justice movement emerged to give these communities not only a voice, but to provide an opportunity to actively participate in the processes environmental-justic-tree-scalesthat determine the future of their neighborhoods. Through this movement, stakeholders have a chance to engage in a fair, meaningful way and help to redistribute environmental burden and benefit in a more equitable manner.

Sustainable Long Island is working to raise awareness of the inequities facing our region and engage community members in an open, honest dialogue about potential strategies and solutions to improve upon these disparities.

Sustainable Long Island has researched environmental justice best practices and environmental justice issues that affect Long Island, including our drinking water quality, the health of our estuaries, and related shellfish and fisheries, and the link to food equity, climate change, and brownfields redevelopment. After conducting best practices research into effective models of community-based environmental justice projects, SLI and the Environmental Justice Advisory Committee (comprised of environmental leaders, scientists, health care professionals, community partners, legislators, and community advocates from across Long Island) produced an Environmental Justice Literacy Toolkit for communities to use in planning how to address issues of Environmental Justice locally.

Significant environmental burdens are being placed on LMI communities in the region. In other major cities and suburbs throughout the United States, the knowledge of the problem of Environmental Justice has become a significant movement. On LI, however, the problem remains largely unknown. Thus, in additional to the creation of the committee and the Toolkit, an important initial step in the process was to gather demographic and health related data about the individual communities and create Environmental Community Profiles.

With the development of the Environmental Community Profiles and the Environmental Literacy Toolkit, Sustainable Long Island is sufficiently armed to reach out to LMI communities in which we have relationships with community partners, to create an awareness of the issues facing the communities. This awareness will be followed by the development of campaigns and practical projects to improve the issues and challenges facing the communities, with both short and long term goals.

Environmental Justice Literacy Toolkit