The National Wildlife Federation

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National Wildlife Federation Launches Environmental Justice Partnership with NOAA, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Coastal States

WASHINGTON D.C. — The National Wildlife Federation through its urban initiatives and environmental justice program launched a new partnership today with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office for Coastal Management Southeast and Caribbean Team to create the Southeast and Caribbean Environmental Justice Community of Practice.

The Community of Practice, provides a forum for individuals from frontline communities, local, state, and federal governments, academia, the private sector, faith and nonprofit organizations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and the Caribbean. Participants center environmental justice, climate science and solutions to the needs of coastal communities and ecosystem challenges exacerbated by climate change.

The Community of Practice participants address federal, state and local policy solutions, community-based discoveries and best practices related to environmental justice, mitigation, and adaptation. They share education and opportunities to increase awareness, coordinate communication related to climate change and influence public policy.

“During these challenging times, our environment, public health and human life, require an all-hands-on-deck approach to re-envision and renew our national environmental justice commitment to community-based solutions, steeped in science, data, stats and facts,” said Simone Lightfoot, national director of urban initiatives and environmental justice for the National Wildlife Federation. “It’s also essential that our efforts honor the existing work, lived experience and expertise of frontline communities as we help strengthen and expedite connections to conservation, federal and environmental justice resources.”

“The thoughtfulness, intentionality, and intersectionality of this Community of Practice is unique, timely, and purposeful”, said Birmingham, Ala. participant, David Russell, managing director of Synergy Consulting, LLC.

“Given the impacts of climate change and potential environmental justice ramifications faced by frontline communities, our mission is to provide a safe space for partnering and pooling expertise, imagination, policy solutions and opportunities for adaptation, readiness, and inquiry — all needed to protect our communities. It is critical that we focus on stakeholders that need this capacity the most.At the same time, where appropriate, we include federal, state, NGO, academic, and other stakeholders to ensure that all perspectives are included,” said Makeda Okolo, Southeast and Caribbean Regional Lead for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office for Coastal Management.

The National Wildlife Federation is the United States' largest private, nonprofit conservation education and advocacy organization, with more than 6 million members and supporters, and 52 state and territorial affiliated organizations, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is housed within the U.S. Department of Commerce. Located in all 50 states, every U.S. territory, and more than 86 countries, the scientific agency focuses on the conditions of the oceans, major waterways, and the atmosphere. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration provides timely and reliable information related to daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings, and climate monitoring to fisheries management, coastal restoration and supporting marine commerce.

The Southeast and Caribbean Environmental Justice Community of Practice, with the support of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Wildlife Federation, will host bi-monthly convenings designed to share resources, tools, and trainings specific to the states and territories of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In December, the Southeast and Caribbean Environmental Justice Community of Practice will hear from the National Academies of Sciences.

Participants include faith-based and grassroots community organizations, nonprofits, and academia as well as state and local government.

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