Frontline Community, Conservation Leaders Urge New Focus on Environmental Justice, Equity

Recommendations Gathered During Community Discussions, Town Halls Hosted Throughout 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Policymakers need to focus on solutions that address the historic and persistent injustices facing Black, Brown and Indigenous communities and prioritize environmental justice, according to a new series of recommendations and findings from the National Wildlife Federation, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and partner organizations. The recommendations include solutions regarding climate change, access to clean water, land use and the outdoors, civic engagement, education, food apartheid, infrastructure, housing, gun violence, and health care.

The recommendations, available online HERE, are the result of a series of regional environmental justice roundtables the National Wildlife Federation and partner organizations hosted earlier this year.

“The COVID-19 crisis has only exacerbated the health and environmental challenges facing frontline communities and communities of color — and underscored why we need to have real conversations with people about the solutions they need and how to get there,” said Mustafa Santiago Ali, vice president of environmental justice, climate and community revitalization for the National Wildlife Federation. “These recommendations are the result of months of active, authentic outreach and, most importantly of all, listening. We need to seize the opportunity to respond in ways that create a smarter, more resilient and more nature-based future through equitable and just recovery packages that enable our most vulnerable to move from surviving to thriving.”

“Although we focus on wildlife conservation at National Wildlife Federation, with COVID-19, we are first and foremost, facing a human tragedy,” said Simone Lightfoot, national director of urban initiatives and environmental justice for the National Wildlife Federation. “In this moment, we have a rich opportunity to make sure that our nation responds to these realities in ways that create a smarter, more resilient, and more nature-based future through equitable and just recovery policies, programs, and relief packages.”

"The predicament we find ourselves in requires immediate and swift action if we are to protect and preserve our communities from further environmental damage," said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO, NAACP. "In our endeavors to create a more just and equitable society, we must not forget our duty to the environment and our responsibility to future generations who will inherit the state of the world as we leave it. The challenge and opportunity before us require collaborative thinking, imaginative ideas, and pliable resources."

The National Wildlife Federation and NAACP partnered with a series of national and regional partners to host the community roundtables, including the American Public Health Association, Amnesty International, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Children’s Campaign, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, National Environmental Justice Journal, Blue Green Alliance, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

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